What's Baking: Homemade Fig Newtons

While I was at the store last week picking up some dried fruit for my granola, I spied a bag of dried black Mission figs and knew exactly what I was going to do with them -- bake up a batch of homemade fig newtons! Packaged fig newtons are my go-to roadtrip "treat," even though some of the ingredients give me the skeevies. A quick search on the Internet led to the discovery of several recipes for homemade newtons; I went with the recipe that sounded the tastiest. Long story short, though mine look clearly homemade, these fig newtons taste like the real deal. Now, if I could only figure out whether these bars should be classified as "cookie" or "cake." : )

Homemade Fig Newtons (printer-friendly version)
makes 15-20 cookies ("cakes"!)
Note: Prep requires that you chill the dough overnight

For the dough:
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup raw (unrefined and unbleached) sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed orange juice

For the fig filling:
3/4 cup chopped dried black Mission figs
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Day One
1. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and orange zest until light and fluffy.
3. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time.
4. Stir in the honey and vanilla extract.
5. Pour in the sifted flour mixture all at once. Spoon in the orange juice. Stir until just combined.
6. Spread a large piece of plastic wrap on the countertop. Place the dough (which will be soft and sticky) onto the center of the wrap. Cover it completely and pat into a disk shape.
7. Place in the fridge to chill overnight.
8. To make the filling, add the figs, applesauce, honey, orange zest, and cinnamon to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture forms a smooth paste, using a spatula to scrape down the sides as necessary. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge overnight. [Alternately, you can make the filling on day two and use immediately.]

Day Two
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Cover your work surface with flour.
3. Roll out the dough to a 1/4" thickness. Use a pastry or pizza cutter to cut the dough into 3 1/4"-wide by 6"-long strips.
4. Spoon the fig spread mixture (spreading it with a spatula to about 1" wide and a 1/4" thickness) down the center of each dough strip. If you find this is too difficult, alternately you can use a pastry bag to pipe the spread down the center of the dough, using a plain basket weave tip.)
5. Fold one side of the dough strip over top the fig spread. Then, flip/roll the dough over so that the seam is on the bottom. (If this direction makes no sense, check out the photos here.) Use a pastry brush to dust off any excess flour.
6. Place the fig bar roll on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the bars have slightly puffed up, are golden brown, and are just firm to the touch. If the dough appears moist or is sticky when touched, bake a few minutes more.
8. Once baked, remove from the oven and immediately cut into 1-2"-long rectangles.
9. While still warm, pack the bars in an airtight container, placing a sheet of parchment paper between layers.
10. Cookies should remain fresh for up to two weeks at room temperature.

(adapted from these recipes)


  1. Susan, you just keep me coming back to your blog. Love this post, as well. Making fig newtons has been on my to do list. However, I want to use fresh figs. We can grow them here in AZ. In fact, I have some in the freezer. janeibbetson.authorsxpress.com

  2. Jane, I think using fresh figs would be great!


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