I've never liked Fig Newtons. As I child I routinely turned my nose up at store-bought sweets preferring my mother's homemade chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies. And Fig Newtons with their strange gooey filling were especially unappealing. This was, of course, rather ridiculous. I didn't even know what a fig was-I just knew I didn't want one, and certainly not for dessert.
Years later, when I actually tried my first fig, I quickly became obsessed, eating fresh and dried versions whenever possible. Still, I avoided Fig Newtons. Packaged cookies were, at this point, even less appealing than during childhood, and besides, figs are so good on their own, the cookies just didn't seem necessary. Then, during the first couple weeks of my pastry program at the French Culinary Institute, we made Fig Newtons. This might seem like an odd choice and it was a bit of a stretch from the classic French recipes we usually learned in class. But we occasionally made more American-style treats and, since these Fig Newtons are made with pastry dough that's similar to pâte sucrée, they fit rather nicely into our section on tarts.
The Fig Newton dough is a cinch to make, especially if you have a stand mixer, and the filling is equally easy-just chop some dried figs and cook them with sugar, water, and lemon juice. The only slightly tricky part is rolling out the dough, arranging the figgy filling, and rolling it all up into a neat log. But, if you work carefully and use a gentle hand, attractive cookies are in your future. And, even if you're a bit sloppy, a slightly rustic, homemade look befits these Fig Newtons, distinguishing them from their commercial cousins. I've added the recipe (see below)to the member database but apologize for the slightly wonky measurements-the original recipe calls for weighing the ingredients and uses metric, and I wanted this converted version to be as exact as possible.
Obviously Fig Newtons make a great snack or treat, but I admit to also eating them first thing in the morning. In school I ate leftover pastries for breakfast all the time. I've mostly kicked the habit but make an exception for Fig Newtons because figs, like peanut butter, seem intrinsically healthy to me.
Submitted by LaurenSalkeld | Updated: March 24, 2010
The measurements for this recipe are a little unusual because I converted it from metric. It is based on a recipe I made while studying pastry arts at the French Culinary Institute.
Servings: 20 to 24 Cookies
- 2 sticks plus 7 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 16 ounces dried figs, woody stems removed (about 40 figs)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 200 ml (about 7 ounces) water
- Juice of 1 lemon
For Egg Wash:
- 1 egg whisked with splash of water and 1/8 teaspoon salt
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or large bowl with hand mixer) beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, making sure to scrape down sides of bowl. Slowly add egg and egg yolk and mix until completely emulsified, making sure to scrape down sides of bowl. Add salt and flour and mix just to combine, being careful not to over-mix-you may want to finish mixing by hand.
Wrap dough in two layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour and up to 24 hours.
Coarsely chop figs (there should be about 2 1/2 cups).
In medium saucepan, combine figs, sugar, water, and lemon juice. Place over low heat and cook until figs are tender and liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Assemble and Bake Cookies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Divide dough in half and roll each half into a roughly 6- by 24-inch rectangle. Place dough rectangles on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets. Brush edges with egg wash. Spread half of filling along center of each rectangle then fold edges up to form a log and press to seal. Roll each log over so that seam is on the bottom. Brush each log with egg wash then refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.
Bake logs until nicely browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and while still warm, slice logs into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
By Lauren Salkeld
MORE FROM EPICURIOUS.COM