Over the last few weeks, I’ve had an odd desire to make homemade fig newtons. I’m not really sure where this came from, especially as they were never one of my favorite cookies. I remember purchasing fig newtons while in college, I was on a kick with them for a little bit, but other than that, they are not really something I usually eat.
However I couldn’t get them out of mind, so fig newtons it was. And let me tell you, these taste so close to the ones I always bought from the store. But of course I like them even better since they are homemade and I know every single ingredient that went in them. The cookie base is sweet, but not too sweet, and has that soft texture just like the ones you can buy. It is balanced out nicely by the fig filling, which creates this wonderfully moist treat.
I will say that the dough is slightly difficult to work with, as it’s pretty sticky. But these are definitely worth the extra time and patience – one more typically store-bought treat that I am so happy to have recreated at home.
- 8 ounces dried Turkish or Calimyrna figs, stemmed and quartered
- 2 cups apple juice
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup white whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, cutting a big enough piece so that you have an overhang on two sides to lift the bars out. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- To make the filling- in a small saucepan, add the figs, apple juice, salt and granulated sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft and syrupy. Let the mixture cool for about 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Add in the lemon juice and pulse until the mixture has a jam-like consistency.
- To make the crust - in a small bowl whisk together both types of flour, the baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and brown sugar. Cream on medium high speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated.
- Set aside ¾ cup of the dough. Add the rest of the dough to the prepared baking pan and use your fingers to press evenly into a layer on the bottom. The dough will be fairly sticky. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, roll out the reserved ¾ cup of dough into an 8-inch square between two pieces of greased parchment paper. *Rolling it out between the parchment helps as the dough is sticky. Transfer the square to the freezer for about 20 to 30 minutes, until firm.
- When the crust is done baking, top with the fig jam and use a spatula to spread into an even layer. Top with the frozen square of dough (remove the parchment first!). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 2 hours (I let mine cool overnight). Use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares.