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!





Shelly is the creator of Vegetarian Ventures. She is also the Creative Director of Driftless Magazine and likes to wear wolf shirts, drink peppermint tea, and dance to Stevie Nicks.

September 17, 2013



  1. Reply

    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 🙂

    • Reply

      pat sportsman

      September 9, 2013

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

  2. Reply


    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.

  3. Reply

    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?

    • Reply


      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. :]

  4. Reply


    September 11, 2013

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

  5. Reply


    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!!

    • Reply


      September 13, 2013

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

  6. Reply

    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!

  7. Reply

    Grace @ earthy feast

    September 18, 2013

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

  8. Reply


    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

  9. Reply

    [email protected]

    September 26, 2013

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

  10. Reply


    August 4, 2014

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

    • Reply


      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.