Pack your child’s lunch with homemade fig Newtons

By Jim Bailey

These remarkable sugar cookie fig Newtons are a little crispier than what you are used to in stores but none-the-less deliciously exact in flavor. If you want a fluffier cookie, add 1 teaspoon baking soda to cookie.

What is nice about this recipe is that not only can you use any preserves of your liking, but you can also substitute regular prunes, flavored prunes, dried plums, pitted dates, raisins or even dried cranberries or dried blueberries. They all will cook and thicken just as well as the figs, and lend another great flavor to this children’s favorite.

2 cups chopped, pitted figs
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup blueberry preserves
1/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
Nonstick cooking spray


In a medium saucepan, add figs, apple juice and maple syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue cooking, and occasionally stirring, for 10 minutes, or until mixture has thickened.

Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and mash with a fork until as smooth as possible.

Stir in blueberry preserves, cover and refrigerate until completely cold.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, egg, sugar and vanilla on high until creamy. With a wooden, or sturdy, spoon, blend in the flour completely.

Cover with film wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

Spray a large baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Remove dough from refrigerator and place half the dough on a large piece of film wrap, placing remainder of dough in refrigerator.

Place another piece of film wrap over the top and press down with hands to form a rectangle. With a rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangle about 1/2-inch in thickness and 4 to 5 inches in width, remove top film wrap.

Remove filling from refrigerator and spread half the filling down the center lengthwise. Slightly spread filling to come an inch from either side.

Fold over one side of dough to cover filling, repeating and overlapping the other side. Press down slightly to flatten slightly and transfer to prepared pan.

Repeat with remainder of dough and filling, placing it one inch from first cookie “log.” Bake 15 to 16 minutes, or until the top is crispy to the touch and will not sink when pressed.

Remove from oven, let cool a couple minutes before transferring to another, ungreased, cookie pan. Cut into desired sizes and cool completely before enjoying.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

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