Fig Newtons were one of my favourite cookies growing up. I loved all cookies – let’s be honest, I wasn’t picky as long as it was a cookie – but there was just something so exciting about opening a package of Fig Newtons and taking that first, figgy bite.
But, surprise surprise, even though they’re filled with figs, they’re pretty darn unhealthy. The older I get, the more conscious I am of what’s in the food I eat, and the more I check out the nutritional information. So when I had a hankering for some Fig Newtons last week, I checked out the package and was shocked to see just how much sugar were in them!
Naturally I decided to try making my own. At least that way I’d be able to pronounce all the ingredients.
Side note: Did you know that Fig Newtons have recently dropped the “Fig”, calling themselves only “Newtons” now? I don’t know what to say about that. I had the same reaction finding that out as I did when Pluto was suddenly not a planet anymore. My childhood was a lie!
These homemade fig newtons are actually so delicious, I might even go as far to say I like them more than the original. Plus, as an added bonus, the filling is sweetened with only applesauce, honey, and dates, so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating them. I won’t say these are healthy, since the dough has a bit of sugar and butter, but they’re healthier.
I’ll admit, they’re a bit time consuming and a bit difficult to mould into the right shape, so I probably won’t make these all the time. But on those rare occasions I’m craving a fig newton, I’ll definitely be referring back to these.
The filling is sweet and figgy, it’s taste and texture resembling a thick fig jam. The dough is incredibly soft, flakey, melt-in-your-mouth perfection.
First start out by making the dough, as it needs to chill for a few hours to be firm enough to handle. It’s a very soft can get quite sticky when warm, so it’s best to let it refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
When the dough is chilling, make the filling (that rhyme was unintentional but it is awesome). All you need to do is combine the ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for about an hour until the figs have dissolved and the mixture resembles a thick jam. Let the mixture cool, then pulse in a food processor until smooth for the right consistency. Refrigerate the filling until the dough is ready.
Roll the dough between two sheets of wax paper, which will help keep the dough from sticking to your rolling pin. Roll into a 16×12″ rectangle, then place back in the fridge for 10 minutes to keep the dough cool. Once the dough is cool again, remove from the fridge, discard the top layer of wax paper, and slice the rectangle into four strips. Be sure to cut the bottom layer of wax paper as well! You should have four strips of dough, 4×12″, with the wax paper underneath each stip.
Spread the filling evenly down the centre of each strip, flattening slightly. Then simply fold the sides over each other, using the wax paper to avoid having to actually tough the dough with your fingers. Peel off the wax paper and pinch the crease together, then transfer each strip/log to a baking sheet and bake. I found it was easier to slice them once they had baked and cooled.
It may sound like a daunting process, but it’s really not so bad and the resulting cookies are definitely worth it.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
|Homemade Fig Newtons|| |
- 1 heaping cup dried figs
- ½ cup medjool dates
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- To make the dough: In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add flour mixture to butter mixture until well combined, scraping down sides of the bowl if necessary. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours until quite firm.
- Meanwhile, make filling: in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine figs, dates, applesauce, water, and honey. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour until water has mostly been absorbed. Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth, pasty mixture. The mixture should have the consistency of a thick, sticky jam. Refrigerate mixture until dough is ready.
- Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- Sandwich dough between two sheets of well-floured wax paper and use a rolling pin to roll dough into a very thin rectangle about 16"x12". The wax paper should keep the dough from sticking, but if it does, sprinkle with more flour. Once rectangle is made, place dough back in the fridge for 5-10 minutes until it firms up again.
- Remove dough from fridge and discard the top layer of wax paper. Cut rectangle into four strips (4"x12"), slicing the bottom layer of wax paper as you go. The idea is to have four separate strips of dough on top of wax paper. Take a quarter of the fig mix and spread it down the centre of a strip of dough. Press down mixture to flatten, then gently fold the sides of dough over the mixture, peeling off wax paper as you go. Repeat with remaining strips until they have all been filled and folded.
- Carefully transfer each log to the prepared baking sheet, discarding wax paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes until puffed and golden. Let cool on baking sheet completely before slicing each log into six 2-inch pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.