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How to Make Fig Newtons from Scratch

It’s National Fig Week! To celebrate, how about baking up a batch of one of the most famous fig treats of all: fig newtons! These homemade versions are infinitely tastier than the store-bought kind, and not actually that hard to make. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the directions; shaping these cookies is fairly intuitive once you read the instructions though once. Basically, you’ll make a dough, make a filling, and wrap the dough around the filling into a fig newton shape! Much more detailed instructions follow:

For the Dough

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 stick (or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs honey, or corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 ounce orange juice

For the Filling

  • 1/2 cup dried figs, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 tbs honey or corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Making the Dough
Your dough will need to chill for at least 4 hours before you begin, so make sure to do it ahead of time!

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add honey (or corn syrup), baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, and orange zest  and continue mixing until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add in your sifted flour all at once and mix it in slowly. Drizzle in the orange juice and continue mixing until just combined. The dough should be very soft and wet.
  2. Prepare a large sheet of plastic wrap and use a rubber spatula to transfer the dough from the bowl to the center of the plastic. Fold the plastic over the dough and flatten into a disc. Wrap with remaining plastic and refrigerate for four hours or overnight

Preparing the Filling

  1. Combine the figs, applesauce, honey (or corn syrup), and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Scrape the bowl down and pulse again to ensure no chunks remain. Transfer the fig paste to a bowl and set aside.
Baking and Shaping the Cookies
If you don’t care about the shape of your fig newtons, you can play around with other looks and appearances too! Just keep your cookie dough about 1/4th an inch thick and it should still bake up the same way.
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. On a well-floured surface, roll out your chilled dough to about 1/4th an inch thickness. Make sure the dough is floured enough not to stick to any surfaces. Cut your dough into several 3 1/2 inch wide strips. It’s easier to work with strips no longer than 6 inches long, so you might want to cut them down a size.
  3. Spoon your filling down the center of each strip and spread it so that it’s about 1 inch across and 1/4th an inch thick. Fold the dough edges over the middle line of filling. The edges should overlap a little bit. Flip the cookie over so that the seam side is down. Transfer your newtons to a prepared cookie sheet and bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until cookies are puffed and browned all around. If they are still moist to the touch, continue baking for a few minutes.
  4. Once your cookies are done, cut each of your bars into 1 inch pieces. Layer them into a plastic ziplock bag or seal-able Tupperware container. If you’re stacking cookies, place a sheet of parchment paper in between each layer. Stored at room temperature, they should stay moist and tasty for about 2 weeks!

Photo Credits: Carly’s Comfort Zone

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