Homemade Fig Newtons are just like the store bought versions but without all the preservatives!
Food can be such a powerful thing. It brings us pleasure, comfort, guilt and even sadness. It can energize our bodies or make us feel ill.
It can attach itself to memories, taking us back to our childhood or a happy day with friends. I’ll always remember the roasted gazpacho from my wedding dinner.
I remember being in college, sitting around with friends eating Cap’n Crunch Berries while watching TV (I confess I was not much of a cook in college). As a teenager, one of my favorite meals was tomato soup with grilled cheese.
Fancy stuff! I put ketchup on almost everything. My grandma made great pistachio cake and my mother was known for excellent blintz souffle and sweet pecan kugel.
As a child I definitely had a sweet tooth. These days if I really want to transport into the past I’ll go for graham crackers, oatmeal cream pies or Fig Newtons. Not all at once.
What are some of your food memories? Share in the comment section.
For the dough:
- 3 ounces all-purpose flour
- 2 ounces whole wheat flour
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- just a pinch of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 ounces sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
For the filling:
- 6 ounces dried black Mission figs
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons orange juice
- pinch of cinnamon
- Whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and zest.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
- Add the honey, vanilla and orange juice.
- Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl so that everything is incorporated.
- Transfer the dough to plastic wrap. Seal well and flatten into a round disk. Allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably 4 (I often do this step the night before and allow the dough to chill overnight).
- Make the filling while the dough chills. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides periodically. Make sure not to leave any clumps.
- Transfer the dough to a pastry bag. I found it easiest to work without a tip, but the original recipe recommends a plain basket weave tip. If you don't have a pastry bag you can use a disposable plastic baggie and snip away one corner.
- Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 325 and prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough out onto a floured surface. Also sprinkle some flour on top, the dough will become sticky very quickly as the butter melts. It's ideal to work quickly, but you can always chill the dough again if it becomes difficult to work with. You want to roll the dough very thin (the original recipe calls for 1/4 inch, but I didn't measure.) Keep in mind that it will be folded over onto the filling, so the cookies can become too thick very easily.
- Use a pizza cutter to create 3 1/4 inch wide strips. Remove any excess flour with a pastry brush and pipe the filling along the center, leaving room of the sides. If needed, you can use a small offset spatula to even out the filling. Fold both sides over to create a log. Turn the cookie over onto the parchment-lined tray.
- Allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the logs have browned slightly and firmed up a bit.
- Remove from the oven and slice into 1 inch cookies. Transfer to an airtight container while hot to allow them to steam slightly.
- Enjoy at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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