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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.
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