I’m guessing I’m not the only one who was introduced to figs by way of Fig Newtons. In fact, for a very long time I never thought of figs as being in anything apart from those addicting little bars. I haven’t had one in years, but I still remember the pleasure of biting through the soft cake-like crust, hitting that sweet fig center with the little seeds that lightly pop as you chew. Inspired by one of my favorite Ina Garten recipes, I set out to make a grown-up Fig Newton to mark the beginning of fall. As soon as I took a bite of these fig jam bars, I knew I had to share them right away.
Ina’s recipe for raspberry bars is absolutely delicious, but I wanted to make a version that seemed more fitting for fall. With its mellow, almost earthy sweetness, I knew that fig jam would be the perfect addition to the shortbread crust and crumble topping. While Ina’s version incorporates store-bought granola into the topping, I opted for uncooked oats to lower the sugar content. I’ll never pretend these bars are healthy, but at least they’re a little healthier without the granola – and I can assure you that they are just as delicious.
These bars couldn’t be simpler to make. After lightly patting the dough out into a baking dish, you simply spread on a thick layer of fig jam and sprinkle on the topping. They’re certainly easier to make if you have a KitchenAid, but don’t let that hold you back – you can tackle that thick dough yourself. Count it as your workout for the day.
The end result is a perfect blend of flavors and textures: a buttery, sturdy crust; a sticky and sweet layer of jam; and a crunchy layer of crumble topping and almonds. These won’t last long in your house!
- ½ pound unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 and ⅓ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces fig jam
- ⅔ cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- pinch of sea salt (optional)
- Preheat over to 350 degrees.
- Combine butter and sugar together in an electric mixer. Mix on medium until just combined. Lower the speed and add the vanilla.
- While the mixer is on low, add the flour and salt. Mix until a ball of dough is beginning to form.
- Using your fingers, pat ⅔ of the dough into a 9-inch square baking pan. The crust should be about ¼ inch thick.
- Using a spatula, gently spread the fig jam onto the crust. Leave a small amount of space in between the sides of baking dish (otherwise the jam will stick to the dish).
- Add the oats to the remaining ⅓ of the shortbread dough. Work the granola into the dough with your hands, breaking the dough into small pieces to create a crumble topping. Sprinkle the crumble topping onto the jam, and then add the almonds.
- Bake bars for 45 minutes. Cool completely and then cut into 9 bars. Sprinkle a few pieces of sea salt on top, if desired.
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Raspberry Crumble Bars in the cookbook Foolproof.