So maybe you’ve pinned me as the sweet tooth! I love sweet treats so I have done a lot of experimenting with dried fruit, nuts and grains to make nutrient dense and satisfyingly sweet morsels to snack on. It just makes me feel happier during a work day! Of my tests and trials these are my brothers very favorite – this one’s for you Charlie! I owe it to the delicate crunch of the seeds that pack the earthy sweet figs.
Figs grow on the Ficus tree (Ficus carica), which is a member of the Mulberry family – this is another reason I love them. Being a forestry professional I love bringing up the fact that trees do so much for us environmentally but they also nourish us! Figs are an excellent source of fiber, potassium and vitamin B6.
Pecans have always seemed to me to be the naughty nut (is there such a thing!?) I suppose it is partly because it is such a popular dessert nut – often combined with copious amounts of refined sugar and starch.
When eaten on their own in their natural raw state or combined with other wholesome ingredients they are actually a wonderful source of nutritious energy – providing phyto-chemical substances (chemicals produced by plants) including polyphenolic antioxidant ellagic acid, vitamin E, beta-carotene and lutein. In addition, pecans boast a variety of other nutrients like B-complex groups of vitamins, and minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. So, I guess these power packed nuts are only guilty by association! Enjoy them – guilt free!
So – for the bars – you have now heard about the two main ingredients – the few remaining ingredients round out the snack with flavor complexity, long lasting carbohydrates and fiber. Also these beautiful little treats are gluten free, dairy free and free of refined sugar.
You will need a food processor for this recipe and it goes similar to the Coconut, Date, Cashew Bars.
For 8 large snack bars of 16 small after lunch treats you will need:
2 cups rolled oats (certified gluten free if you are super sensitive)
1/2 cup raw pecans
6 oz dried black mission figs (24 small or 18 large)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 Tblspn water as needed
If your figs are not super moist you will want to soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes. Bring about 1/2 cup water to a boil, place figs in deep glass bowl and have tinfoil ready to cover.
Once you cover with the tinfoil allow them to sit for about 10 minutes. In the mean time you can prep the rest of your ingredients.
Rub a square 8″ x 8″ pan with a tiny bit of coconut oil (just enough so the parchment sticks and stays put) then line with parchment paper.
Place pecans in the work bowl of your food processor and pulse into a coarse chop. Remove pecans from food processor and set aside.
Lift figs from their steam bath and reserve the water. You may need to add a little of it to your mixture in a minute. Better to use the flavored water then to dump it! I have taken the extra step of reducing this liquid in a small sauce pan. Although I think it is worth the extra step and dirty pan – you can completely get away without doing this.
Place hydrated figs in the work bowl of your food processor, add vanilla and pulse a few time to do the initial break up – then proceed to process until you have a nice fig paste.
At this point you can add the oats and cinnamon – pulse until combined. If it seems terribly stiff start adding some of your soaking liquid (reduced or not) 1 tablespoon at a time – pulsing after each addition. You many only need 1 – I have never used more than 2.
Now, add back your chopped pecans and pulse a few times – to incorporate them.
Press mixture into your prepared pan and chill for a couple of hours before cutting into bars and wrapping individually. These freeze great and are a handy treat to have on the ready!
Enjoy the flavorful fuel!