Fit Family Fig Bars (v + gf)

If you really want to see that recipe for these lovely fig bars, and just cannot wait one more minute until you can find out about fig bars!!  Well, I can’t say I blame you in the least.  Please, by all means, be my guest and scroll down and get to the goods at the bottom! 

But, if you’re still reading, may I propose a little discussion?  I mean, making these DIY fig bars has just got me thinking…

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I love watching the Food Network – I mean, an entire show dedicated to food and cooking?  I could sit and watch that all day.  Actually, you should see me at the gym, too.  Iron Chef is an even better motivator for me than jamming out to peppy tunes.  For reals.

Anyway, the real reason I bring it up is because I was thinking about how there are so many different cooking shows – a testament to the variety of cooking styles and interests out there.  Like flavors in a gelato shop.  And I think, too, that we each have a style we identify with a bit more than others. 

This brings me to the obvious question…  Which famous cook are you in the kitchen?  I’m sure you think about that all the time, right?

I mean, are you known to magically whip up meals in mere minutes with just a few key ingredients, a la Semi-Homemade’s Sandra Lee or Claire Robinson from 5 Ingredient Fix?  Abra-cadabra… and voila!

Pear and Goat Cheese Crepes with Honey

Pear and Goat Cheese Crepes with Honey

Mini Frittatas (gf)

Mini Frittatas (gf)

Single-Serving Peach Cobbler (v)

Single-Serving Peach Cobbler (v)

Or perhaps you prefer to take the manageable-gourmet route, somewhere between Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals, and Giada’s fancified home cuisine.  You know, the crafty queen of cuisine approach.

Chocolate Cream Pie for Body + Soul (gf + v)

Chocolate Cream Pie for Body + Soul (gf + v)

Pumpkin + Sweet Potato "Lasagna" (gf + vegan-friendly)

Pumpkin + Sweet Potato "Lasagna" (gf + vegan-friendly)

Butternut Squash + Asparagus Pizza

Butternut Squash + Asparagus Pizza

Then again, your kitchen may be the equivalent of a workshop or mad-scientist lab to all your grand-schemes, an apron a part of your daily wardrobe, and whole nutmeg perpetually in your pockets.  Just a little bit?  Yeah, in that case, you are an Alton Brown or Julia Child.

100% Homemade Salmon Salad Sandwich

100% Homemade Salmon Salad Sandwich

Cashew-Ricotta Lasagna Rollups

Cashew-Ricotta Lasagna Rollups

Queso + Cauliflower Pizzadas

Queso + Cauliflower Pizzadas

If we all just sat down and thought about what kinds of foods we like to make best, we might find that we are through-and-through one style or another.  Or maybe we are a strict 5-ingredient-fixer Monday through Friday, but a hard-core DIY-er on the weekends.  I identify with each one of the types at different times, myself.

But we all have one thing in common.  Well, we’re gawking at food and recipes, aren’t we?  And when we make those recipes, we often tend to share them. 

(Here is where we finally get back to those fig bars.)

Cooking is a way to care for your friends and family, and these here fig bars make for a prime way to do some beneficial baking.  I’m sure even the biggest kitchen-chemist of us has picked up a box of Fig Newtons to stock the pantry at some point – right?  I mean, they’re so good…

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Unfortunately, like many of those prepackaged delicacies with the long ingredient lists, they may not be that great for all the tummies in our lives.  Hence, the use of our powers in the kitchen to create something like this.  Sans eggs, dairy, and gluten, a whole bunch more people can enjoy it – and heck, you can even eat the batter!

Of course, we won’t always have everything homemade – but with a recipe this healthy, this Newton-like tasty, and this easy, we can even satisfy our quick-fix sides while creating something delicious and comforting from scratch.

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Fit Family Fig Bars (v + gf)

Very delicious recipe, the credit of the original recipe goes to Chocolate Covered Katie.  Thank goodness for Katie and her awesome chocolate-covered recipes!

Nutrition: (makes 32 bars) 72 calories, 2 g. fat, 8 g. sugar, 1.5 g. protein per bar

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained

2/3 cups dark brown sugar

¼ cup coconut oil

¼ cup ground flaxseed (the nutritious addition that provides the gluten-free structure of the cookie + useful in so many recipes)

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

¾ tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

Dash or two cinnamon

11 oz dried figs

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Throw all the ingredients through cinnamon into a food processor and whir away for a minute or two.  Take a rubber spatula and scrape down the sides of the processor bowl to make sure everything gets pureed, and whir again for another minute. 

Prepare a 9 x 9” pan lined with wax paper (8 x 8” pan will do as well.)  Scoop the cookie dough out of the food processor, scraping down the sides to get out as much as possible, and transfer it to a separate bowl.

Process the dried figs in the same food processor – you won’t need to wash it first as long as you scraped out the cookie dough thoroughly – and process the figs to a thick paste.  It will most likely end up looking like a giant purple baseball.  And yes, this is okay.

Take out the giant purple baseball and transfer it to the wax paper-lined pan.  Spread it out into a thin, even layer of fig, and gently lift the wax paper up by the edges to lift out the layer of fig.  Set aside.

Spray the pan with cooking spray and transfer half the cookie dough to the pan.  Spread it evenly on the bottom.  Carefully turn the layer of fig out onto the cookie dough and spread the remaining cookie dough on top.

Bake about 40-50 minutes (start with 40 and add more time as needed,) or until the edges are golden-brown and the center is no longer overly mushy.  The bars will still be very soft, even after they are finished, so it may be difficult to tell if they are done.  The best way to tell is to cut a square or two out and check to see if the interior of the cookie dough is solid or still too moist. 

A taste-test is often in order at this point, and I’m always quite happy to do this step!

Allow the rest of the pan to cool about 20 minutes before cutting into it – also, unfortunately, a necessary step if you don’t want it to get all crumbly, but one I sometimes find myself not following…

These keep well at room temperature in a sealed container at least 3 days, but will last a good week or two if need be in the refrigerator, and likely a month or more (well-wrapped) in the freezer, if need be!

These are great hot, cold, room temperature, or under a dollop of ice cream for dessert.  Fantastic in lunchboxes – there was one in mine today!

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