I don’t understand why some people hate Fig Newtons. I guess when compared to a gooey chocolate chip cookie or a buttery piece of shortbread, the soft, fig-filled bars seem less enticing, but when it comes to eating cookie for breakfast, I’m on team Fig Newton 100 percent.
Of course, there’s no way to really know what goes into those little packages of cookies you can get from a vending machine, so why not make your own? DIY Newtons also opens up the possibility for other fruit-filled cookies. Personally, I’d go for raspberry (did anyone else love packaged raspberry Fig Newtons as much as I did? I don’t think they’re sold anywhere now and this deeply saddens me).
To start your batch of Newtons, whisk together 1¾ cups all purpose flour, ¼ cup whole wheat flour, 2 tablespoons wheat germ, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream together ¼ cup brown sugar and 1 stick of butter with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in 2 eggs one at a time and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
Stir the flour mixture into the sugar mixture until combined. Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
While the dough chills, chop two cups of dried figs and drop them in a medium saucepan along with ¼ cup granulated sugar and ½ cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the mixture reaches a jammy consistency.
If you want to make other fruit newtons, drip 2 cups of chopped berries or stone fruit (whichever strike your fancy) the same amount of sugar, a scant ¼ cup water, and 2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture has thickened.
After the dough has chilled, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface into a 16-inch square. Cut the square into 4 4x16-inch strips. Transfer the strips to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Fill a zip-top bag with the fruit filling and snip off the end. Pipe the filling into the center of each strip in a line. Fold the outer edges the dough over the filling, then flip the log over so that the seam is on the bottom. If the logs seem very round, flatten them a bit.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the dough is firm to the touch.
Let the cookie cool for a minute or two, then immediately slice into 1-inch pieces. Store cookies in an airtight container to stay fresh.