Vanilla Bean & Fig Shortbread Drizzled with Honey Glaze



This past week has been wonderful. It was my birthday on Wednesday and I’ve been spoiled silly by so many wonderful people. Packages in the mail, trips to the city, visits from my mother, late night dinners. All this positive attention reminded me that I can also spoil myself a little -I decided I was entitled to as much sangria and shortbread as I please during this week. I whipped up a big batch of sangria and peach shortbread last Sunday and spent the week picking away at it. Heck, I even ran out of shortbread by Wednesday and whipped up another batch; this time I whipped up these fig shortbread bars.

Sometimes you are kind of nervous about getting older and the only cure is large amounts of butter and sparkling wine. Oh and having amazing people in your life.


There is something incredibly comforting and satisfying about shortbread. Maybe it’s the mix of savory butter and sweetened fruit. Or maybe I just grew up with a little too much butter in my cookies. Either way, these cookies will not disappoint. The honey is just icing on the cake (literally) – use maple syrup instead of honey if you are making the vegan version and double the recipe (use a 13×9 inch pan) if you are baking for a crowd.



Vanilla Bean & Fig Shortbread Drizzled with Honey Glaze [Vegan Option]

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Peach Shortbread
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise and seeds removed (can discard pod after)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) of butter or Earth Balance (if making vegan), sliced into big chunks
  • 5-7 figs, sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces


For the drizzle:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup if making vegan)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 8×8 inch pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla beans, baking powder, and salt. Use clean hands to work the butter and applesauce into your dry mix until the dough is course and crumbly. Press 2/3 the mixture into the bottom of your pan, lay the figs in a single layer across, and top the figs with the rest of the mixture.


Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is browned. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Whisk together the powdered sugar and honey. Slowly add in the hot water 1 teaspoon at a time until a thick glaze is  created. Drizzle glaze over your shortbread and enjoy!






  • Sandra @ Kitchen Apparel
    September 8, 2013

    Oh wow…yummy!!! I wish I could eat the screen right now. I might have some fresh figs coming to me soon. I would love to make this with them 🙂

    • pat sportsman
      Sandra @ Kitchen Apparel
      September 9, 2013

      Where did you get fresh figs ? I live in Washington state.

  • Harriet
    September 8, 2013

    Happy Birthday, lady! And wow – these shortbread appear to be the most perfect birthday food (I always think cake is overrated). I absolutely cannot wait for figs to come into season, and then it will be all figs all the time.

  • Katy K
    September 8, 2013

    Yum! This looks like my perfect dessert. figs. honey. shortbread. count me in! I saw that you’re from the midwest. I am too, and I cannot for the life of me find fresh figs anywhere! Where did you get yours?

    • Shellywest
      Katy K
      September 9, 2013

      Hey Katy – I have a really hard time finding figs as well and can only seem to find them in season (right around now) – I got these at Trader Joes and also found some at my local co-op grocery store (Bloomingfoods). Hope that helps & good luck! I find them to be a special treat since they are so uncommon around here. :]

  • Lauren
    September 11, 2013

    This looks insanely delicious! I love figs so much… can’t wait to make this!
    lauren @

  • gina
    September 12, 2013

    Oh! i have so many figs on my tree that need to be used. I’ve been going with me savory recipes but this looks so yummy. it’s on my list now!!

    • Shellywest
      September 13, 2013

      GAH – I was just SO jealous that you HAVE a fig tree!!!

  • Alanna {The Bojon Gourmet}
    September 18, 2013

    Happy birthday, Shelly! I would take shortbread over cake any day (and especially on a special occasion). This figgy version looks to die for!

  • Grace @ earthy feast
    September 18, 2013

    This looks so damn good in every way. Happy belated Birthday!

  • Monica
    September 21, 2013

    First of all thanks for the new recipe. I made these today and they are really good. My only comment is that if anyone is watching their sugar intake, the amount of glaze used can be cut back or eliminated. I drizzled on about a tenth of the drizzle and it was still very sweet. Maybe I got really sweet figs, I don’t know. But once again thanks for the new way to enjoy figs, I’ll be making these again! also for fig lovers who want to try an easy jam, look up recipe for strawberry fig preserves

  • Sylvie@GitK
    September 26, 2013

    I have a soft spot for shortbread and this the most beautiful way to serve it!

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  • Sue
    August 4, 2014

    Can dried figs be substituted? Maybe re-hydrate them first?

    • Shellywest
      August 10, 2014

      I’ve never tried re-hydrating dried figs before but I’d imagine they would work? I would start with less sugar though since dried fruit tends to be sweeter. Also, instead of dried figs – try submitting with another fresh fruit like strawberries or blueberries or even a stone fruit! I have a feeling that would work even better! Hope that helps.

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  • Paige
    December 22, 2020

    Easily the most outstanding dessert recipe I’ve tried in years! The flavor is beyond amazing and I had to cheat with a fig preserve because the AZ heat turned our fig tree into a bush with no fruit. If you make it, double the recipe because you’ll definitely want more. Thank you, Shelly and happy holidays!

    • Shellywest
      December 29, 2020

      I’m so glad to hear you loved this recipe, Paige! Thank you for making it!

  • susan
    July 4, 2021

    Thank you for this lovely recipe. I have made it three times! I did use an egg yolk instead of the applesauce as I am not strictly a vegetarian. I tweaked it jut a bit by adding a 1/2 tsp cinnamon and a TB more flour. A few drops of vanilla to the glaze, a pinch of salt and a little milk instead of water. My taste runs to less sweet so I also cut back the glaze. Such a simple way to let the fresh figs of the season shine.

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