If there’s one thing I love more than dessert, it’s snacks. If I’m being honest, snacking is the main reason I love long road trips, it’s basically unbridled snacking for hours on end. And my newest snacktastic creation is not only a delicious snack, it’s pretty much the perfect sweet solution for any time hunger may strike. These Healthier Date Fig Newton Bars are great for a quick fruity breakfast on-the-go, hot beverage accompaniment, afternoon sugar craving crusher, or the perfect way to end a meal on a sweet note!
I used to love the original fig newtons and get so excited whenever our mom would come home with a fresh package. Unfortunately, they are not gluten free so I have not had the pleasure of enjoying them in a fair while. Which is fine because, while my bars are made with only whole foods, the originals are made with mostly refined ingredients. I actually already have a Healthier Homemade Fig Newton recipe on my site more similar to the original cookie shape, but wanted to create a simpler bar version that was nut free and incorporated a different fruit flavor. And the resulting Date Fig Newton Bars are just all kinds of delicious. The bars have a soft and chewy cookie crust and are filled with a thick layer of a magical date and fig filling. To take this to the next level, I added a touch of cardamom to the filling and it really elevates the whole bar with a wonderful warmth, making them just perfect for fall or chilly days. While these are amazing warm and fresh out of the oven, they are somehow even better the next day when left at room temperature, the crust softens just a bit and the flavors of the filling deepen.
How Are They Made?
The thing about fig bars, is that the filling needs to be blended. To do this, we first soak a mixture of chopped figs and dates. Then, strain the water, add a lemon juice, cardamom (which is optional), and a bit of salt and blend it into a thick paste. Now, usually, I’d avoid having to break out the food processor (aka more dirty dishes) like the plague. But, I have convinced myself that it is worth it if I it accomplishes multiple tasks for one recipe. For example, I always break it out when I’m making my WF Copycat Chicken Tortilla Soup because I can easily dice everything in 30 seconds rather than spending several minutes dicing a bunch of veggies. So, since the filling needs to be blended, I devised a way to prepare the crust in the food processor as well, making it totally worth the extra minute of so standing at the sink.
Once the crust dough is made, half is pressed into a square baking dish (my favorite 8 inch), the blended filling is spread out over the bottom crust, the remaining dough is scattered over the filling and that’s it! Into the oven it goes. Below you’ll see the basic steps. I weighed the total amount of dough so I could place exactly half in the baking dish to create the bottom crust. This is very helpful if you, like me, have a hard time eyeballing quantities and ensures that the top and bottom crust with be even. Then the filling (here it’s shown before it’s blended) is placed onto the crust.
Speaking of weighing, starting with this one, I’m going include weighed measures for (hopefully) all my new recipes. Weighing ingredients is a slightly more precise method of baking and ensures consistency in the outcome of the baked good. Most measuring cups and spoons are not standardized and the way a cup is filled can drastically alter the volume used in the recipe. And, when using a recipe with weight measurements rather than volume, I find I actually use less dishes because there’s no need for all the various measures. I purchased a new kitchen scale almost a year ago and, if you’re looking to jump on the weighing bandwagon, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a little more expensive than others ($25 at time of writing), but I find it’s well worth the money. It’s extremely accurate, very responsive, and it stays on for 5 minutes before shutting off. (Which is very helpful if you often find yourself walking away from the kitchen mid-measure to go grab another bag of chocolate chips or change a load of laundry so you do not have to start your measuring all over).
Anyways, back to these delicious bars! They are made with only 10 (including the salt!) simple whole ingredients – no refined flours, sugars, or oils. These are paleo-friendly meaning they are gluten, grain, and dairy free. The cookie base is made with cassava flour making these nut free as well. And as the filling is made with dried fruit (nature’s candy) there is no need to add any additional sweetener! The simple ingredients really allow the flavors of the fruit to shine in all their natural glory. And that is exactly what bars like these should be about! Basically, these bars are just so good you’ll always find a good time to reach for one.
paleo friendly (gluten/grain/dairy free), nut free, refined sugar free
If you make this recipe, please leave a review or rating down below to help share your healthier baking results with others! And I’d LOVE to see your creation! Please tag me on Instagram @freshlydafna and use #freshlydafna.
Healthier Date Fig Newton Bars
These Date Fig Newton Bars are the answer to every snackable question. They are quick and easy to make, made with only good-for-you ingredients, and perfect for any time of day! A delicious soft cookie-like crust filled with a simple but delicious date and fig mixture.
paleo (gluten/grain/dairy free), nut free, refined sugar free
- 2 cups chopped dates, packed (12 oz) seeds and stems removed (ideally a soft date such as medjool)
- 1 cup chopped figs, packed (6 oz) stems removed
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (43 grams)
- 1/4 tsp cardamom (1 gram) optional
- dash sea salt
- 1 1/2 cup cassava flour (208 grams)
- 1 cup coconut sugar (168 grams)
- 2 tsp baking powder (10 grams)
- 1/4 tsp salt (1 gram)
- 6 tbsp coconut oil (84 grams) room temp (chilled in fridge a few minutes if liquid)
- 2 eggs
Heat oven to 360 degrees and prepare an 8 or 9 inch square pan by lining with parchment paper.
Place the chopped dates and figs in a heat-safe bowl and carefully pour boiling hot water over the fruit until fully covered. Let soak for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the crust. Place the cassava, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt in the food processor and blend until everything is fully incorporated.
Add the coconut oil and eggs to the flour and blend, using short pulses (about 10-12), until a soft dough forms. It may be a little clumpy which is fine, it should at least stick well when pressed together. Pour the dough out of the food processor into a small bowl and quickly wipe down the interior of the food processor.
Drain the water from the re-hydrated fruit and place the fruit in the food processor along with the lemon juice, cardamom (if using), and a dash of sea salt. Blend together until a thick paste forms.
Place half of the crust mixture into the prepared baking dish. Weighing the dough to determine half the amount can be helpful. Press the dough down firmly into the dish and use a rubber spatula or a piece of parchment paper to create an even layer.
Place the fruit filling over the bottom crust layer and spread out to edges of the pan.
Sprinkle the remaining crust dough over the filling trying cover the filling layer as much as possible. Gently pat the dough down with a rubber spatula or the parchment paper to smooth any jagged edges of dough.
Bake in the oven for 26-28 minutes or until the top is golden.
Let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before removing and slicing!
These bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so. Store leftovers in the fridge for a few days or the freezer for longer storage!
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