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Fig bars are bar cookies that contain figs. Each fig bar is square-shaped with a baked cookie dough outer crust and a thick fig filling inside. The Fig Newton® commercial fig bars by Nabisco started many other companies manufacturing similar cookies. The Fig Newton® was invented by American, Charles M. Roser, in 1891. Fig bars can also be baked at home.
The basic ingredients needed to bake homemade fig bars include flour, butter, sugar, eggs, fresh or dried figs, baking soda, salt and vanilla. The dough is made separately and the filling is cooked on the stovetop. The fig filling should be fairly thick.
One great thing about making fig bars is that you can prepare the dough and the filling a day ahead if you keep both in the refrigerator. The dough is usually much easier to roll out after it is chilled for a few hours or overnight. The rolled dough is shaped into a rectangle and then cut into about four strips. Fig filling is placed in the middle of each strip. The two long edges of the dough strips are pressed together before each strip is sliced to form individual square fig bars to be baked in the oven.
Variations on the basic recipe for fig bars include using honey rather than sugar and adding some lemon or orange juice to the filling. Some fig bar bakers like to add cinnamon. Nuts such as pecans or almonds may also be added to fig bars, but commercial types of fig bars may not contain nuts. Some commercial fig bars add other fruit flavors to the fig filling such as raspberry.
Many commercial fig bar manufacturers use two funnels to create the fig bars. The filling and dough move through two separate funnels at the same time to produce the filled dough. Some manufacturers bake the filled strips of dough before slicing them into cookies, while others slice the fig bars and then bake them.
I've never had any luck making anything like fig bars. Mine always turn out super dry. I don't know what the secret is. Maybe I need to add more butter or oil or something.
I don't use a fig filling, either. I like strawberry, myself. I've never had a fig jam or fig preserves that weren't too sweet. Maybe if the cook added some lemon juice or something, they would be better.
I still haven't figured out why I can't seem to make that dough turn out better. I consider myself to be a good baker, so I really do wonder what the problem is, and why my bars are always so very dry and crumbly, even when I follow the recipe exactly.
The experimentation will continue, I suppose.
I hate fig bars. They're too sweet and they're gritty. Yuck. I don't like figs, anyway.
I love cranberry bars and apple bars, though -- made in the same way as fig bars. Those are delicious with a big glass of milk or a cup of coffee or tea. Love those things. The strawberry bars are good too. The other fruit bars are kind of like mini toaster pastries. They also have a little tang, so they're not just sweet and nothing else. I love those, now. They're some of my favorite cookie-type sweets.
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