clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Caramelized Date and Fig Oatmeal Cookies

Caramelized dates and figs come together in these crispy and chewy spiced oatmeal cookies. Eat them warm or cool but be warned, one cookie is never enough!

  • Yield: 12


2 cups/200 g old-fashioned/rolled oats

1 cup/140 g all-purpose flour

½ cup/100 g sugar

12 to 13/200 g pitted, dried dates, chopped

3 ½ oz/100 g fresh figs, chopped

½ cup/110 g unsalted butter, cubed

½ tsp baking soda

1 large egg, cold and lightly whisked

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp finely ground black pepper

½ tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, dry whisk the oats, flour, and ¼ cup/50g of the sugar.
  4. Place the dates, figs, butter, and ¼ cup/50g of the remaining sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the butter melts, stirring with a silicone spatula, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in ½ tsp baking soda, the mixture will immediately foam and turn light brown. Continue to stir, until the mixture reaches 180F/82C and turns a dark caramel toffeelike color, 2 to 3 minutes. At this point, resist the urge to taste this, I know it smells amazing, and speaking from experience, you can/will easily singe your tongue. Remove from the heat and let cool to 140F/60C (anything over this temperature and the egg runs the risk of coagulating).
  5. Stir in the egg, vanilla, black pepper, and cinnamon into caramelized fruit mixture.
  6. Make a well in the center of the oat mixture and pour in the fruit mixture. Fold with the spatula until there are no more visible flecks of dry oats or flour. Cover the bowl with a lid and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes but not longer.
  7. Divide the rested dough by weight into 12 equal parts (approximately 2 ½ to 3 Tbsp). Shape each into a 3 in/7.5 cm wide and ¼ inch/6mm thick patty. The dough will be quite sticky and lightly pre-wetting your hands in a little bit of water will help act as a non-stick shield during shaping. (If you want a smaller cookie, halve the quantity and the width.) Lay the shaped patties out onto the lined baking sheets (six cookie patties per sheet) and cook them in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, turning them halfway through during baking, until they turn golden brown and crisp on the edges. Remove the baked cookies from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool. The cookies can be eaten warm or at room temperature. Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.


  • Stay away from instant oatmeal when making cookies, old-fashioned/rolled oats are the only ones you need.
  • Use ripe figs but not overly ripe ones that are way too mushy.
  • If you must use dried figs, hydrate them by boiling them in a half-and-half mix of water and orange juice. Drain and use.
  • Be careful when caramelizing the fruit, too much and the whole thing can turn extremely bitter.
  • You can shape these cookies smaller and double the final count.
  • These cookies don’t spread by themselves, and you won’t be able to treat them like drop cookies, shape them with wet hands and flatten them out into patties before baking.
  • The resting time for the cookie dough is critical to achieving part crispy and chewy textures in the baked cookie.

Order your copy of the best-selling James Beard nominated cookbook, The Flavor Equation.