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Fig Crumble Bars

Fig Crumble Bars
I always liked Fig Newtons, but I find that many people like the filling and are a bit bored by the plain cake that surrounds it. I can see this because the cake doesn’t have a strong flavor to it and serves, primarily, to make the Newton easier to hold and eat. I was inspired by my last batch of Fig Newtons to make a fig bar that had a little more personality to it and the result was this recipe for Fig Crumble Bars.

The bars taste similar to Fig Newton, only much better. The crumble mixture is crisp, buttery and has an addictive salty-sweet quality to it. I actually added a bit more salt than I might usually add to the crumble mixture because of how intensely sweet figs are; having a pinch of extra salt lets the fruit stand out without the bars becoming overly sweet and cloying. The same crumble mixture is also pressed into the bottom of the pan to make a crust for the bars. In between, there is a rich fig layer that adds a tremendous amount of flavor and creates a nice contrast with the crisp, buttery top and bottom layers of this bar.

I would usually use jam or preserves as the filling for a bar cookie like these because they are easy to find, sweet and have a good fruit flavor. This time, I had a jar of Fig Butter from Trader Joe’s and I used that. Fruit butters are a lot like jams, but typically do not have much (or any) extra sugar added to them and they’re cooked to have a very, very smooth consistency. Some fruit butters tend to be a little watery (and would make the crust soggy), but this one was thick and rich with a great fresh fig flavor. If you have a Trader Joe’s, definitely try the fig butter. Otherwise, any good quality fig preserves will work beautifully here. I suggested a range for the filling so that, just in case you’re not a huge fig fan, you can put a slightly thinner layer of filling in your bars and still know that they’ll turn out.

Fig Butter

Fig Crumble Bars
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal (regular or quick cooking)
1/2 tsp salt
8-10 oz fig preserves (or fig butter)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in flour, oatmeal and salt until a crumbly mixture forms. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture.
Pour remaining oatmeal mix into prepared pan and press it firmly in to an even layer. Spread fig preserves evenly over the crust (it helps to dollop the preserves in smaller scoops and spread them carefully). Top evenly with remaining crumble mixture.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until bars are golden brown.
Cool completely in the pan, then use aluminum foil to lift bars out before slicing.

Makes 20 bars.

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  • lynn @ the actor's diet
    August 17, 2011

    everyone i know has been telling me about that fig butter (i’m a huge fig and TJ’s freak) can’t wait to make this!

  • Linda
    August 17, 2011

    I saw that fig butter last trip to TJs. I’ll have to get some and try these bars. They look fantastic.

  • LinC
    August 18, 2011

    Oooo! These sound good! I’ll bet you start a run on Fig Butter at Trader Joe’s.

  • Heidi
    August 18, 2011

    I just took a variation of these out of the oven. I needed a vegan dessert (for the vegans in my husband’s youth group) and used Earth’s Best in the place of butter. I also used TJ’s mango butter and some coconut (I am clinging to summer flavors and figs just seemed to autumn like to me). I’ll post on my blog how they turned out!

  • Martha in KS
    August 19, 2011

    Thanks for the recipe. This sounds alot like Date Bars which we made many years ago.

  • liz
    August 24, 2011

    when you say “oatmeal” do you mean oats? or do we actually need to make oatmeal first?

    thanks – these sound great! 🙂

  • Nicole
    August 24, 2011

    Liz – I mean uncooked rolled or quick cooking oats in this recipe. Most recipes for baked goods will use the term “oatmeal” interchangeably with “rolled oats” and those that call for cooked oatmeal will generally call specifically for something like “oatmeal, cooked and cooled” or something similar.
    I hope that helps!

  • Saragl
    August 25, 2011

    I went to Trader Joe’s to get that fig butter and not only were they sold out but they were puzzled that the shelf was emptied so quickly! I filled them in on the Fig Bar Recipe! and they promised to reorder it. I came home disappointed because they were to be a surprise for my fig-loving husband Then I found a jar of orange fig preserves in the back of the fridge! Used that and the recipe was so easy and really delicious! Thanks!

  • joymama
    October 7, 2011

    Thank you for the recipe. I have these in the oven now! I had some TJ Fig Butter left over from a tapas party and wanted to use it up.

  • Lindsay (Young Married Mom)
    January 11, 2012

    Just pulled these out the oven–they smell delicious! And very easy to make dairy-free for my son. Thanks!

  • Dawn
    May 22, 2012

    I just made (& ate) these, and I had to tell you that they are delicious! I used my mom’s homemade fig preserves for the filling and two packs of instant oatmeal (all I had). I will definitely be making these again and trying different flavors of preserves…thanks for such an easy recipe!

  • Kathleen
    October 20, 2012

    I have made these bars at least a dozen times! One of my faves! And yes, you need to keep jars of TJ’s Fig Butter stocked in the pantry! This is an item that sells quickly! I keep telling myself I will try the recipe with other jams or preserves but I grab the jar of fig butter every time! Thank you for sharing a quick and delish recipe and for such a wonderful food site!

  • LondonsMum
    March 4, 2014

    My co-worker made these and shared them with us. OMG they are sooooo delicious!!!! I’m keeping this recipe on my FAVORITES list for sure.

  • Ava
    January 14, 2015

    These were so easy to make and so good! I’m glad I found this recipe, thank you! The guilt I was feeling as that jar of fig butter’s “best by” date was approaching every time I opened my pantry is gone! Great use of it in this recipe!

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