Our son has a beautiful fig tree. He called me sharing that the figs were ripe, did I want any? Well…of course! I have been wanting to try my hand at making homemade versions of one of Dearest’s favorite cookies. Fig Newtons! My first question then was…
How do you make Fig Newtons?
Well, it turned out to be much easier than I realized. The first thing to do was to prepare the figs for the filling. After searching for different ways to prepare the cookies I decided to go the route by dehydrating the figs.
No Longer Called Fig Newtons
When I did my research I realized just how unobservant I was. Dearest’s favorite cookies are no longer called Fig Newtons but are now just called Newtons! Hmm..wonder when that happened?!
Fig Newton’s Interesting History
Before the 19th century, doctors believed that most illnesses were as a result of poor digestion. Their solution was to prescribe more fruit and biscuits. The fig roll was invented then mass marketed and baked…guess where? Newton, Massachusetts! They’re basically a thick pastry filled with a fig paste. The fig paste tastes best and achieves the best consistency with dried figs.
How to Dehydrate Figs
Set the oven to your lowest setting. For me that was 180 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice your figs in half placing the cut side up. Place in the oven and allow to dry. This could last from four hours to all day. Keep an eye on them – they’ll shrink, darken and become leathery. Remove allow to cool and store in a ziplock bag in the fridge.
To make the Cookies
Making the Fig Newtons is so much easier than you’d realize. There are two basic steps. Prepare the cookie dough and prepare the fig paste. Here’s the Fig Newton recipe:
Homemade Fig Newtons
- Cookie Dough:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon bakings soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 egg yolks
- Fig Filling:
- 12 oz. dried figs
- 1/8 cup sweetened applesauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
Prepare your dough:
Cream the butter in an electric mixer. Meanwhile sift the flour and combine with the salt and the baking soda. Set aside. Add to the cream butter the sugar and the honey. While the mixer is turning at a low speed slowly add the flour. The dough will be slightly sticky. That's o.k. Using either plastic wrap or parchment paper place the dough on the plastic or parchment making a disk. Wrap and refrigerate at least four hours.
Prepare the filling:
In a food processor combine the dried figs, honey, and applesauce. Pulse until completely smooth with a paste-line consistency. Place in a pastry bag or ziplock bag. You'll "pipe" the paste onto the dough.
Remove the cookie dough from the fridge. Prepare the surface to roll out the dough by liberally spreading flour. You may even top the dough before rolling with additional flour. Roll out your dough 1/4 inches thick into a rectangle. Cut the dough into 3 1/2 inch strips. Pipe an inch stream of fig paste along the center of the cookie dough. Take each side and wrap over the fig paste sealing the two sides together. Place the whole fig filled cookie log onto a prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for 12 - 15 minutes until lightly browned.
Remove from the baking sheet and slice your cookies. Store in a tightly closed plastic container.
After the cookies are cooked place them warm in a plastic container. They will retain a more tender cookie and not dry out.
Are Fig Newtons Good For You?
Although cookies are not typically considered healthy. The amount of sugar in this recipe is low. Figs in themselves are high in fiber and minerals. So, as a snack or treat, Fig Newtons are a pretty good option. They’re especially more wonderful when you know all of the ingredients and that they’re lovingly made by you!
Well, the verdict is in! Dearest likes the Fig Newtons. He thinks they should be a little sweeter (he always thinks that!) I believe that the longer the Fig Newtons are stored the sweeter they may become. We’ll see! If you’re given the opportunity to have a lot of fresh figs, consider drying them and consider making your own homemade Fig Newtons!
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