Buttery shortbread, gooey figs, and walnut crumble will have you making a double batch of these delicious bars!
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These amazing fig crumble bars are easy to make, perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, and freeze beautifully. The crisp, buttery shortbread is the easiest crust you can make, it has just a handful of ingredients, and I add a little baking soda to make it slightly soft. It makes the bars easier to eat since traditional shortbread would be harder to cut. The sweet, gooey fig filling comes together quickly with the push of a button and is half the reason these bars are so incredible. The other half is the nutty walnut shortbread crumble topping. It could not be easier or more delicious, and making a second batch for the freezer means you get to eat twice as much!
Why you’ll always make a double batch
- Slightly crisp, buttery shortbread
- Sweet, sticky fig filling
- Soft, nutty crumble
- Perfectly crisp buttery shortbread topped with a sticky fig filling and walnut crumble that freezes beautifully!
Here’s what you’ll need
The Crust and Crumble
- Unsalted butter –softened to room temperature
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Pure vanilla extract –good quality for the best flavor
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda –softens the shortbread a bit
- Ground walnuts –substitute pecans, pistachios, almonds, or your favorite nut
- Dried figs –stems removed
- Warm water
- Orange juice –freshly squeezed if you have oranges
- Ground cinnamon
- Fig jam –substitute apricot jam or orange marmalade
The figs and substitutes
I use whole dried figs for this recipe and remove the stems. You want to get the best juiciest figs you can find. Greek figs are preferable. You can usually find them in Greek supermarkets, Mediterranean markets, and even Costco carries them. They are surprisingly not that hard to find. If you can’t find them or don’t care for them, you can substitute dates or a mixture of your favorite dried fruit. I love the heartiness of using dried fruit, but you can skip them and go with a fig jam or your favorite thick jam.
How to make Fig Crumble Bars
- Remove the hard stems from the figs and pulse them in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment until finely chopped.
- Add the remaining filling ingredients and pulse until smooth.
- Set aside.
- In the bowl of a tabletop mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, salt, sugar, and vanilla extract until fluffy.
- Whisk together the flour and baking soda in a bowl.
- Add the flour mixture to the mixer and beat until the dough is formed.
- Divide the dough into two portions, one slightly bigger than the other.
- The larger portion will be used as the bottom crust pressed into the baking pan to create an even layer.
- Top the crust with the fig filling and spread it out evenly.
Walnut shortbread crumble
- Combine the walnuts with the remaining shortbread dough and press together.
- Crumble the dough over the filling.
- Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until the top is golden.
- Allow the bars to cool for at least an hour.
Make-ahead & freezing
These bars are perfect for making ahead of time. They are best served at room temperature. So, you can make them in the morning and serve them later in the day or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. You can also Freeze the assembled bars before baking. Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready, thaw the bars in the pan overnight in the refrigerator and bake as per the instructions.
These bars must cool for at least an hour, so they don’t fall apart when cut. They will hold their shape even if they are still slightly warm. You can add a scoop of ice cream right then or save the bars for a dinner party later in the day. Leave them covered on the counter to serve at room temperature, or you can cover and chill them in the fridge.
More holiday bars and desserts
- Pumpkin Pie Bars
- Fig Cookies
- Chocolate Biscotti
- Florentine Cookies
- Karidata: Greek Walnut Meringue Cookies
- Festive Mini Holiday Shortbread Cookies
The Crust and Crumble:
- 3/4 pound (340g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups (410g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2-1 cup ground walnuts
For the Filling:
- 8 oz (230g) dried figs, stems removed
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons fig jam or apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180 °C.
Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan with parchment paper.
Make the Filling:
Remove the hard stems from the figs and pulse them in a food processor that has been fitted with the blade attachment until finely chopped. Add the remaining filling ingredients and pulse until smooth. Set aside.
Make the Shortbread dough:
In the bowl of a tabletop mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, salt, sugar, and vanilla extract until fluffy.
Combine the flour and baking soda in a bowl and whisk them together. Add the mixture to the mixer and beat until a dough is formed.
Divide the dough into 2 portions. One portion should be slightly bigger than the other. The larger portion can be used as the crust. Press the crust into the baking pan to create an even layer.
Add the fig filling and spread it on top evenly.
Combine the walnuts with the remaining shortbread dough and press together. Crumble the dough over the filling.
Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until the top is golden.
Allow the bars to cool completely and serve. Kali Orexi!
Freezer Instructions: Assemble the bars and wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as per the instructions.
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