Apologies for not updating for so long, things had been a little hectic and stressful recently but I think things are all sorted out now.
These oaty squares are very quick and simple to make. They are not much to look at but the texture and flavour make up for their less than photogenic properties. They basically involve a sticky, chunky fig puree sandwiched between two oaty layers.
The oaty layers are firm and crumbly, slightly reminiscent of shortbread and they are the perfect carrier for the sticky fig centre. The figs themselves are dried figs which mean they add a lovely sticky sweetness and a great texture and crunch from the tiny seeds contained within them.
They have a healthy yet satisfying feel to them. The perfect snack for beating the morning munchies, full of fibre and slow release energy while still being sweet enough to feel like a treat. They were the treat of choice for the Monday Munchers this week and were indeed munched on happily.
Other dried fruit fillings work well, as long as they are sticky. Dried peaches, apricots or prunes would be perfect. They are traditionally made with dates and are then known as Memorial Bars (although I’m not sure why).
Fig Filled Oaty Squares
250g ready to eat dried figs
1 tsp vanilla extract
160g rolled oats
120g plain flour
115g soft brown sugar
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
Grease and base and sides of an 8inch/20cm square cake tin (loose bottom preferably) and line completely with greaseproof paper.
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Chop the figs into small pieces using a pair of scissors. Place into a saucepan along with the water and vanilla and bring to the boil.
Allow to bubble for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has evaporated and the mixture has become sticky, thick and pureed.
Remove from the heat and set to one side.
Place the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl.
Chop the butter into squares and rub through the dry mixture, using your fingers, until well incorporated. The mixture should be starting to stick together in small clumps.
Press half of this oaty mixture into the base of the tin and press down firmly.
Spread the cooled fig mixture over the surface and of the oaty layer before scattering over the remainder of the oat mixture and gently pressing down until firm.
Place into the oven for 30-35 minutes until firm and turning lightly golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for half an hour before un moulding. Then allow to cool completely for a couple of hours before slicing, as this will help prevent the bars from crumbling.
Cut into 16 squares and store in an airtight container.