{Throwback Thursday} Fig Newton Recipe

fig newtons

Why, yes, that IS my Chitty Chitty Bang Bang lunch box in the background! This beat-up metal box brings back memories of school lunches that my mom packed for us daily – which were always pretty healthy, and always included a treat. One of my favorites was Fig Newtons. I didn’t even know what a fig WAS growing up, but I loved these cookies {technically “bars”}. I hadn’t had one for years, but I ran across a recipe in a magazine and filed it away in my “To Try” folder.


A few weeks ago, Husband and I were organizing our storage room, and look what I found! It reminded me of the recipe I’d squirreled away.

One reason I wanted to try making these myself is because the packaged version contains 22 ingredients – and received an “F” for a health score at FoodFacts.com. I realize that most “indulgences” won’t receive an “A” for health, but I was hoping I could get it up to at least a “C”!

Flavor-wise, the recipe I’d found in Food & Wine Magazine had a more “grown up” filling: the figs are softened in a reduction of wine, lemon zest and anise seeds. Yum! {However, it called for 2 Tbs of sugar in the filling. Figs are so sweet naturally, and the red wine has enough sugar, that I decided it didn’t need any more.}

My first attempt was a failure. While I loved the filling, I had a heck of a time working with the dough, and decided I wanted to find a more “user-friendly” and healthier version of that too.  A Google search turned up a surprising number of recipes – apparently I’m not alone in my love of these soft little goodies.  I finally settled on a combination of several recipes.

I had Husband test version #2. Once he got over the disappointment that the filling wasn’t chocolate {I hadn’t told him what he was testing, he went by a quick look} he gave it two thumbs up.

I felt that while it was good, the dough wasn’t that soft, cake-like texture that I remembered. It was too dry. So back to the drawing board I went.

Thankfully, I stumbled upon a recipe by BraveTart and tweaked by The Faux Martha that is perfect. So thanks to Food & Wine Magazine and these two blogs, I can now recreate that nostalgic flavor without all the added ingredients that I can’t pronounce.

The dough can still be tricky to work with. Just remember to be generous with flour when you are rolling out the dough.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fig Newtons
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1½ cups chopped, stemmed figs {about 10 ounces}
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • ¾ teaspoon orange zest
  • ¾ teaspoon anise seed
  • 1 cup water
  1. Sift the flours and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and next 7 ingredients {through zest} together in stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add the yolks one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each.
  3. With the mixer on low, add in the sifted flour. Drizzle in the orange juice. Continue mixing just until everything comes together.
  4. Transfer dough to a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten into a disc and refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight.
  1. In a saucepan, combine the figs, wine, sugar, lemon zest, anise seeds and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the figs are softened and the liquid is syrupy and reduced to ½ cup.
  2. Let the figs cool in their syrup, then puree in a food processor until smooth. Cool completely.
  3. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tip. {Alternatively, you can place the filling in a plastic sandwich bag, squeezing out all the air. Simply cut off one of the bottom corners to squeeze out the filling.
  1. Preheat the oven to 325º and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Dust the rolling surface with plenty of flour to prevent sticking. Roll out the dough, flouring the dough and your surface as necessary, to about 9x12" {it should be about ¼" thick}. Slice the dough in half lengthwise {so that you have two 4½" x 12" strips.
  3. Pipe the filing down the center of each dough strip. It will be approximately 1" wide and ¼" high. You can gently flatten the strip of fig with your hands if you need to.
  4. Fold one side of the dough up and over the fig filling, then fold the other side up and over so that the sides overlap. Carefully transfer strips to prepared cookie sheet, seam side down. Dust off excess flour with a pastry brush. Bake until puffed and slightly browned, about 16 minutes. If they feel moist, continue baking.
  5. Immediately cut bars into 1" cookies. While still warm transfer to a plastic container or large plastic bag. Seal the container or bag, as this will trap in the heat and moisture, allowing the cookies to keep the soft, cake-like texture of traditional Fig Newtons.


Fig Newtons

I cut these bars BEFORE baking them – they’re best cut afterward, per the recipe.



, , ,

4 Responses to {Throwback Thursday} Fig Newton Recipe

    Error thrown

    Call to undefined function ereg()