I really like Fig Newtons. I know they are sort of a strange cookie, but the chewiness and the mild sweet flavor are an awesome combination. Figs are food I have never worked with before, so when I saw this recipe, I knew I would be adding figs to my New Food
project. There are so many recipes out there for making your own versions of mass produced cookies. Even though the homemade versions taste fresher and many times better, there is something about the flavor of all the preservatives in the originals that is hard to duplicate!
These Fig Newtons are pretty tasty! I love the orange scent and flavor that lingers in your mouth after each bite. One of my favorite things about eating Fig Newtons (and this may seem odd) are the little fig seeds that burst in your mouth hours after eating the cookies. The homemade version has the same affect! The dough for this recipe was fantastic, very bread-like, but still just crumbly enough to be a cookie.
I will admit that these were not the easiest of cookies to make. I do not like refrigerating dough overnight, but that was definitely not a step I would skip! Also, the dough is very moist and worked best with lots of flour and some kneading. The filling was difficult to get smooth, I may have burnt out the motor of the hand blender... But, just when I was about to give up, I figured out how the cookies were going to be put together, and I was excited! The fig mixture looks a little gross when you are making it, use your imagination.
I doubted the recipe about the width of the dough, I didn't understand how a piece of dough 3 1/4" was going to make the cookie, so the first strip I cut in half and sandwiched the pieces together. But then I understood the recipe and it was meant to roll together. The pictures explain it better.
Is a homemade Fig Newton delicious enough to be worth the effort? Surprisingly, yes! Once I figured out the system, these went quite fast and the freshness and flavor nuisances are wonderful! Do it, make your own Fig Newtons!
Homemade Fig Newtons
Adapted from Serious Eats
Yields - 2 dozen
8 ounces flour
4 ounces unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
3 1/2 ounces sugar
1 ounce honey
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 egg yolks
1 ounce orange juice
Weigh the flour, sift, and set aside. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, honey, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, and orange zest until everything is light and fluffy. Scrap down the bowl and add the egg yolks one at a time. On the lowest speed add in all the flour while mixing, drizzle in the orange juice and mix until everything is well combined. Scrap the dough onto plastic wrap, flatten, wrap, and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.
To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 F and heavily dust your area with flour. This is a very moist dough, it needs a LOT of flour. Roll the dough into a thickness of 1/4” and cut into strips 3 1/4” by 6”. Re-roll the left over dough, you should get about 5 strips.
12 ounces dried black Mission Figs
2 ounces unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 ounces honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
In a food processor, mix everything together until smooth and well blended. My figs did not break down very small in the food processor so I used an hand blender to get the mixture smooth enough. You want the figs very fine and paste like. Place the the figs in a piping bag and pip a strip down each stripe of dough. Roll the dough around the strip of fig so that the seem is on the bottom.
Carefully place each strip on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for about 15-18 minutes. Mine took a bit longer. Immediately cut into bite sized pieces and then place the pieces in large plastic container. Place sheets of parchment between each layer of cookies. Let cool (steam) in the container.