Being a new mom gets you an instant pass into a giant club of other friendly moms. I’ve never been so welcomed anywhere in my whole life as I am *everywhere* that there are other moms. The network of support is amazing. I have my prenatal yoga group that is becoming a postnatal yoga group as more moms have their babies. I have the breastfeeding support group at the local hospital. I have a nearby mom’s club that meets up periodically. I have moms from all of these groups who just meet up periodically to chat and feed their babies. The online and real life community is wonderful for new moms, it’s something I never expected and I really appreciate.
There is usually food at these gatherings, and it’s not always plant-based food (ok, it’s never plant-based, but I don’t judge). I love bringing a whole, plant-based dish to these gatherings. The moms in these groups are usually very happy to hear that a dish is oil and sugar free (not to mention meat, dairy, and salt free!) I’ve been invited to 2 mommy/baby events this weekend and I decided to make a double batch of these awesome fig bars for everyone to enjoy.
Keep in mind that while this recipe is 100% whole and plant based it is a dessert and should be eaten sparingly. Dry fruit and almond butter are very calorie rich, and the almond butter in particular is dense and fatty. I advised my husband that although we have almond butter in the pantry we should use it only for baking. (Plus it cost $9.99 for the organic kind and I don’t want to go through it in a week!)
I recommend purchasing a couple of 9×6 single use aluminum baking tins at the store for these bars. I had no problems with the bars sticking to the pan, and cleanup was a snap. Lastly, since I am going to 2 parties I made a double batch of bars. They are small, fig newton sized (about 1×2 inches). This recipe is the double batch that I made, which I recommend.
Makes 32 bars
For the filling:
21 oz Unsulfured dried figs (potassium chloride preservative is ok)
1/2 Cup 100% pure maple syrup
2 Tablespoons grated orange zest
1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger powder
For the dough:
1/4 Cup ground flax seeds
1/2 Cup unsweetened plant based milk (such as WestSoy)
1/2 Cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 Cup almond butter
2 Cups whole grain rice flour
1 & 1/2 Cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon baking soda
In a large saucepan, combine 1 & 1/3 cups of water with the figs, maple syrup, orange zest, and ginger. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to a simmer, and stir occasionally Cook until very soft, about 15 minutes, and mash with a spatula as you go along. Remove from the heat and puree in a food processor. Set the filling aside.
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, stir together the ground flax, plant based milk, applesauce, and almond butter. Mix well with a fork. Add the flours, baking powder and baking soda. Stir well to combine. Use your hands to knead the dough a few times until it holds together. You should be able to form a pliable ball of dough. Divide the dough into 4 balls.
Assemble the Bars:
Put the first dough ball into the bottom of a prepared baking pan and press firmly to create and even layer. Spread half of the filling over the top of the dough and smooth with a rubber spatula. Roll and shape another ball of dough into the size of the pan and place on top of the filling. Repeat this process in the other pan. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes. The top should be firm and lightly golden. Remove the pans from the oven and place on a cooking rack until cooled completely. Slice into bars.