living a well tended life... at any age

cookie jar: homemade fig newtons

I don’t know about you, but there are definitely certain foods that say “summer” to me. Specifically, “summer at the beach”.


Cut-up cantaloupe.

Chocolate chip cookies.

Turkey/swiss  sandwiches (with mustard AND mayo).

Iced tea.

Cape Cod potato chips.

And Fig Newtons.

homemade fig newtons

I will never pass up a Fig Newton at any time of year, but for some reason I especially crave them when I’m out at the beach. Weird?

Now – I have not only never made my own Fig Newtons, it never even occurred to me to try (and this from the person who’s made her own marshmallows, Pop Tarts and butter).

That said, there are some DIY’s better left “undid” (see above, Pop Tarts). Labor intensive, time consuming and not worth the effort, at the end of the day. I assumed newtons would totally fall into that category, which is why I’ve never attempted them till now.

homemade fig newtons

homemade fig newtons

But a recipe recently posted on Food52 not only looked identical to the real thing, it actually looked doable. Of course the question was, would it be worth it?


homemade fig newtons

This is a copycat recipe that is identical flavor-wise, yet FAR better than storebought. The crust is sturdy (essential for any beach food!) yet beyond tender. And the filling? It’s just what you’d expect. Figgy, not too sweet, delicious.

Summer’s officially here – what must you have in YOUR cooler?

homemade fig newtons

Note: MAJOR credit must also be given to BraveTart, who figured out how to achieve the soft texture that any respectable Fig Newton must have. After removing the bars from the oven and cutting into squares, you place them in ziploc bags, shut the bags and let them cool. The steam softens the cookies PERFECTLY. Genius, I tell you!

Fig Newtons
adapted from Food52

1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound dried figs, chopped
1/2 – 1 cup water

Beat butter and sugar in mixer till light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add egg and vanilla and beat till incorporated – scrape down the sides. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat till just incorporated.

Scoop dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat into a disc and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Place figs and 1/2 cup water into a saucepan – bring to a boil, cover and cook until the water is absorbed and the figs are very soft (you can add more water if needed). Transfer figs to a food processor and pulse till smooth. Cool to room temperature (can be stored, covered, in the fridge overnight).

Pre-heat oven to 325; line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and flour LIBERALLY (the dough is very soft). You have 2 options here – you can either roll the dough into one 12″ x 16″ rectangle (and cut into 4 12″ x 4″ strips) or divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each into a 12″ x 4″ rectangle. I found the latter to be easier. Either way make sure that both sides of the dough stay well-floured to prevent sticking.

Working with one rectangle at a time, spoon one quarter of the fig filling down the center – using slightly damp hands, “pat” the filling into a 1″ wide strip. Fold one side of the dough over the filling, followed by the other – press down to seal. Flip the bar over and transfer to your prepared baking sheet (use a pastry brush to brush off any excess flour). Keep in fridge while repeating with remaining dough.

Bake bars till golden brown around the edges – about 15 minutes. Cut each bar into 8 squares and transfer to ziploc bags – close the bags and let cool completely. Remove from bags and store in an airtight container.

(print this recipe)

This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver


  1. Design Chic on June 1, 2015 at 11:16 am

    These look amazing. I’m the biggest fan of a fig newton, but homemade…I’m all in! Can’t wait to try!

    • sherisilver on June 1, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      You will LOVE these – promise! Let me know how they turn out! 🙂

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