Fig Newton Bars

Everyone’s favorite it’s-got-figs-so-it’s-healthy-right? cookie. # 117: Fig Newton Bars

Fig newtons used to be synonymous with dry and healthy, which are two words that should never be associated with a cookie. Figs themselves are decadent orbs of deliciousness, so it’s easy to see how a fig cookie could be great. The store-bought kind have a cult following, reminding people of their childhood soccer games with each bite.

They are so popular that every January 16th is National Fig Newton day! Not many cookies can claim that honor. Named after a town in Massachusetts, the Fig Newton came into commercial existence in 1891 thanks to Charles Roser, a fig roll fanatic. The Kennedy Biscuit Company who bought his recipe, also bought a new-fangled contraption from
James Henry Mitchell: a machine that out churned out miles of fig filling and cookie coating simultaneously. The KBC then merged and morphed into what would become the cookie giant, Nabisco.

Did you know the name Nabisco comes from “National Biscuit Company”? I learn something new every day!

It’s a pretty dense and sticky cookie dough. It took many trips to the freezer to keep it workable.

The recipe called for “lightly-packed brown sugar” so I spooned it into the measuring cup and patted it down softly. Like a lil brown sugar pillow.

I love the fact that it called for brown sugar and honey instead of refined sugar. They have so much more flavor!

For the filling, I used my aunt & uncle’s homemade apple butter in place of apple sauce. Mostly because it’s super yummy, but also because I didn’t want to buy a whole jar of apple sauce for the small amount needed.

My filling wasn’t as stiff as I was hoping – too much moisture. Next time, less orange juice and more zest!

This is the optimistic picture before I tried to roll them. Appreciate the neat and tidiness of it all.

Ooph! Parchment paper to the rescue. The recipe didn’t say to pop them into the freezer before their oven time, but I’m adding that on myself. Otherwise, you get:

BOOM. Super spread-out bars instead of compact rolls.

Forget the shape, focus on the texture: moist and rich, instead of dry and dense. You can taste the blood orange in each bite but it doesn’t argue with the figs or the apple. Hooray!

What in carnation – these flowers are so pretty, it’s ranunculus! I hope thistle cheer you up while you wait for your cookies to cool down.

Happy munching!

Recipe from: Smitten Kitchen

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