Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fig Cereal Bars

So in my never-ending quest to find new and interesting (homemade!) foods for my growing boys, I started looking for a fruit cereal bar I could make.  I wanted something healthy I could feed them at snack time.  They love their muffins, but variety is the spice of life!

Fruit is a tough one here since Aaron is still breaking out in a small rash whenever he eats any kind of berry (or tomatoes).  Since melons are still available they've been eating a ton of them.  They have bananas all the time for breakfast and apples fairly regularly too.  I was very happy to find a great cereal bar recipe that included figs, a new fruit!

I found this recipe at an interesting blog I decided to start following.  It's called Eat, Live, Run.  (Three things I  enjoy myself!)  The recipe posted is actually vegan and though I have nothing against eating vegan, I un-veganed it.  My only reason was to avoid having to buy ingredients I just don't have on hand.  If you want, feel free to click through and go vegan instead!

These bars are like large whole wheat fig newtons.  They are not as sweet as the popular cookies, but I thought they were just sweet enough. I made them on Sunday and they are still nice and soft and delicious.  The boys have really seemed to enjoy nomming on them for snack.

(They ate every crumb of those big bars, my little piggies!)

Soft Baked Fig Cereal Bars, adapted from Eat, Live, Run
3 oz unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups dried figs
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups apple juice
1 1/2 cups water

In your mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the brown sugar and butter until it is nice and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition.  With the mixer on low, add in the milk.

Combine the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and cinnamon in a separate bowl.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture to combine.  Once a soft dough forms, remove the dough and shape it into a smooth ball.  Wrap it in plastic and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour.

Now work on the filling.  Put your dried figs into a large saucepan with the juice, water and sugar.  Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes turn off the heat and let the figs and liquid cool down.  Once cool pour the contents of the pot into your food processor, add the vanilla, and process until you have a nice smooth fig spread.  This stuff is pretty yummy alone!

Once the filling is complete, remove half of the dough from the refrigerator.  (Leave the other half in to stay cool!) On a floured surface roll out the dough in a long rectangular shape.  Mine was about 18 inched long and about 4 inches wide.  Spread the filling onto the dough leaving a one inch edge around all sides.  Now roll out the second half of dough to the same size, lay it over the filling and press the edges together to seal.  Cut your rectangle into about 10 cereal bars.  Place the bars onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake them in an oven preheat to 350 F for 25 minutes.

I hope you and your kiddos enjoy them!

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