Fig Newtons

The recipe appears to be daunting, but these cookies are really very easy and fun to make.

Fig Newtons

Fig Newtons were invented by Charles M. Roser, a cookie maker from Ohio. He sold the recipe to Kennedy Biscuit Company (now Nabisco) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and they began producing the filled fig cookie in 1891.

The cookies were named after Newton, a city just outside of Boston.

You can opt to make either Dried Fig Filling or Fresh Fig Jam Filling (recipe for the jam is below the recipe).

If you don't want to use fig filling, you can use any other type of thick fruit paste, such as strawberry, raspberry, etc. They are delicious also!

Ingredients

Cookie Dough

  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Dried Fig Filling

  • 6 ounces dried figs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Instructions

Cookie Dough

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric hand mixer, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and orange zest until well combined.
  3. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until a soft cookie dough forms. With your hands, shape the dough into a ball. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
  4. While the dough is chilling, make either the Dried Fig Filling or the Fresh Fig Jam Filling.

Dried Fig Filling

  1. In a small saucepan, place the dried figs, water, orange juice and cinnamon. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, until the figs begin to plump.
  2. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of your food processor. Add the honey and blend until a thick paste forms. Set the filling aside.

Assembly

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line a large baking tray with a Silpat mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. On a floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a 10 inch x 14 inch rectangle. Use a knife or pizza cutter to make the outer edges even.
  4. Cut the dough lengthwise into three strips, roughly 3 1/2 inches x 14 inches.
  5. Divide the fig filling paste between each strip of dough, forming it into a line down the center of each strip. Press the filling to roughly 1 inch wide.
  6. Carefully fold each edge of dough over top of the fig paste, making a log. Press the top slightly to seal the dough.
  7. Place the logs, seam side down, onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake the cookies for 17 to 20 minutes, until the logs feel dry and slightly firm when touched.
  9. Remove the cookies from oven and cut each log into 8 to 9 cookies while they are still warm.
  10. While still warm, place the cut cookies into an airtight container. (This will soften the cookies as they cool.)
  11. Store the cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to 1 week.

*Fresh Fig Jam Filling

  • 1 pound fresh figs, stems removed and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Heat the Fresh Fig Jam Filling ingredients together in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the figs are soft (30 minutes).
  2. Transfer the softened fig mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Transfer the puree back to the saucepan and heat over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly while bubbling, until very thick. The finished "jam" should be so thick that it holds soft peaks.

This yields roughly 1 1/3 cups of filling, which is more than you will need for this recipe, so you will have fig jam for your toast or scones too.