Today I bring you the sweetness of figs and the nuttiness of hazelnuts combined in delicious ‘Turkish’ bars. If you’re looking for a healthy-ish snack that feels like a treat, these homemade fig bars are perfect for you.
It’s a quick and easy recipe, and as your mixer/blender will do most of the job, you can have your homemade fig bars in the oven in 25 min tops. They are super flavorful, chewy and the seeds of the figs make them extra crunchy. Plus they keep for 10 days in your fridge so don’t hesitate to prepare a big batch.
This homemade fig bars recipe definitely falls into the category ‘food that no one has ever heard of that I used to eat when I lived in Turkey’. I discovered these bars one day when I went grocery shopping and I noticed that I had never heard about any of the candy bars stacked by the checkout counter. Since I have no impulse control, I simply had to sample a bit of everything. The candies simply looked too different from what I was used to seeing in French supermarkets.
There were rows of peanut brittle (krokan), falim chewing gums (the most tasteless gum ever) and a lot of fruit bars. Fig bars were my favorites because they reminded me of a sweet you can find in lokum boxes. Since I’ve been craving a lot of Turkish food lately but I wanted to snack on something a bit healthier, I decided to have a go at recreating my beloved fındıklı incir ezmesi bars.
USE SEMI-DRIED FIGS
It’s a breeze to make homemade fig bars with semi-dried figs. They are chewy, sweet and taste just as delicious as fresh figs. More importantly, semi-dried figs are softer than fully dried figs and naturally have enough moisture to bind into a paste when blended. It could be possible to make homemade fig bars with fully dried figs but you would need to add more maple syrup or honey to help the paste ‘come together’. Soft semi-dried figs take the guesswork out of the equation, as the fig paste will probably have the right consistency without you having to gauge if more moisture is needed.
Baking the homemade fig bars in a low-temperature oven is important. You’re drying out the paste so that the bars will be firm enough to hold. I kind of got the idea from üzüm pestili (grape leather) which used to be dried in the sun but is now cooked overnight at a very low temp.
MAKE THEM YOUR OWN
This is a pretty versatile recipe. You can substitute the hazelnuts for any other nut or use a combination of nuts. You can also stir your favorite seeds into the paste (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, etc…) to make these homemade fig bars extra healthy. For a different flavor profile try adding shredded coconut, finely chopped candied orange peel, or ¾ tsp of ground cinnamon. It’s all up to you. As long as the paste comes together, you can do whatever you want with your homemade fig bars.
Irmik (Turkish semolina) also helps firm up the homemade fig bars thanks to its high gluten content. Irmik is made from durum wheat and is coarser than all-purpose flour. It’s a very common ingredient in Turkey where it’s mostly used for desserts (irmik helvası, haşhaşlı revani,…).
If you can’t get your hands on irmik, feel free to replace it with semolina flour. You can find semolina flour in most major supermarkets in the baking aisle next to the different kinds of flour or in the ‘world food’ aisle. Semolina flour is mostly marketed as an Italian ingredient used for pasta or pizza doughs. It might be labeled as semola, semolina or pasta flour. Whatever you find, make sure the semolina flour is made with durum wheat and you’ll be good to go.
Here are some other baking recipes inspired by things I used to buy from Turkish supermarkets (yes it’s a food group now):Print
Combine the sweetness of figs and the nuttiness of hazelnuts in delicious homemade fig bars. They are incredibly chewy, crunchy and the perfect healthy(ish) snack. Plus they can be in your oven in 25 min tops.
- 70g hazelnuts (½ cup)
- 300g semi-dried figs (2 cups or 10.5oz)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey or golden syrup
- 2 tbsp irmik or semolina
- Make the fig paste. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and set them aside. Cut the figs in halves (it’s easier with a sharp knife). Place the figs, maple syrup (or honey) and irmik (semolina) in a food processor. Process until the figs turn into a smooth paste, about 2 min, taking breaks to scrape the edges of the processor. If you use a small food processor like mine, do it in 2 batches.
- Check the consistency. Make sure that the mixture can be pressed down into bars by pressing the paste with a finger. If the paste ‘doesn’t come together’ add more syrup/honey and process again. If it’s still too dry add more syrup/honey, 1 tsp at a time until you get the right texture. Scrape the paste into a mixing bowl and stir in most of the hazelnuts with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon.
- Shape the homemade fig bars. Preheat the oven to 100°C (210°F). Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and lay the paste on it. Press it down with the back of a spoon or a spatula until you have a rectangle roughly measuring 18*25cm (7*10 in), around 1cm (½ in) thick. Press the rest of the hazelnuts, cut side up, into the top of the paste.
- Bake. Bake for 1h15 then remove from the oven. Let the fig paste cool down a bit then transfer to a cutting board by lifting the edges of the greaseproof paper. Trim the outer edges of the paste if you want 4 clean-cut sides on all your homemade fig bars. Cut the paste into squares or rectangles according to your preferences. Allow the homemade fig bars to cool down completely.
Store the homemade fig bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 137
- Fat: 4.6g
Keywords: dried fruit bars, semi-dried figs, healthy treats