The Boastful Baker

because every cook praises her own broth

Homemade fig bars…as good as the store kind, if not better.


Fig Bars

I made these a little over a week ago…I’m a little behind with the posts. I’ve got a lot of recipes I want to post but I just haven’t gotten around to it…I’ll post again soon.

But here’s the recipe for these…they’re from the cookbook “Desserts by the Yard” by Sherry Yard. I didn’t alter the recipe much at all so I’m posting the recipe pretty much as it was in the cookbook.

Fig Bars

My notes for the recipe are in italics below!

Here’s the recipe:

1 cup finely chopped dried Black Mission figs
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup apple juice (I used a little more apple juice and a little less water)
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon grated orange zest

Cookie Dough:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

(If I were you, I’d make a batch and a half of dough to go with a single batch of filling…otherwise, you’re going to have leftover filling…which you could use as a spread…kind of similar to apple butter…but with figs.)

1. Make the filling: Combine the figs, water, apple juice and sugar in a medium sauceapan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook at a bare simmer for 1-2 hours until the figs are so soft that they’re spreadable.

2. Transfer to a food processor or blender, add the orange zest and process until smooth. Remove from the food processor and allow to cool. (I made it the night before.)

3. Make the dough: Cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, for 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl and paddle. Add the egg white and vanilla and beat in. Scrape down the bowl and paddle again. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. (I refrigerated it overnight…it was easier to work with that way!)

4. Place racks in middle and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12 x 16 rectangle. Cut into 4 equal strips, each 12 x 4 inches. Spoon a line of filling down the center of each strip. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges together. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheets, seam side down. (Don’t roll the dough into a rectangle this large if you want your job to be easy…I rolled the dough a little smaller and a little thicker and it worked great!)

6. Using a serrated knife, slice each log on the diagonal into 10 cookies. (I popped them in the freezer for 10 minutes before slicing them.) Bake, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.

Fig Bars

These tasted fantastic a day or two later…they were a little crunchy on the first day but softened by the second day. They really did taste like Fig Newtons.

More from me soon…maybe another recipe. Maybe an entry about non-baking stuff…


  1. the minds and machines behind fig newtons have nothing on your mad fig-bar-making skills. i’m super impressed!

  2. @ a.grace: Thanks…after the first batch turned out not so pretty, I was doubtful of my skills. Fortunately I made a comeback for the second batch…

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  4. Can you make these with fresh figs?

  5. I’ve never worked with fresh figs (but I really do mean to!)…so I’m not sure how they would work with this recipe. But at the same time, I don’t see why they wouldn’t work.

  6. I made mine with a fig confit, (with just the pulp with fresh figs.) They came out wonderful!! I live in the SE part of France, figs this time of year are everywhere. Jams,dried,tarts,cookies…wish I could send you some!

    • If I used fresh figs would I still need the water and apple juice?

      • Just a guess…I think you could skip the water but still use at least part of the apple juice. I’ve never cooked with fresh figs so don’t quote me on this. 😉

  7. These are gorgeous!

    I wonder if you could make them with guava paste? There’s a local bakery here that makes cookies that are like giant guava/cinnamon newtons. But they don’t always have them. With this recipe, I might have plan-able happiness!

    Did I mention these are gorgeous?

  8. Oh Melissa, I hope so! I’ll let you know, your pics and excellent details give me courage.

    Guava paste is actually very thick, you can slice it like a slightly loose gummy bear. Looking at the proportions of the filling, I may need to work in a bit more water (which I can do). Is it like a jam to start? And then the baking dries it to a more “newton” like consistancy?

    Many many thanks, I showed your page to my husband (who loves the guava “newtons”) and he is suddenly very
    hopeful : )

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  11. I’ve tried this recipe twice now since my little brother amazingly loved them the first time around. I’m having some problems with the dough though. It seems really dry and cracks when I fold it over the figs. The longer it sits on my dough board, the dryer and harder it gets to work with. any suggestions?

  12. Hi,
    I just to live in Venezuela as a child, and I was adicted to guayava newtons. And now I found your blog with this recipe! Im so excited!!
    A question:
    Is it possible to make them with less butter or not at all? or replace it by cooking oil? I think it would be healthier. The other question is what a ‘stick’ (of butter) is?



    • Andres, I don’t think skipping the butter or substituting oil would work for this recipe (despite the health benefits of less butter). A stick of butter is equal to 1/2 cup or 4 ounces.

  13. Love finding this recipe! Had one years ago and lost it ;( You are using Mission FIgs, but I have Brown Turkey figs, would these work okay? Thanks so much for sharing this !! Mary

  14. I don’t have a paddle attachment for my mixer. Does it make a difference?

  15. Melissa, I made these bars… and LOVED them! Thank you for sharing the recipe…and the beautiful photos that inspired me to make them:)!

  16. I have made newtons with a recipe very similar to this one with dates instead of figs when out of figs and some raisins added to it if I didn’t have enough dates-with the total of both equaling the amount of figs called for originally. WONDERFUL.

  17. As Rachel mentioned above, I also had trouble with my dough. The flavor was good, but i couldn’t move it, without it cracking. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Janie, unfortunately I haven’t made these cookies in a while so I don’t have a good point of reference for them. Perhaps if you let the dough warm up a little, it might not crack?

  18. Melissa, Thanks for sharing this recipe! I made these bars gluten free by switching to a gluten free flour mix and adding a teaspoon or so of baking powder. The resulting fig bars were delicious (not only in my opinion but also according to my gluten-eating husband and friends! As with most gluten free baking, the baking time was longer than suggested – closer to 30 minutes. Also, I’m not sure if it’s the nature of gluten free dough, but the dough was very hard once cooled and required a lot of elbow grease to roll (even after letting it sit on the counter for a while after removing from the fridge). I used a ruler to measure an approximate rectangle and just kept rerolling all the cut-off pieces so that every scrap was used.

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