soft baked fig cereal bars

I’m proud to say Adam is doing really well with his new diet. He hasn’t had meat in a week and actually went so far to try tofu the other morning in his breakfast wrap.

Strange things are happening around here…and I don’t just mean him giving me his credit card to hit the mall. I’m just going with the flow.

He is, however, hungry. While a bowl of quinoa might fill me up, it’s sort of a snack to him. The man needs more food.

So, I’ve been trying to give him Larabars to take work, and even went so far as writing in permanent marker “AFTERNOON SNACK” on one last week. The only problem is that he needs at least two bars to produce any anti-hunger effect at all and those bars are expensive. I bet you can guess who’s buying.

I’ve been messing around in the kitchen, trying to make a whole grain cholesterol free (yet tasty!) snack bar that’s portable and doesn’t contain a bajillion grams of sugar.

We’ll save that for cupcakes.

These bars are vegan, whole wheat and filled with a quick and delicious homemade fig paste. I hate to admit this out loud (online?), but they actually turned out way better than expected. I mean, you just never know when you don’t use butter or eggs. Agreed?

Substituting ground flax for eggs makes these bars not only high in fiber, but also gives them a rather “nutty” taste.Β  Think of a dense, slightly sweet, wholesome nutri-grain bar.

Was I the only twelve year old addicted to blueberry nutri-grain bars? Whatever happened to those things anyway?

These bars, like nutri-grain bars, are highly portable and perfect for feeding starving boyfriends around the hours of 10 am and 2 pm.

And even though I love me some homemade granola bars, these are a nice change of pace. Particularly because super healthy fig newton bars are just so fun to eat….and extra fig paste tastes especially amazing on english muffins or waffles.


Soft Baked Fig Cereal Bars

adapted from this fig newton recipe

makes about 10 bars

Print this recipe!


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 T ground flax

1/3 cup warm water

3 oz earth balance buttery sticks

1/2 cup + 2 T brown sugar

2 T soymilk

2 cups dried figs

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups apple juice + 1 1/2 cups water


Cream together the earth balance and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk together the ground flax and warm water then add to butter/sugar mixture in two installments, blending well after each. Add the soymilk and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add to the earth balance and sugar mixture and mix until a soft dough forms (it will be on the crumbly side). Turn dough out onto a floured countertop and form a smooth ball. Let chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Place the figs in a saucepot and cover with apple juice, water and sugar and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool and puree figs, juice and vanilla extract together to form a smooth paste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove half of dough from the fridge and roll out to be a long rectangle. This dough is a little dry so may want to add a sprinkle of water to help you form a smooth ball before rolling out. Cover rectangle with fig paste, leaving a one inch border around edges. Set aside.

Roll out other half of dough to be a rectangle the same size then sandwich rectangles on each other, pressing down gently. Carefully cut into bars and use your fingers to crimp the edges a little bit.

Brush bars with warm water and add a sprinkle of oats if you like, then bake bars on a lined baking sheet for 25 minutes.


1 1/2 hours

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  • jenna laughs
    June 7, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Amazing! What a creative recipe to try. Your fig paste/jam looks delicious.

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    June 7, 2011 at 4:49 am

    Thou shall not use the word “diet” rather “lifestyle” change…oops RD moment. Make sure he has a bit of wiggle room so he doesn’t go whole hog one day-yes, pun intended! hahaha.

    These look great!

  • megan @ blackberries for jam
    June 7, 2011 at 4:51 am

    I’m loving the vegan recipes you’ve been posting recently. This one looks right up my alley! I am seriously burnt out of larabars.

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    June 7, 2011 at 5:03 am

    Those bars look super cute Jenna! I am a real snacker and usually eat 5 to 6 meals a day. Thanks for a new recipe to introduce into my daily regime πŸ˜‰

  • Blog is the New Black
    June 7, 2011 at 5:06 am

    These look wonderful!!! I made your lemon bars last night, and tonight I’m making your mango coconut muffins…. super star you are! πŸ˜‰

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    June 7, 2011 at 5:07 am

    Those look absolutely incredible. I’m obsessed with fig newtons, so I’m pretty sure I love you right now.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    June 7, 2011 at 5:10 am

    These sound so so good Jenna! As a kid I couldn’t stand NutriGrain bars because I found them too sweet but these sound so delicious that I’m certainly willing to give them a chance! Do you think the recipe would work using all whole wheat pastry flour, rather than a mix of whole wheat and white? Thanks! πŸ™‚

    • jenna
      June 7, 2011 at 8:26 am

      I’d use a mix because the bars might be too dense with all wheat flour and pastry flour isn’t always a great substitute because it’s meant for delicate things like cakes. You never want to use pastry flour in something more “bread-like” because it doesn’t contain enough gluten and will fall apart and be super crumbly.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    June 7, 2011 at 5:12 am

    oh yum that last shot of the figs is SO beautiful! these sound delicious!

  • jenna
    June 7, 2011 at 5:18 am

    i love fig newtons! these sound delightful!

  • Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen
    June 7, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Ohh – this sounds so good. I wish just talking to my mom about how I miss fig newtons – perfect timing! πŸ™‚

  • Brooke @ Bittersweetb
    June 7, 2011 at 5:21 am

    I use to eat blueberry nutri-grain bars like it was my job as a kid! These fig bars look much more appealing now though! I love me a good snack that I don’t have to feel guilty for.

  • Kim {Recipes To Run On}
    June 7, 2011 at 5:21 am

    My kids and I are definitely making these and your Fig Newton Bars! What great snack ideas!!!

  • Lauren at Keep It Sweet
    June 7, 2011 at 5:25 am

    I’ve been wanting to make your original recipe for a while… but now I might just try this one! Perfect snack:-)

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday
    June 7, 2011 at 5:25 am

    I love anything with figs in it. I think fig jam is probably my favourite kind. My Lebanese grocery store stocks a lot of different types of fig jam which I could probably use in this recipe without going through the hassle of making my own…although it might be much sweeter.

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    June 7, 2011 at 5:27 am

    these sound great! If I wanted to use actual eggs instead of the flax mixture, would I need one or two? I was a little confused by your chalkboard πŸ™‚ thanks!

    • jenna
      June 7, 2011 at 8:24 am

      Just substitute the flax + water mixture for 2 eggs and add them into the butter/sugar mixture after you’re done creaming!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers
    June 7, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Amazing is not a good enough of word for how delicious those look! I LOVE fig newtons but have always been too chicken to make them on my own.

  • Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef
    June 7, 2011 at 5:45 am

    these look super easy & super tasty! thanks jenna πŸ™‚

  • Emily
    June 7, 2011 at 5:45 am

    Those look great! My dad always ate fig newtons when I was a kid – I haven’t had one in ages! Maybe I’ll make these for father’s day!

  • Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray
    June 7, 2011 at 5:49 am

    Ohhh, blueberry NutriGrain bars still exist. I bring them to work sometimes and try to convince myself that they’re a healthy cereal(ish) bar. πŸ™‚

  • Baking 'n' Books
    June 7, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Look good. I like the chalkboard shot!

  • kalli
    June 7, 2011 at 5:56 am

    these look like heaven. could you omit the sugar completely because the figs are sweet?

    • jenna
      June 7, 2011 at 8:23 am

      I wouldn’t because then the cookie part probably wouldn’t taste as good…it might taste like cardboard. You don’t want that. In regards to omitting the sugar to the fig mixture…you could try although I think the paste tastes so good as is!

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg
    June 7, 2011 at 6:01 am

    These look delicious!

    I love nutrigrain bars — and they are still around and still loaded with sugar πŸ™‚

  • Mallory
    June 7, 2011 at 6:02 am

    Amazing…where do you get your vegan knowledge? I am glad I am not the only one sick of larabars.

    • jenna
      June 7, 2011 at 8:23 am

      I went vegan a few years ago for like 6 months and during that time cooked and baked a TON! πŸ™‚

  • Carissa
    June 7, 2011 at 6:03 am

    I loved the whole wheat fig newtons, so I can’t wait to try these! Yum!

  • Charise
    June 7, 2011 at 6:06 am

    mmm, I want that fig paste NOW!

  • Julie
    June 7, 2011 at 6:09 am

    I’m new to your blog and I have shared so many of your recipes with my family! They look so delicious! Thanks for sharing them. I can’t wait to make these!

  • Emily
    June 7, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Yumm these looks so good!

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food
    June 7, 2011 at 6:20 am

    ohhh those look awesome!

    My husband is just like Adam, that boy can eat! The check out clerks at the grocery store always ask us how many kids we have because of the mounds of produce and other food. Umm we don’t have kids πŸ˜›

  • Katie (Sweet Tater)
    June 7, 2011 at 6:26 am


  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas
    June 7, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Haha.. what I loved most about this post.. is knowing how everything is set up when you took the pictures… and withyour chalkboard πŸ˜‰

    Oh — the bars look dlish too!

  • rachel @ sweettarte
    June 7, 2011 at 6:32 am

    YUM! these look delicious (and healthy). I love fig newtons and I’m sure these are even better–can’t wait to give them a try!

  • Kelly
    June 7, 2011 at 6:45 am

    These look amazing! I used to love the cherry nutrigrain bars when I was a kid. Those were so good! Vegan baking scares me…like a lot. But these do look wonderful!

  • Em
    June 7, 2011 at 6:48 am

    These looks so good.
    I’m going to make a batch this week.

  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}
    June 7, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Ah, these look incredible. Bookmarking right now.

  • Khushboo
    June 7, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Nutri Grains were a staple in my school lunchbox so these are defo calling out to me!

  • French Heart
    June 7, 2011 at 7:06 am

    That fig paste/jam + bars look delicious. Love figs & dates. I’ll substitute almond milk & honey instead of brown sugar/soy milk & see how that flys. πŸ˜‰

  • Erin
    June 7, 2011 at 7:21 am

    I tried to make homemade strawberry newtons awhile back, and it wasn’t the prettiest end result. These on the otherhand look amazing! If i could only reach through my computer screen and snatch one up!

  • Maria
    June 7, 2011 at 7:23 am

    These look great! Perfect for a summer picnic!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    June 7, 2011 at 7:34 am

    I love figs SO much that I just want to eat that filling by the spoon!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    June 7, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I loved Nutrigrain blueberry when I was a kid. It was the only flavor I could handle. I have to say, though, these look much better. It’s like a Nutrigrain bar-Fig Newton combo.

  • Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat
    June 7, 2011 at 7:44 am

    I totally forgot Nutra Grain Bars existed! But these look way better.

  • Felicia (Natural and Balanced)
    June 7, 2011 at 7:44 am

    i am definitely making these! i have so many dates too, so i might do a combo πŸ™‚

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    June 7, 2011 at 7:45 am

    I thought of nutri-grain bars immediately when I saw this. I had on e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y middle school through high school. Blueberry was my fav.
    Now I appreciate figs more and these look great!

  • Susie
    June 7, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I love homemade fig bars! It’s cool that these are vegan too, and still good – I recently made some flax blueberry muffins that were pretty tasty. Definitely going to give a shot at making these for work!

  • Heidi @ Food Doodles
    June 7, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Yummy πŸ™‚ I’ve been wanting to try out a bar recipe like this for my in laws who eat a lot of store bought bars. Homemade is always better. And that filling looks crazy good!

  • Amanda (Eating Up)
    June 7, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I was also obsessed with NutriGrain bars! These look beautiful!

  • Caitlin
    June 7, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Ooh those look good! I also had an obsession with NutriGrain bars, especially the strawberry ones. Fig sounds delicious, too!

  • meredith
    June 7, 2011 at 8:32 am

    funny you should mention the nutrigrain bars. i recently saw them in that “eat this, not that” book. apparently they are little more than the nutritional equivalent of a candy bar, but marketed in a way that makes you think you’re eating healthy! tricky, tricky consumer industry.

  • Melissa @ Journey to Marvelous
    June 7, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I’m not a fig fan, but homemade cereal bars are a fantastic idea! Maybe I could come up with some other filling…

  • Michelle | Gold-Hearted Girl
    June 7, 2011 at 8:51 am

    This must make you AND him very happy at snack time. πŸ™‚ I’m so excited to try these out!

  • Emily G.
    June 7, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Oh Jenna, as I read this I was eating a Blueberry Nutrigrain bar! I almost spit it out when I saw you questioning where they were LOL

    I’ll definitely have to give these babies a try!

  • Brenna [fabuleuxdestin]
    June 7, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Yumm! I used to have a nutri-grain bar for bfast every day in high school . yup

  • Allison @ The Delicious Life
    June 7, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Wow these look amazing! I hope Adam enjoys them πŸ™‚

  • Shelly M.
    June 7, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Can you use fresh figs? I have a beautiful fig tree and would love to use them.

  • kaila @ healthy helper!
    June 7, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I LOVE dried figs!!! And I love barbaras bakery fig bars but they are so darn expensive so this is the perfect substitute!!

  • Rachel
    June 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

    These look delicious! I’m an hour from the nearest Trader Joe’s where I’d stock up on their fig cereal bars so this is a fun treat to try. Do you think I could substitute regular butter and milk for the buttery sticks and soymilk? We’re not vegan and don’t carry any products like that so I’m trying to work with what’s on hand. Thanks!

    • jenna
      June 7, 2011 at 11:55 am


  • Gina (Yogattude)
    June 7, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Those look so much better than the packaged ones!

  • Marcy
    June 7, 2011 at 11:31 am


    I was just listening to Dr. Oz and his writing partner, Dr. Rozen, talk about “satiety factor” and how to achieve it. They highly recommended nuts – walnuts, almonds, peanuts – due to their healthy fats and the ability to help you feel comfortably full without over indulging. 6 walnuts, 12 almonds or 20 peanuts should do the trick for most people.

  • Cat @Breakfast to Bed
    June 7, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Ohmahgawd. That looks amazing. My son asks for a trader joe’s fig bar pretty much every morning, and this looks so much better!!

  • Nikki
    June 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    There are an awful lot of marriage/engagement references up in here! πŸ˜‰

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    June 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Jenna these look amazing!

    I looooooove Fig Newtows. And Nutri Grain bars! I think in college that was the breakfast (or lunch) of champions for a very long time!

    Love that bowl of fig paste, too. Mmmmmm good!

    You made me want to get my bar bakin’ on…now!

  • Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet
    June 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Wow thanks for this recipe!! This will definitely come in handy, not just for me but for MY boyfriend too πŸ™‚

    My boyfriend’s biggest complaint about not turning vegetarian is that he thinks he’ll never be full!

  • Cait's Plate
    June 7, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Just when I think it can’t get any better – you create something like this!! They look so amazing, as always Jenna!

  • Fran
    June 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    If I offered this as a snack to my boyfriend he would laugh

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope
    June 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    What a neat recipe! I used to LOVE fig newton bars when I was younger and definitely went through a Nutri Grain phase as well. This looks like a perfect snack!

  • Jenn Brigole
    June 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    This recipe will be posted on my fridge later. Definitely the snacks I can bring with me and munch on after a few hours at the gym. yey! πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  • DessertForTwo
    June 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    What a great idea–looks way better than store-bought πŸ™‚

  • jenna k
    June 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    these look yummy, although i’d substitute some other fruit paste for the figs.
    how long do you think they’d keep?

    • jenna
      June 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      I’d keep ’em for about a week in the fridge.

  • Nancy
    June 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Can we get Adam’s opinion of those various veggie burgers he tried? Or can you do a review with his opinions included? Would be great to know which ones are preferable for meat lovers.

  • Amy Jo
    June 7, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    These look GLORIOUS.

  • Mellie
    June 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I’ve never liked these kinds of bars but I’ve only had gross boxed ones so maybe homemade ones are better. They certainly look tasty!

  • Pure2raw Twins
    June 7, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    These bars look amazing! I loved fig newtons growing up! And so excited for fig season! I just love fresh figs πŸ™‚

  • Amanda Jewell
    June 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    FIGSSSSSSS!!! My #1 jam in the entire world is fig jam! Unfortunately, my favorite (and the best) I ever had is from a tiny Greek island with only 5,000 inhabitants… SO I will definitely 100% be making this fig paste and be smothering it on everything I eat (and by the spoon) πŸ˜‰

  • | happyaspie
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  • Sonia (the Mexigarian)
    June 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    must. bake. now. LOVE anything with figs!

  • Lacey @ Lake Life
    June 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Like most of your recipes, I’m adding this to my list of “to try” recipes! Nutrigrain bars are still around, btw!

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen
    June 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I was addicted to those fig bars growing up, I have to try this!

  • Pam
    June 9, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Wow those look amazingly delicious!! Love the flax for egg substitution πŸ™‚

  • Nikki
    June 23, 2011 at 7:37 pm


    I made these tonight and they’re a HUGE hit! Of course, I had to make extra fig paste because you can never have enough of that…yummmm! I will definitely be making these again…cookie, breakfast bar, whatever you call them, and whenever you eat them, they’re delicious!

  • Cara
    July 9, 2011 at 7:25 am

    hey! i tried making these, and they taste really amazing! i had some issues with the dough, though, which i think was caused by using just all-purpose flour. it turned out very firm and crumbly, and so taught that i couldn’t roll it out thin enough, so they ended up being more like cookies than bars :p
    i made a post about it:

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  • C
    March 7, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Instead of using 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, can another healthier type of flour be substituted or more whole wheat flour? Can whole wheat pastry flour be used in place of the flours? Also, could I used regular butter in the same amount instead of Earth Balance? I haven’t quite made the transtion to using that product yet, and don’t know if I want to, as I am not sure if it has soy in it.

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  • Here
    August 4, 2013 at 5:30 am

    good…i was looking for a good afternoon snack recipe and you give me a great idea…i’ll let you know how they taste!!