It’s been a really long time since I’ve made a treat like this.
And by that I mean me attempting to copy a food that is usually made in a factory with machines doing all the time-consuming things (i.e. fig newtons).
I remember the first time I made these little cookies years ago in a little kitchen in South America. It’s strange how much that chapter of my life is starting to seem like a forgotten dream. But anyway, I used dried figs for those and a bunch of other things that probably didn’t need to go into them. For these I tried to keep it as simple as possible with pretty basic ingredients.
So our Costco got some fresh figs in stock and I was so excited because, guys, I’ve never….ever…….ever……tried a fresh fig! I know, what is up with that? Although, I think my excitement over them was a little too high because I ended up with way more than I could eat before they started to go bad. The good news is that when life gives you figs, clearly you gotta make some fig newtons!
That’s how I ended up in the kitchen making them and I do this a lot with recipes. I’ll start out thinking it’s going to require no work at all and then an hour later be asking myself why I didn’t at least accept that it’s not one of my faster recipes.
I’m saying this because I’m not going deny that this is a more time-intensive recipe. Of course, I personally enjoy a rainy day project like this and have no problem spending some extra time on a specialty treat like this. I also love a slight challenge and the shaping of these is something that might seem that way to you. However, if you don’t have much time or you don’t like messes, I’ve got a short-cut for you. I used a portion of my dough to make these little thumbprint cookies instead of the bar shape.
Moral of the story, you can still make this recipe even if you have little to no skills in baking. Or if you start out making the fig newtons and find yourself frustrated and pulling your hair out, just know you can try the short cut.
Homemade Fig Newton Cookies (Vegan+GF)
- 10-12 medium figs stems removed and sliced
- 1/2 cup medjool dates
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 150 g about 1 1/3 cups rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 medium apple sliced and seeded
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 cup arrowroot starch or cornstarch, plus a bit more for work surface
Add the figs, dates, water, and lemon juice to a medium to large saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the dates begin to soften. Simmer, still stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until mixture has begun to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. We'll come back to it after making the dough.
Pour the oats into a food processor or blender and pulse until it's ground into something like flour. After that, pour the floured oats into a separate bowl and add the apple, syrup, vanilla, and salt. Blend until completely smooth then pour into the bowl with the oats. Stir together then add the almond flour, baking powder, and starch until the mixture forms a thick dough. (It may seem a bit dry at first but as you continue stirring it should come together.)
Pour the fig mixture into the blender (no need to wash ) and blend until completely smooth. Add the chia seeds and vanilla and pulse a few more times then set aside until ready to fill the cookies.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and line a baking tray with parchment or silicone pads. On a clean surface spread a small amount of cornstarch and scrape your dough out with a large rubber spatula. Roll out half of dough into a rectangle roughly 1/8 inch thick. cut into strips about 3 1/2 inches wide and use a pastry bag fitted with large tip (or just a spoon) to spread filling in a straight, 1-inch wide, line down center of strips. Fold one side over filling and brush with water, then fold other side to overlap and press down gently to seal. Cut strips into bars and place (fold side down) on baking tray.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden. Remove from oven and cool before serving.
For a quicker way to make these you can simple roll the dough into 1-inch balls and press them into thumb print cookies. Fill them with a spoonful of the filling and bake on a parchment lined tray for 12-15 minutes. Cool before serving.