Last Updated on 17th December 2021 by Pauline
Fig Newtons are a delightful treat that is great for an anytime snack. The rich, fruity flavour of figs cushioned in a soft, doughy outer crust makes them a delightful combination of cake and cookie. They are the kind of snack that you don’t feel too guilty about eating as well, as they are packed with fruity goodness.
Did you know that you can take the deliciousness of Fig Newtons and make them at home in your own kitchen? I am going to show you how to make Fig Newtons all on your own using basic ingredients. We are going to make them from scratch so that you can save money and not have to buy them in the store. You can also control the ingredients and what is going into the cookies, making them as healthy as you want or modifying the recipe to accommodate gluten free or vegan diets. You can’t do that with the store bought cookies.
How to Make Your Own Fig Newtons
There are lots of ingredients to go into these cookies, and it may seem like an overwhelming number of things, but trust me when I say that this is a manageable kitchen project. You can do this, and it’s simply a matter of combining the ingredients and making pastry dough and then working with that.
How to Make Your Own Fig Newtons
- 2 ¼ cups of flour
- ¼ tsp of kosher salt
- 2 tbsp of honey
- 5 ounces of unsalted butter (1 ¼ sticks)
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- ½ cup of brown sugar
- 1 tsp of orange zest
- ¼ tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ounce of orange juice
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 ½ cups of dried figs (with trimmed stems)
- 2 tbsp of orange juice
- 1 ⅓ cups of applesauce
- We start on how to make homemade Fig Newtons by combining the brown sugar, butter, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, orange zest, and honey in a bowl. You can mix this using a hand mixer with a paddle attachment. Start on a low speed to moisten the mixture and move up to a medium speed and cream the mixture until it is fluffy. This should take about five minutes of mixing.
- Add in your egg yolks and orange juice and beat the mixture until smooth. Lower your mixer’s speed and then add in flour, mixing completely.
- Begin kneading the dough to create a smooth ball and then flatten the ball out into a disc. Wrap the entire ball of dough in plastic and place into the refrigerator. It will need to cool for about an hour, until it becomes somewhat firm but not hard. You can refrigerate it for a week, if you like, but you will need to allow the dough to soften before you use it, setting it out at room temperature.
- The next step is to prepare the filling. How to make Fig Newtons’ filling? Start by cutting your figs in half and then put that into a food processor or blender with the applesauce and orange juice. Pulse until a thick paste is formed. Use a spatula to scrape the blade and the bowl and then let the mixture process for another minute in the blender or food processor. You are trying to get rid of all the chunks.
- Place that into a piping bag and set to the side. It can be stored for up to 24 hours. You can refrigerate these preserves, if necessary, for as long as three weeks. Just be sure to allow them to warm up before using them by setting the preserves out at room temperature.
- To put the cookies together, preheat the oven to 370 degrees Fahrenheit and knead your dough. Keep kneading until the dough becomes pliable and smooth, and then dust the dough with flour and use a rolling pin to make an 8-inch square. Dust the two sides with flour and roll out the dough into a 15-inch square, then remove the dough from where it is resting and shake off the extra flour. Cut the dough into 3 ¼ inch strips.
- Hold your piping bag at a 90° angle hovering just above the dough. Holding it right there helps the preserves to flatten down as they come out of the bag. Put about an inch of preserves on the middle of each piece of dough. Then fold the dough over like a flap.
- Brush off the excess flour from the dough and roll the bars over until the seam is facing down. Gravity will help to keep them closed. Using your fingers, flatten the bars down and then move them to a sheet pan that has been lined with parchment.
- Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 18 minutes. When the Fig Newton bars are finished cooking, they should be firm, puffed and only light brown. Use a bench scraper to cut the bars into 1-inch pieces so they will be the same size as the official Fig Newtons.
How to Store Fig Newtons
The Cookies can be stored in an airtight container, with a layer of paper towel between them. This helps them keep their moisture and makes the crust flaky and cake-y. They schedule stored for about six hours before you serve them to allow them to mature. If you eat the cookies before that time, they will be kind of dry. The way I’m suggesting you store them helps them to reabsorb moisture.
How long can you store your Fig Newtons? They can be kept in the fridge with this storage method for up to four weeks. If you keep them at room temperature, they can be stored for up to a week, still being kept in an airtight container.
How to Make Fig Newtons from Fresh Figs
In the recipe above for homemade Fig Newtons, I suggest using dried figs. Those are great for this recipe, especially if they are still sticky. They help to provide a fruity, tasty filling for your cookies. You can use fresh figs if you like, though.
How to make Fig Newtons with fresh figs? You need to cook them up, and they work well in the cookies when first made into a jam. You can do that by cutting up the figs, and then mixing them with lemon zest, brown sugar, and some vanilla. Simmer them for about 40 minutes, stirring every so often. Then, you have a nice, thick jam you can use, and you will put that into our recipe just like we used the figs up above in our recipe.
How to Make Gluten Free Fig Newtons
You can also make this Fig Newtons without any gluten for those who are trying to avoid that component. How to make gf Fig Newtons? Instead of white flour or even wheat flour, you can use rice flour. That’s the only substitution you need to make for this to work, and they taste so good afterwards.