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Homemade Fig Newtons

Who buys store-bought cookies anymore? That's so whack. And overrated. Nowadays, it's all about recreating store bought items at home. Oreos, oatmeal creme pies, devil dogs, you name it. People are finally saying no to preservatives and saying yes to home-made.

My parents have said yes to home-made since before I even knew the difference between the two. But occasionally, they've given in and said no(usually when there's a sale) and when they have, they have almost always bought us one of two things: Archway oatmeal cookies or Fig Newtons. Those are literally the staples of my childhood. Fig Newtons have made more appearances in my household than the oatmeal cookies though. My dad loves em, probably because of the figs. You know how Algerians feel about their figs.

But clearly, Algerians aren't the only ones who love Fig Newtons, because someone(who I'm assuming isn't Algerian) went ahead and decided to make a homemade version. And I've got two words for that someone. THANK. YOU.

I know they don't look like your typical fig newtons, because they're in bar form, and not like those weird shapes the original ones come in, but they are no less amazing. Their filling is on point and their crust is so good, you could eat it by itself.

But as you can see from my pictures, there isn't really isn't any part of the crust that isn't smothered by filling, so, I technically couldn't eat it by itself if I tried. I think the ratio of filling to crust definitely came out to be a bit much, not to mention, the filling itself was pretty runny. At first I thought it was because I didn't give them enough time to cool, (which I didn't because I was so eager to eat them), but now I'm thinking it might be because I used too much apple juice when I cooked the figs. Either way, I'll be slightly decreasing the amount of apple juice the next time I make these AND letting them cool for longer. Cause you know those little cracks you see on top of the bars? Yeah, those are the result of not letting them cool for at least two hours like the recipe said to.

When the bars are given the appropriate amount of time to cool, their crust will become soft like the one in Fig Newtons, and you'll be able to cut through it without destroying the bars. I learned this little fact this morning when I had these bars for breakfast.

But the most important adjustment that I have to make is buying an actual square pan. I've been using this kind of square pan with rounded edges for all my recipes that call for a square pan and it's just not cutting it. I'm not even sure it's actually 8 inches. I think I measured it once and it came out to be 7 and a 1/2, and believe me, that half inch matters. That half inch could keep the filling from being so thick by allowing it to distribute more. So yeah, I definitely need to do something about that.

#CulinaryCoutureProblems aside, you have got to make these cookies. Don't let my cracked-crust, filling-seeping pictures discourage you. Appearance only counts for 50% anyway, and it's the taste that really matters. And from years of experience in Fig Newton devouring, I can tell you right now that these homemade replicas taste even better than the originals. You can quote me on that.

Homemade Fig Newtons

Yield: One 8x8 inch pan
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For the filling:
8 oz dried Turkish or Calimyrna figs, stemmed and quartered
2 cups apple juice
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice

For the crust:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
pinch of vanilla powder


Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the bars out. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Add the dried figs, apple juice and salt to a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the figs break down and the mixture is soft and syrupy, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then add to the bowl of your food processor along with the lemon juice. Pulse until the mixture has a jamlike consistency.

Whisk both flours, the baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, beating until completely incorporated. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, beating just until combined.

Measure out 3/4 cup of the dough and set aside. Transfer the remaining dough to the prepared pan and press into an even layer in the bottom. (The dough is pretty sticky so you'll probably want to use a piece of parchment paper to press it down into the pan instead of your hands)

Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, roll the dough you set aside into an 8-inch square (it's easier if you do it between greased sheets of parchment). Place the square in the freezer until firm.

When the crust has finished baking, spread the fig "jam" evenly over it. Place the frozen square of dough on top. Bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until the top crust is golden brown.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack, and let the bars cool completely, at least 2 hours. Use the foil to lift the bars out and cut them into squares for serving.

Adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures

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  1. Levitation is for SissiesMarch 9, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    Fig Newtons aren't cookies! They're fruit and cake!

  2. These look incredible -- especially that crust.


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