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fig newtons

In challenge on September 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm

i wonder if everyone has such fond childhood memories of fig newtons as i do. my mom didn’t generally buy cookies, but every now and then we had fig newtons (or fly cookies!). i remember her loving them, and she’d be a huge fan of these.

the recipe basically has two parts, with at least one hour between them, but you could probably even wait overnight if you wanted.

start by quartering 7 ounces of dried figs.

then add them to a small sauce pan with 1 3/4 cups water, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes or so, until the figs get soft.

next, add 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and a pinch of salt and cook (uncovered) until thick and syrupy.

transfer mixture to a food processor or mini chopper and puree.

let cool completely, and try really really hard not to eat it all while you’re waiting.

now you need to make the dough.

beat 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and a pinch of salt until light and fluffy. add one egg yolk and a teaspoon of vanilla.

then stir in two tablespoons of milk, 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.

be gentle and don’t over mix. when your dough comes together, wrap it tightly and refrigerate.

this is where your break occurs! come back in at least an hour… lalalalala

preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.

on a clean surface in a cool spot (if it’s too hot, the butter in the dough starts to melt and makes handling it much harder), roll the dough out into a 15 by 12 inch rectangle.

then cut into three long strips and divide the filling between them.

now is the tricky part. i recommend gathering some tools, like a bench scraper, off-set spatula, regular spatula, and some flour to dip them into… whatever you have that will help lift the delicate dough off the counter.

carefully, fold the sides over each other to wrap the filling.

when you have a little log, cut it into fig newton-sized pieces.

transfer to the cookie sheet with the “seam” side down.

eventually i got the hang of it. as you can see above, i moved from right to left and they get progressively prettier! fortunately, the filling is thick enough that even if you have cracks, it won’t leak out.

bake until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.

these were so fabulous i could never eat just one (or two or three…) and they only got better each day. after day 3 or so, i kept the rest in a tin in the fridge and once they came to room temp, they were as good as new.

so it was a little bit of a time-consuming process, but not too hard and definitely worth the effort. next time, i might use another dried fruit… like apples and cranberries for fall. or apricots!!

[recipe from form v artisan]

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