Festive Holiday Fig Bars
Whichever holiday you may be celebrating this December, one thing is universal – the innumerable, unrelenting offers of candy, cookies and other sweet treats. This year, try our alternative. These chewy fig bars are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth while packing far more nutrition than traditional holiday treats.
Whether at a holiday party or simply walking through your office, sugar-rich, fat-laden treats are everywhere. To help control your cravings without depriving yourself, prepare your own health-conscious offerings to share with family and friends.
Using whole-wheat flour, as this recipe does, provides fiber and disease-fighting phytonutrients; it imparts a heartier flavor too. Toasted almonds offer a source of heart-healthy fat and add a pleasing crunch. Although higher in fat and calories than most low-energy-dense plant-foods, when eaten in moderation, nuts are an excellent addition to any diet.
The real star of this recipe, however, is the fig. The fruit’s unique combination of crunchy seeds and sweet flesh make this dish a stand out among other, run-of-the-mill holiday confections. Figs provide an excellent source of fiber, as well as some potassium, calcium and iron.
These fig bars are a perfect energy-boosting snack when you’re on the go. They are particularly nice to have on hand during the frantic hustle and bustle of the holidays.
Almond Fig Bars
– Makes 16 servings
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 1 tsp. orange zest
- 2/3 cup chopped dried figs
- 1/3 cup chopped toasted almonds
- Canola oil spray
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup honey
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an 8-inch square baking pan with canola oil spray.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together the egg, honey, applesauce, canola oil, almond extract and orange zest. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until mixed. Stir in the figs and toasted almonds. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake about 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the bars in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into sixteen 2-inch squares. Store in a tightly covered container for two to three days.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) offers a Nutrition Hotline online at www.aicr.org