Saturday, June 5, 2010

Fig Bars

I wanted to make some fig bars. You know, "Fig Newtons." I looked around on the web and found some recipes, and they all looked very nice, but, I wanted to make them as healthy as possible. So, first I needed to make some sprouted wheat flour. You see, in many recipes, you can soak your whole grain flours, but in this kind of recipe you can't, so the solution is to soak and sprout the wheat, dry it, and then grind it into flour. Alas, I did not take any pictures of the soaking and sprouting, but here is how I did it.

1. Put several cups of wheat kernels into a large bowl and cover with cool water. Soak overnight.
2. In the morning, strain the wheat with a sieve or colander, rinse, drain well and return to the bowl.
3. Cover with a dish towel, rinse and drain 2 - 3 times a day.
4. For this flour, when you see the little sprouts emerging, then rinse and drain them again, put wheat in thin layers into a food dehydrator and dry for about 8 hours at 95 degrees F.

Then the wheat is ready to grind. Here is my grain grinder.

Now you need 2 cups of dried figs. Remove the little stems.

Put the figs into a food processor.

Process the figs until they look like this:

You will need the zest of one orange.

Into a skillet, put the orange zest, the chopped figs, 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup apple juice, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 cup Sucanat.

Combine the following: 3 cups sprouted wheat flour, 1/2 cup Sucanat, 1/2 tsp. sea salt, 3/4 tsp. baking powder, 3/8 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Mix that well and then cut in 12 Tablespoons of unsalted butter at room temperature.

In the meantime, cook the contents for the filling (in the skillet) on medium heat. Cook it, stirring a lot until the figs absorb the moisture of the juices and it looks like this. Remove from heat and let it cool while you are getting the dough ready.

Here is what the dough looks like after you cut in the butter:

To the dough, add 3 eggs and mix well, then make it into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours.

Divide the dough into 3 pieces and rolls them out 1 at a time on a lightly floured surface. (I used unbleached white flour for this.) See, there is the filling in a bowl, as well as another little bowl with a pastry brush and a mixture of 1 egg and 2 teaspoons of water to use as an egg wash and glaze.

Roll out the dough, one piece at a time, into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 3 strips. Paint the edges of the strips with the egg wash. Put filling down the middle of each strip.

Fold up the sides and try to join them. I had a little trouble with this, but I think next time I might roll it a bit more thinly and it will work better.

Put the rolls, seam side down, onto a baking sheet that has been greased, or has parchment paper on it or a silicone baking sheet. Flatten them a little with your hands. Brush the top with egg wash.

Bake in a 375 degree F. oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool on the baking sheet.

Cut into little bars and store in airtight container. Oh, yes. Eat some of them!

Here is a list of the ingredients so you won't have to get confused looking through my description:


3 cups sprouted wheat flour
1/2 cup Sucanat
1/2 tsp. Salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
12 T. unsalted butter
3 eggs

and 1 egg plus 2 tsp. water for the egg wash


2 cups dried or fresh figs, chopped
1 cup orange juice
1 cup apple juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup Sucanat
zest of 1 orange

I ended up with extra filling. I put it in the freezer and will make some more sometime soon.


  1. Wow and Whew!!! I'm totally impressed at your diligence in making those babies from scratch. I, being lazy, would have just bought the standard fig newtons at the store. However, you make a great point in the homemade version being way more nutritious. May I ask how long you think you spent in actually making that batch? And the taste? Did it turn out like that real fig newton taste or somewhat close? Thanks for all those pictures. Makes me want to go make a batch. (On second thought??? lol)


  2. :) Sarah, I think the next time I make them it won't take long at all, but the first time through was painful, as I was working it out as I went along. One thing I realize I want to do is to make a LOT of sprouted wheat flour and keep it in the fridge so I can use it whenever I need to. As to the taste, I guess I can say they are similar to store bought fig bars. I think the thing that makes the biggest difference is that I don't use white sugar. Sucanat has the natural molasses and everything in it, so that adds a different flavor. After they are completely cooled, they taste much better than when warm. I have a friend who makes fig bars with whole wheat flour, but hers are much coarser, and I surmise that would be because she doesn't sprout her wheat first. If you have your flour ready ahead of time, it would not be so time consuming. Also, I think you can substitute fig preserves for the chopped figs, but of course, then they'd have white sugar or corn syrup in them. It made quite a lot. I believe they would freeze well.


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