Until the 19th Century, many physicians believed most illnesses were related to digestion issues; therefore, recommending a daily intake of biscuits and fruit. The ideal solution for this advice was to combine the two, creating fig rolls, named "Newtons" for the town in Massachusetts where they were first mass produced. A great do-it-yourself recipe, homemade fig newtons are easy and fun to make. Making these from scratch allows greater control of the ingredients used. Watch Becky make this recipe on Studio 5
1 cup dried figs (7-oz pkg)
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar, divided (may use ½-cup light brown sugar)
⅛ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon orange zest
4 tablespoons orange juice
½ cup unsalted butter (1-stick)*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
* May substitute salted butter, reduce salt in dough to ¼-teaspoon
Remove any stems from figs. Place figs, water, ¼-cup white sugar, pumpkin pie spice and ¼-teaspoon salt in saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and gently boil for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is sticky and figs are hydrated. Place figs in blender or food processor, add orange juice and zest; remove center cap from the blender lid; puree until smooth. Place fig paste in a freezer zip-loc bag to cool completely.
Beat together butter and ½-cup sugar until light and fluffy (may substitute ½-cup light brown sugar). Beat in egg, vanilla and 1-teaspoon orange zest. Combine flour, ½-teaspoon salt and baking powder. Stir flour mixture into butter and sugar. Shape dough into a log, cover and refrigerate for 1-hour or up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 11x13 inch rectangle. Cut rectangle into 3 strips approximately 3½ x13 inches. If needed, chill dough to firm it up.
Cut a ½-inch corner off the fig paste bag and squeeze the paste down the middle of each strip. Fold sides of each strip up over the paste to form a log. Turn log over and place seam side down on baking sheet; slightly flatten each log to form a fig newton shape. Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned. While still warm, cut log into 2-inch bars and finish cooling.
Once cooled completely, store cookies in an airtight container to soften or moisten up.