I have this obsession with at least attempting to make everything from scratch. And while it may be a tedious obsession, it is one that I do appreciate about myself.
Since I was a baby, Fig Newtons have been a family staple. Not so much anymore as we have come to the realization that they are cookies / cakes, and we have never been very good at just eating one. That said, I found myself with some dried Italian figs in my pantry, and a major craving for some Fig Newtons – so here you go; this is what you get! I blame it on you… 🙂
Italian Fig Newtons
(adapted from Brave Tart)
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp coarse salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp lime zest
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 cup AP unbleached flour
- 3/4 cup dried Italian figs
- 2 Tbsp strawberry jam
- 1/2 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp lime zest
- pinch cinnamon
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, honey, baking soda, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and zest. Scrape the bowl down with a rubber spatula half way through and continue mixing. With the mixer on low, add the yolks one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
With the mixer on the lowest speed, sift flour and pour in all at once. Drizzle in lime juice. Continue mixing until it just comes together. The dough will be rather soft, which is what you want.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap. Fold the wrap over the dough, and flatten into a disc. Refrigerate overnight.
To make the filling; combine figs, jam, honey, zest and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse until smooth – this may take a minute or two depending on how powerful your food processor is. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and pulse again. Transfer to a pastry bag and set aside until you’re ready to assemble the cookies.
Preheat oven to 325F, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Remember this dough will be soft, so working quickly and minimal handling is the name of the game.
Dust the rolling surface heavily with flour to prevent sticking – dust the surface of the dough as well. With a rolling pin, roll into a 1/4 in thickness. Redusting as needed. If places do stick, use an offset metal spatula to loosen and redust the area with more flour.
Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 3 1/4″ wide, 6″ long strips. Dust away excess flour with a dry pastry brush.
Pipe the filling down the centre of the strips, approximately 1″ wide and 1/4″ thick. Fold one side of the dough up and over the fruit filling, then roll the log over to cover the remaining portion of dough. Dust off remaining flour and transfer to the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes.
As soon as cookies have been removed from the oven, use a sharp knife to trim each bar into approximately 1″ long cookies. I like to cut down the middle, then cut each down the middle again, etc. so my cookies are uniform in size. Store while still warm, to ensure continuously moist cookie. These should keep for about 2 weeks at room temperature.
Yes, these do take longer than most of my recipes – but baking isn’t always a simple and quick process. The best thing about baking is the incredible sense of accomplishment when the fruits of your labour taste as delicious as these.