In this not-so-classic bar cookie, a layer of dried figs, brown sugar and orange juice anchors the buttery cinnamon topping. It’s a great new recipe I recently added to my holiday baking arsenal and it’s been a great treat that balances some of the really sweet holiday items. It’s also great with a cup of Earl Grey tea for the tea lovers out there!
10 ounces dried figs, stemmed and quartered
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 strips of orange zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
crust and topping:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut up
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil; butter the foil (or you can use cooking spray).
filling: In a small saucepan, combine the figs, brown sugar, orange zest, and ½ cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the figs are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove and discard the zest. Transfer the fig mixture to a food processor, add the orange juice and salt, and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool to room temperature.
crust and topping: In a second medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Using a fork or a pastry cutter, mix in the butter and egg until a crumbly mixture forms.
bars: Transfer half the flour mixture into the prepared pan, pat down evenly, and spread the filling over it. Crumble the remaining flour mixture on top, leaving large clumps. Bake until pale golden, 55 to 60 minutes; let cool completely on a wire rack. Lift the bars out of the pan, using the foil to help, and cut into 16 2-inch bars.
I would suggest keeping the fig bars at room temperature, between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container. You can keep stored for up to 5 days.