Homemade Oatmeal Fig Bars

Homemade Oatmeal Fig Bars

These fig oatmeal bars feature a thick layer of homemade fig jam sandwiched between two layers of buttery oatmeal crumble. They’re the perfect combination of sweet, chewy, and wholesome, making them an ideal treat for any time of day. Serve homemade oatmeal fig bars as a snack, dessert, or even for breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea.  Your whole family will love them!

There’s something nostalgic about fig newton cookies, like the ones that frequented my school lunch box as a child.  These homemade oatmeal fig bars are a nod to those little cookies, but so much more!  

They’re made with an oatmeal cookie crumble that serves as the base and the topping for these bars. The middle layer stars gorgeous dried figs, a little orange zest and vanilla extract to make a homemade fig jam!  The warm and cozy fig flavor is played up with the brown sugar, vanilla, orange, cardamom and cinnamon.  Texture wise, the crust on the bottom is like a perfect oatmeal cookie, chewy and buttery; whereas, the crumble portion on top is crunchier, like an oatmeal streusel crumb topping.  Soooo delicious! 

Homemade oat bars also give you control over the ingredients in your food, allowing you to make a healthier, more nutritious version without unnecessary additives and preservatives.  If you keep a giant bag of dried figs in your pantry for snacking, like me, then these homemade fig bars can be whipped up on a whim with pantry ingredients you already have!  

homemade oatmeal fig bars

Ingredients You’ll Need

For the Crust/Topping:

  • Old fashioned rolled oats – Quick oats can also be substituted.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Brown sugar (packed)
  • Baking soda – Helps the bars brown and helps them rise in the oven.
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground cardamom
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter – Use cold butter, cut into small cubes.

For the Fig Filling (Jam):

  • Dried figs (stems removed) – Don’t use fresh figs for this fig bar recipe.
  • Water – You can use the same amount of freshly-squeezed orange juice if you have it for even more organge flavor!
  • Orange zest – Figs and oranges are such a heavenly combination!
  • Vanilla extract
homemade oatmeal fig bar ingredients

How to make homemade oatmeal fig bars

Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step instructions to make these homemade oatmeal fig bars:

1. Prepare the Fig Filling

  • In a saucepan, combine figs and water.
  • Heat the mixture over medium heat and bring it to a simmer.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let water/fig mixture simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the figs become soft and most of the water has been soaked up by the figs. 
  • Remove from heat and let it cool while you work on the crust and topping.

2. Preheat oven and prepare baking pan

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).  Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a piece of parchment paper, extending the paper over two of the sides (or grease pan).  This will make it easy to remove the bars after they are baked. 

3. Prepare the Crust and Topping

  • In a food processor, pulse together the rolled oats, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamom.
  • Add cold butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
  • Pulse in the brown sugar until evenly distributed and a cohesive but crumbly dough comes together, being sure not to over process. Scoop oatmeal dough into a large bowl and set aside until ready to assemble.
  • Rinse food processor and blitz fig mixture until smooth (seeds will remain and that’s good!).
add cold butter pieces to food processor
Add cold butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Pulse in the brown sugar until evenly distributed and a cohesive but crumbly dough comes together, being sure not to over process.
blitz fig mixture until smooth

4. Assemble the Bars

  • Divide the oat mixture in thirds. 
  • Using your hands or a rubber spatula, press two-thirds of the oat mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan to form the crust.
  • Spread the cooled, processed fig filling over the crust in an even layer.
  • Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over the fig filling, creating a crumble topping.

5. Bake and Cool

  • Place square baking pan on a baking sheet and bake bars for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the fig filling looks caramelized around the edges.
  • Remove the bars from the oven and transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely in the pan.
  • Once cool, use a butter knife to loosen the bars around the edges of the pan and remove from pan onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares or bars.
uncut homemade oatmeal fig bars

Mixing it up

Get creative and customize your oatmeal fig bars to suit your preferences. Here are some ideas:

1. Add Nuts: Consider adding chopped nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pecans to the oat mixture for extra crunch and nutty flavor.

2. Spice it Up: Experiment with different spices in the oatmeal dough, such as nutmeg or ginger.  Or, swap lemon zest for the orange zest.

3. Swap Sweeteners: If you prefer a healthier alternative to brown sugar, you can use honey or maple syrup to sweeten the cookie portion.

4. Use Whole Wheat Flour: Substitute part or all of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour for added fiber and a slightly nuttier taste.

5. Make Them Gluten-Free: For a gluten-free version, use certified gluten-free oats and a gluten-free flour blend.

homemade oatmeal fig bars

How to store Oatmeal Fig Bars

Oatmeal fig bars will keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator, in an airtight container for up to five days.  To freeze, place fig bars (cut or uncut) into a tightly sealed ziplock bag. I like to use a straw to suck out some of the air before sealing the bag.  In the freezer, they’ll keep up to one month.  Just thaw at room temperature and serve.

More recipes to love!

Homemade Oatmeal Fig Bars

These fig oatmeal bars feature a thick layer of homemade fig jam sandwiched between two layers of buttery oatmeal crumble. 
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Keyword: fig bars, oatmeal fig bars
Servings: 16

Ingredients

For the fig filling:

  • 12 ounces dried figs, stems removed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crust/topping dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats or use quick oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 cup unsalted butter cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed

Instructions

  • PREPARE THE FIG FILLING
    In a saucepan, combine figs and water. Heat the mixture over medium heat and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and let water/fig mixture simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the figs become soft and most of the water has been soaked up by the figs. Remove from heat and let it cool while you work on the crust and topping.
  • PREHEAT OVEN AND PREPARE BAKING PAN
    Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).  Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a piece of parchment paper, extending the paper over two of the sides (or grease pan).  This will make it easy to remove the bars after they are baked. 
  • PREPARE THE CRUST AND TOPPING
    In a food processor, pulse together the oats, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Add cold butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Pulse in the brown sugar until evenly distributed and a cohesive but crumbly dough comes together, being sure not to over process.Rinse food processor and blitz fig mixture until smooth (seeds will remain and that’s good!).
  • ASSEMBLE THE BARS
    Divide the oat mixture in thirds. Using your hands or a rubber spatula, press two-thirds of the oat mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan to form the crust. Spread the cooled, processed fig filling over the crust in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over the fig filling, creating a crumble topping.
  • BAKE AND COOL
    Place square baking pan on a baking sheet and bake bars for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the fig filling looks caramelized around the edges. Remove the bars from the oven and transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely in the pan. Run a butter knife along the edge of the pan before removing bars onto cutting board. Cut into 16 squares or bars.


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