Brown Butter Hazelnut Fig Bars

These three-layer bars have a rich, nutty hazelnut flavor that perfectly compliments the sweet fig filling in the middle. An easy batter makes both the dense bottom layer and the golden crumble topping, which means you can whip these up in no time!

  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 bars (or 9, if sliced larger) 1x



Base and Crumb Topping

  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" slices
  • 5 3/4 ounces (1 3/8 cup, spoon and level) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 6 ounces (1 1/4 cups) toasted and skinned (whole) hazelnuts*
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 ounces (2/3 cup, packed) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Fig Filling

  • 15 1/4 ounces (2 1/4 cups) chopped Calimyrna figs
  • 1 3/4 ounces (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8" square baking pan with foil, leaving enough foil hanging over the sides to lift the bars from the pan when done baking.
  2. Brown the butter: Place the butter in a small fry pan set over medium-low heat. Allow the butter to melt, whisking occasionally, until it starts to bubble. Once it bubbles, continue to whisk more frequently, cooking the butter until it turns golden and small brown specks appear on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat immediatley and continue to whisk for about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl to cool briefly.
  3. While the butter is cooking, combine 4 1/4 ounces (1 cup, spoon and level) flour with hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor.** Process until the entire mixture is fine in texture, similar to that of a nut meal, stopping to wipe down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed to prevent clumping. Add the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and pulse in until evenly combined.
  4. While the butter is cooling, combine the ingredients for the fig filling (figs, sugar, corn starch, lemon juice, and salt) in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
  5. Add the brown sugar to the slightly cooled brown butter and whisk together until well-combined. Add egg and vanilla and whisk in until smooth. Add dry ingredients and fold in until just combined with no streaks of the dry ingredients visible.
  6. Set aside 6 3/4 ounces (3/4 cup) batter and transfer the remaining batter to prepared baking pan. Using your fingertips or a flat, wide spatula, press batter into the pan in a flat, compact layer that covers the bottom entirely. Spread the fig filling on top in an even layer to cover the first layer, shaking the pan back and forth gently to smooth out the fig layer.
  7. Add the remaining 1 1/2 ounces (3/8 cup, spoon and level) flour to the reserved batter and rub in with fingertips until incorporated into a crumbly dough with no dry flour visible. Crumble over the bars, ensuring that the fig layer is covered entirely.
  8. Bake bars in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the crumble topping is just barely starting to turn golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool bars in pan on a wire rack. Once cool, use foil to lift bars from pan and slice with a bench scraper (works really well!) or a knife. Store in an airtight container.


*If you don't want to use hazelnuts, you can substitute 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) almond meal. The flavor of the bars will be different, but still really good! You can also use pre-made hazelnut meal if you prefer; just make sure it's fresh.

**If using almond meal or pre-made hazelnut meal, all of the dry ingredients can simply be whisked together in a bowl.