Fig and chocolate are meant for each other, flavorwise. The brown sugar in the dough helps keep these bars deliciously chewy.
Make Ahead: The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or they can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost before serving.
Servings: 32 small bars
- For the ganache
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 6 ounces (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- For the dough and topping
- 1 cup flour, preferably unbleached and organic
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (do not use quick or instant oats)
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups finely chopped dried figs
For the ganache: Heat the cream in a medium saucepan over low heat until it has warmed through. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Let stand for 3 minutes, until the chips have softened, then stir to incorporate.
Add the liqueur and butter; stir until the butter has melted and a smooth ganache is formed. Let cool for about 20 minutes; it should have a pourable consistency.
While the ganache is cooling, make the dough and topping: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking oil spray, then line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add 2 cups of the oats and whisk to combine.
Combine the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or a hand-held electric mixer. Beat on high speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low, then add the egg and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture in several additions, mixing just until the dough comes together; it should not be absolutely smooth.
Transfer three-quarters of the dough to the prepared baking pan and press it evenly over the liner or parchment paper. Sprinkle the chopped figs on the dough, then pour the cooled ganache over the figs. Use a spatula to spread it evenly.
Combine the remaining dough with the remaining 1 cup of oats in the same medium bowl used for the flour mixture. Use your fingers to work the oats into the dough to form a crumbly streusel topping. Scatter it evenly over the ganache.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes, then use the parchment paper to lift the baked bar onto a cutting board. Let cool completely before cutting into 32 roughly square-shaped bars.
Adapted from "Sweet!" by Mani Niall (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2008).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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