Christmas is officially on it’s way. The big tree in Rockefeller Center has been lit for 2 weeks now, everyone has been shopping up a storm, and of course baking! Rightly so… it’s literally 8 days away! If you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking of Christmas-y treats. Which brings me to today’s post. If you’re a longtime reader, you’ll remember both my figgy pudding cupcakes & also that last holiday season I made a recipe featuring Duchy Originals lemon shortbread cookies.
(If you’re a new reader- well, suffice it to say, one time I made figgy pudding cupcakes & another time I made a lemon cranberry cobbler recipe featuring Duchy Originals lemon shortbread cookies. Haha.)
Anyway… the lovely folks at Duchy Originals wanted me to create a new recipe, this time for their Oaten biscuits. The oaten variety was the first one that was made for Duchy:
The Oaten Biscuit was the original Duchy Original – it was their first product back in 1992. Duchy Originals grow the wheat and oats themselves on farms in the UK. To get the perfect recipe and flavor, they teamed up with Walkers Shortbread who have been making shortbread in the Scottish Highlands for over 100 years.
Of course I said yes! I absolutely love the Duchy company & also the Walkers Shortbread company. In case you weren’t aware, Duchy was started by Prince Charles (yes-that Prince Charles!) in 1992 in order to promote organic food and farming and to help protect and sustain the local countryside and wildlife. it is one of the U.K.’s leading organic and sustainable food companies, producing a range of over 250 products from biscuits to preserves and gifts to garden seeds. A donation from the sale of Duchy Originals products is given to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation. More than $1 million is raised annually in this way for distribution to charitable causes all over the world. Duchy Originals from Waitrose shortbreads and cookies are baked by the world famous Walkers Shortbread in the Scottish Highlands.
And I thought it appropriate that being that they’re an English brand, and it’s Christmas, I make a “figgy pudding” reference.
In case you aren’t aware:
The history of figgy pudding dates back to 16th century England. Its possible ancestors include savory puddings such as crustades, fygeye or figge (a potage of mashed figs thickened with bread), creme boiled (a kind of stirred custard), and sippets. In any case, its methods and ingredients appear in diverse older recipes. Today, the term figgy pudding is known mainly because of the Christmas carol “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” which repeats, “Oh bring us a figgy pudding” in the chorus, indicating that it was a Christmas traditional dish served during the season and thus might potentially be given to Christmas carolers.
The oaten biscuits straddle the line between sweet & savory, with a distinctive oat flavor. So I paired it with figs, a shortbread cookie crust & an oat/oaten biscuit crumbly top. Voila! Figgy pudding cookie bars. Like a grown-up, fancier Fig Newton. And the port in the fig butter takes it to a whole new level!
They pack well, too, so they’re great to send guests home with or kids to school with. Just use layers of parchment paper in between.
FIGGY PUDDING COOKIE BARS (MADE WITH DUCHY ORIGINALS OATEN BISCUITS)
- 1/2 – 1 cup fig butter (recipe below, or you can use a pre-made one like Trader Joe’s)
- 1 package (6 cookies) Duchy Originals oaten biscuits, smashed into a fine crumb
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons (divided)
- 9 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened + 3 tablespoons melted (divided)
- A dash of ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup quick oats or rolled oats
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Lightly spray an 8″ x 8″ square pan with PAM and then line with parchment paper, making sure to leave an overhang on two sides.
- Cream the butter, confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Add the flour & & vanilla & beat until combined on a low speed. The dough will most likely be very crumbly. Work it/knead it with your (clean) hands until it’s smooth.
- Press the dough into the pan evenly. Refrigerate the pan until the fig butter & streusel are made.
- Bake dough for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown & a darker brown at the edges. Remove from oven & let cool. Meanwhile make streusel topping.
- With a fork, combine melted butter, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup quick oats and smashed Duchy Originals oaten biscuits in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly.
- Spread fig butter evenly on top of cooled shortbread cookie base with a silicone spatula. Add as much as you like- I prefer a lesser amount, but you can add more if you want.
- Sprinkle streusel on top of that, evenly. If any is left you can save it in the fridge in a jar for another batch.
- Pop into the oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or alone!
Makes about 2 and a half cups
- 1/2 lb. figs (fresh- about 6 small or 4 medium/large figs, I prefer to use Mission figs)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon port (optional)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Chop the figs into small pieces. Place them in a sauce pan and mash with a fork until there aren’t many chunks. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring with a silicone spatula occasionally (don’t let it start to stick or scorch).
- Add sugar, port (or water) and lemon juice. Stir thoroughly.
- Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat. Spoon into sterilized jars and cap securely.
If you want to make it child-friendly, use water instead of port. And listen: there’s nothing wrong with using a good quality store-bought fig butter; Trader Joe’s variety is made with 100% natural ingredients. Don’t buy one that’s filled with high fructose corn syrup & preservatives when you can easily make your own, though. Alternately, you can also adapt it to use any kind of fruit butter or jam you like! Use apple butter or use a plum jam… or any other thing that you enjoy. Strawberry jam, apricot jam, raspberry jam, etc.
Pie fillings also work in place of jam/fruit butter. Cherry or blueberry would work especially well. Apple pie filling might be a bit too chunky, but apple butter would be great.
So bring me some figgy pudding, and bring some right here!
And bring YOU some… because the folks at Duchy Originals were kind enough to provide my readers with a coupon code for 20% off! So you can purchase your own oaten biscuits (or lemon shortbread) for your own holiday snacks & creations. The shortbread is excellent on it’s own, dipped in chocolate, or blended into cookies or bars. And the oaten biscuits are excellent with savory dips/spreads as well as with cheese & honey or sweet stuff. Enter the code DUCHY20 to get the 20% off, and the code is good until 12/20.