Better than Store-Bought Fig Newtons

Temperature: 28-31°C

Distance run/type: Stairway to Hell-aven

Clothes: Adidas shorts, Lululemon tank, Asics 2150s.

Feeling: Terrified when I listened to the workout explanation. On my way to the run, I felt short of breath and tired enough to fall asleep walking (is that possible?). But it was surprisingly okay. It was nice to switch things up, it keeps things interesting. Tomorrow’s hills workout should be interesting though…

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If I told you that I ran up and down stairs repeatedly in this weather, would you congratulate or pity me? When I heard that we were going to be varying different ways to run up a flight of stairs in place of our weekly tempo run, a million excuses flooded my mind on why I wasn’t going to join the group in tonight’s workout. Then that darned Type A personality of mine shone through and I knew if I missed the workout, I would regret it and feel like a flakey cheat. And I knew I couldn’t have anything to do with that.

I’d love to describe the workout in detail, but frankly, I don’t remember it all. I believe we did 13 different variations, with two “recovery” stair climbs admist several challenging stair climbs that included hopping up each stair on one leg, and skipping one or two stairs at a time (actually, I liked that one the best because it got me to the top the fastest!). I learned to appreciate the mini breaks as we walked down the stairs and I tried to catch my breath. I also learned that any workout is possible as long as you have a will, and are among dozens of other runners who are pushing through the same work out. Go team effort!

Okay, so I kind of liked it in the end. Does that make me weird?

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As I mentioned over the weekend, I am so excited to share this recipe with you. I have to say that this is one of my most successful baking experiments in a long while. I pulled out all the stops on these cookies, and as my first taste tester remarked, “I like these better than the store-bought fig newtons!”

I based my recipe heavily off of this one, although I unveganized them and they are obviously not gluten-free. You could easily follow the original recipe if you have these food allergies, but since I do not and I wanted to make use of whatever I already had in my kitchen, I made several substitutions. These are really magical and are worth all of the work! Make these on a day that you have a bit of extra time and be prepared to dazzle your friends and family with them when you share them.

These are a little time consuming to make as the dough needs a bit of coaxing once they get out of the fridge. But let me reassure you, as far as baking goes, I think these are pretty simple and 100% worth it. Need more proof? Just check out the ingredient list comparison.

Store-Bought Fig Newtons Ingredient List

ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID), FIGS PRESERVED WITH SULFUR DIOXIDE, CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, SOYBEAN OIL, WHEY (FROM MILK), PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED OIL, SALT, BAKING SODA, CALCIUM LACTATE, MALIC ACID, SOY LECITHIN (EMULSIFIER), POTASSIUM SORBATE ADDED TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR. (source)

Alison’s Better than Store-Bought Fig Newtons

WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, DRIED FIGS, HONEY, LEMON JUICE, MOLASSES, COCONUT OIL, VANILLA EXTRACT, AND SEA SALT.

Ready to read on?

It starts with combining whole wheat flour and salt with honey, molasses, coconut oil, and vanilla extract to form a gorgeous dough which must be refrigerated for one hour before you can work with it.

Then you squeeze the heck out of 1.5 lemons or so, until you’ve got 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice and combine with 1 cup of dried figs and vanilla for a delicious paste that you may be tempted to just keep in your fridge to use as jam. But this figgy paste had a brighter future, and you would not want to stifle its future. It would just be wrong.

Then you roll out 1/4 of dough into a rectangle, fill the right side with paste, fold over the left side and form your fig newton bar.

Note that your rolling, filling, and folding skills will improve by the time you work on your fourth bar.

See the progress from left to right – the right being the last I’ve-learned-how-to-do-this-properly fig newton bar.

Bake for 10-15 minutes in a 350ºC oven and take in the exquisite scents that will inevitably waft from your kitchen into any adjacent rooms.

After letting them cool, cut into cookies and enjoy immediately.

Better than Store-Bought Fig Newtons

 

For the dough:

  • 2.5 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c honey (or other sweetener like agave nector)
  • 1/4 c molasses
  • 1/4 coconut oil (or other favourite baking oil)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 1 c dried figs (I used black Mission figs)
  • 1/2 c lemon juice (yes, I freshly squeezed mine!)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  1. Combine figs in a food processor and blend until they are mostly broken down. Add lemon juice and vanilla and blend until a paste with a jam-like consistency forms.
  2. In a large bowl, combine whole wheat flour and salt; in a small bowl, combine honey, molasses, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
  3. When the wet ingredients are well incorporated, add to the dry ingredients and mix well until a dough forms. You may find using your hands is the easiest way for this dough to come together. Form a ball with the dough, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350ºC.
  5. Divide the chilled dough into four parts, and roll out into a 10 x 4 inch rectangle that’s around 1/4 inch thick between two pieces of parchment paper.
  6. Spread about 1/4 (or less) down the right side of the rectangle, leaving about 1/2 cm border. Using the parchment paper to help you, fold over the left side of the rectangle over the right side and use your fingers to mend the seam in the dough.
  7. Repeat for the other three sections of dough and bake on a baking pan lined with parchment paper for 10-15 minutes.
  8. When the bars are ready, allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting the bar into smaller sections.
  9. Enjoy with a hot mug of tea or coffee and try not to eat them all in sitting!

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I hope you enjoy this recipe. I shared most of my cookies with my coworkers today and I got comments like “you could sell these!” and many reassurances that these taste better than the store-bought version. If you have some time and want to treat yourself (and friends) to something special then I highly recommend you give these a try! Let me know how they turn out if you do. 🙂

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My mission to reduce my grocery trips and to eat my freezer, fridge, and cupboard contents has been more successful than ever. I can’t wait to share all of the delicious food that I’ve been eating. Stay tuned for Homemade Almond Milk, Cheezy Tortilla Pizza, Homemade Hummus, and Dijon & Garlic Scape Baked Salmon.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Kale Chips and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo are calling my name. Have a wonderful evening!

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22 thoughts on “Better than Store-Bought Fig Newtons”

  1. oh my god those look fantastic…
    I have a couple of questions: 1 – I notice you use a lot of coconut oil. Is there a particular reason for this? and 2 – I am really lazy about food processors. I’ve noticed you can get little “baby” ones with a capacity of about 2 cups that fit onto an upright blender… do you reckon those would do the job on things like that figgy mix, for mini-portion cookers like me?

    1. Rosie – I only have coconut oil and olive oil in my kitchen and I find alternating between using them both for all of my needs works well for me. For this particular recipe, I chose coconut oil because I don’t bake with olive oil. You can use any mild oil though, like canola or grapeseed (as the original recipe suggests). There are many benefits to using coconut oil over other ones, and there is a wealth of information available online that does a much better job of explaining its superiority over other oils available out there in case you’re interested in learning more about it. 🙂

      As for a food processor, you would be perfectly fine with a baby/mini one. In fact, that’s what I use! The only time I’ve used a regular food processor is when I was at my parent’s place using theirs. I noticed that my cashew butter turned out *a lot* better with their bigger processor in comparison to my mini one. Aside from that, all of my nut butters have been excellent. For bigger jobs, I’ll chop/processor one ingredient at a time, and then mix ingredients together in a bigger bowl. It’s an extra step that you could avoid with a bigger food processor, but I just don’t have room for anything bigger in my kitchen at the moment!

      Also, you’ll be happy to know that I made my figgy paste all in one shot in my mini food processor. 🙂

  2. Your fig newtons look so yummy 😀 Are the molasses important? I would love to make these but that’s the one thing I don’t have. I also wonder what “date” newtons would taste like ’cause I actually have a whole carton full of those!

    1. I think using a date filling would be FABULOUS!!

      As for molasses, I personally love adding it to my baking as I feel it adds a little something special and I think it helps to make the dough more chewy. I could be wrong though. I think maybe you could try maple syrup instead, or doubling the honey in the recipe as a substitute but I’m not certain how it will work out.

      If you end up giving these a try, let me know how they turn out! 🙂

      1. The fig newtons look amazing!…I totally agree that molasses is the way to go (so tasty) but, if you don’t have any I’d also recommend using corn syrup. It’s a little bit thicker than honey and maple syrup and its’ consistency is closer to molasses. Great post! I’m suddenly hungry.

        1. Thanks, Audrey! I’ve never actually used corn syrup before – it kind of scares me but I’m sure you can make some delicious desserts with it.

          After yesterday’s and tonight’s run, I pretty much ate my weight in cheese puffs and frozen yogurt. Oops?

  3. Alison, those look amazing! Hmm i wonder if i can just use good old butter? I have a feeling it might have too much “crumb” unfortunately.

    I’m jealous of the RRR’s workouts. So disappointed with my uber laid-back clinic.

  4. Oh wow, I’ve got to try these! I came up with a home-made cereal bar that is sort of similar to this but I like your idea of molasses in the crust.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I am curious about the nutritional info too – I will investigate! Let me know how they turn out if you make them! 🙂

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