A while ago I made some Apricot and Date Bars, which were a huge hit with the Pilot. They are super convenient (I wrap them in tin foil or wax paper), delicious and full of energy. I made them several more times – they probably take less than 10 minutes to mix up, then it’s just a matter of keeping an eye on them in the oven.
I decided this time to make something a little more exotic, and found these dried figs in the bulk section of the supermarket – don’t they look yummy? They have such a strange texture, chewy on the outside with popping seeds on the inside.
I thought that these would go well with sesame seeds – they both have the same “popping” texture. So without further ado, here is the recipe for these delicious and nutritious Fig and Sesame Bars. Actually, some further ado: I pretty much make up the recipe as I go along – you can add and subtract whatever you want and it’s not going to make a huge difference to the final product. I’ll try to give accurate quantities, but just do whatever you want to get the textures and combinations that you like.
- 150 g butter
- 150 g brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of honey
Combine the above ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a while with some thoughts about the sugar reaching the soft ball stage and not burning in your head. It doesn’t really matter, because there is enough butter in there to hold the bars together, but I think that the longer you simmer the sugar mixture for, the harder the bars will be. Take off the heat and add:
- 2-3 handfuls of chopped dried figs (make sure you remove the hard stem part that seems to stay on some of them)
- about 1/3 of a cup of sesame seeds (whatever you have!)
- 2 handfuls of desiccated coconut
- 2 – 3 cups of whole oats
Add the oats in batches and mix until it looks about like this texture (add more if it doesn’t look like this yet…)
See how it’s not too sloppy, but also not so dry that it won’t stick together?
Now line a baking pan measuring about 20 cm x 30 cm with baking paper (best invention ever!) and press the mixture into it. As a guide, the mixture should be about 2 cm thick in the tin. Be careful because it’ll still be hot! It helps to wet your hands a little, because that seems to discourage it from sticking to your palms (because I insist on using my bare hands in baking).
Make sure you press it into all the corners, or you’ll have some thin bars and some fat ones.
Pop into a 160 c oven and bake until the edges are darkish brown, the middle is light brown and nothing is crisp and golden black yet. I loooooove the super caramelised edge pieces – yum! Cool, turn out, and slice into bars. I find that putting the whole tray in the freezer cools it down quickly and makes it much easier to chop it up.
These last for ages – probably up to 2 weeks in an airtight container, though I haven’t had a lot that has gone bad before they all disappeared in completely unmysterious circumstances…