Are you ready for fall? I am. I confess I was longing for cool crisp weather back in August. The Fall Season is my favorite time of year. When we pull out the Halloween decorations and hunt for pumpkin scented candles. This is the time where I enjoy baking the most. Yes, I so love pumpkin everything! Since I was born a bit late and have this infinity for Halloween. November birthday. But since I have some of my Maple Fig Preserves in the refrigerator, I decided to bake this recipe. These are incredible tasting Simple Maple Fig Bars with Pecan-Oat Crumble. The first bite was insanely good and so was the last. There are none left in the house. At all. I believe they lasted only one day.
These bars have three simple layers. The first layer is a soft, sweet buttery and nutty pecan-rolled crumble oat crust. The flavor is sweet and nutty. The second layer is the fig filling, using my easy Maple Fig Preserves. Any filling could be substituted. Maybe your favorite jam? Add the Buttery Pecan-Oat Crumble on top and sprinkle on some Cinnamon-Sugar. Bake until lightly brown and crunchy. Oh so good! It is the perfect flavors of Fall!
Baking the bars are simple enough. Can’t decide what taste you’re in the mood for? Ask your kids! The only difficult thing about these bars is deciding on the filling. The kitchen tools I used for this recipe is probably what you have in your own kitchen. I used my food processor to prepare the crumble. But if you have some mixing bowls, a spatula, pastry blender and your hands. That outta do it. Nothing fancy. Our Great Grandmothers kept things simple.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9 x 9 square baking dish by lining it with parchment paper. Make sure you leave about an inch or two of parchment up 2 sides of the dish. It makes lifting the bars out of the pan so easy. Nothing sticks! No fuss, no mess. I swear by parchment. It makes cooking so much easier! Meanwhile, prepare the pecans. Grind about 3/4 cup of pecan pieces in a Nutra Bullet, (that is what I used) Food processor until it resembles fine crumbs. Ever tried using a coffee grinder? I have heard that works as well. It should yield about 1/2 cup or slightly more. You can be the judge.
The Pecan-Oat Crust
In a large bowl or bowl of a food processor, add the one cup of all-purpose flour*, 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats,* and the ground pecans*, packed brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisked until combined or pulse a few times with the processor. Whisk or pulse until combined. Then add the softened room-temperature butter and almond extract. Using a pastry blender, fork, your hands or food processor, cream together ingredients or pulse for 30 seconds with the Processor until blended and resembles soft crumbs. This Pecan-Oat crumble will smell delightful. A reminder of cool crisp nights and warm cider. Reserve one half of the buttery crumble and set aside.
With the other half of the crumb mixture, you set aside to form a crust by pressing with your fingertips on the bottom of the 9 x 9-inch prepared baking dish.
Middle Filling Layer
This is where it becomes mind-boggling. What to use for a filling! If you have a jar of fig preserves, You can use any fruit jam. Be adventurous! If you don’t have a recipe, try my Easy Maple Fig Preserves. It’s a keeper! Figs have a short growing season, and fresh figs are not normally available after September. Try using dried Turkish figs and blend with water. It will be more like a spread than preserves. Spread on top of the crust the Fig Preserves. Using the back of a spoon or spatula to spread it around evenly.
Take the other half of the Pecan-Oat crumb topping and generously sprinkle on top of the filling layer. Then garnish with cinnamon-sugar. Stick in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Until it looks lightly browned. It’s a good length of time. Anything less and you would lose that wonderful slightly crunchy top. Mmmm good. Then remove from the oven and smell the yummy goodness. You will have to wait at least 15 minutes for it to cool. Then just lift it out of the pan, slice into squares and dig in!
- Need more servings? Just cut the squares in half.
- Make sure to always spoon and level when measuring flour. Having a food scale helps too. Not having the correct amounts can really change a recipe. But I know not everyone has one lying around. Other scales maybe, but that kind won’t work sorry. 🙂
- Gluten-Free Option? Replace flour with Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-free Baking Flour and Gluten-Free Oats.
Simple Maple Fig Bars with Pecan-Oat Crumble
Yield 9-18 squares, depends on portion size
Simple Maple Fig Bars with Pecan-Oat Crumble. These layered bars have a soft, sweet buttery and nutty pecan crumble oat crust with cinnamon-sugar.
Crust and Topping:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour*
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats*
- 1/2 cup ground pecans= equates to 3/4 cup of pecan pieces*
- 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar (packed)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups Maple Fig Preserves or other fillings*
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon-sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a 9 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper or foil and set aside.
Crust and Topping: First Layer
- To a large bowl or food processor add dry ingredients: flour*, oats*, ground pecans,* packed brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- Whisk or pulse until combined. Then add the softened room-temperature butter and almond extract.
- Using a pastry blender, fork, your hands or food processor, cream together ingredients or pulse for 30 seconds with the Processor until blended and resembles soft crumbs.
- Reserve one half of the buttery crumble and set aside. With the other half of the mixture form a crust by pressing with your fingertips on the bottom of the baking dish.
For the Filling: Second Layer
- Spread the Fig Preserves on top of the crust with the back of a spoon or small spatula.
Pecan-Oat Topping: Final Layer
- Take the second half of the crumble mixture and sprinkle on top of the filling and garnish with 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon-sugar.
- Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the top begins to brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for a least 15 minutes. Then lift out with parchment paper and slice into squares.
- For Ground Pecans:* With a food processor, Nutra-bullet grind or blender. Grind 3/4 cup of pecan pieces until almost the consistency of breadcrumbs.
- Gluten-Free Option: I use Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-free Baking Flour. No other ingredients necessary. 1 cup=1cup.
Recipe adapted from http://www.motherthyme.com/2016/12/oatmeal-fig-jam-squares.html
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Recipe inspired by http://www.motherthyme.com/2016/12/oatmeal-fig-jam-squares.html