Bring Me Some Figgy Newtons

The other day, I made my first batch of fig newtons using fresh fruit from our large, ancient fig trees. Even if they didn’t bear fruit, I would adore these trees for their structure. Their knobby lower limbs grow nearly parallel to the ground and make ideal climbing trees for my 7-year old niece. Oh, how I would have loved to have just one of these trees when I was a kid!

Even though the trees are loaded with figs every year, the birds and other critters manage to make a substantial dent in the crop. That’s okay. There’s no way we could eat all of the figs produced by these trees. I just wanted enough to try a couple of recipes – fig cookies and fig newtons. Mission accomplished.

My favorite part about baking with figs is cutting them open. In contrast to the lackluster exterior of a fig, the pulp is an unexpectedly gorgeous, luscious red. Not only are they beautiful, but they are also very easy to process. There’s no need to remove the skin or seeds… just wash and dice. The knife slides through them like butter. Working with figs almost seems too easy.

So… are they good for baking? Yes! I was delighted by the results of the recipe below. The cookie/bar was moist, sweet and figgy-licious!


Homemade Fig Newtons

1 lb. dried figs or 2 lbs. fresh figs (9 medium, 12 small)
1 c. sugar
1/2 or 1 c. water (1 c. for dried figs; 1/2 c. for fresh)

1/2 c. butter, room temp.
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp. cream or milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 3/4 c. flour

Dice figs and soak in water for 1 hour. Add sugar and cook on medium heat until of thin jam consistency.

Beat sugar, butter, egg, milk and vanilla until well blended. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Place half of dough on floured surface. Knead about 6 times. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Line bottom of 9 x 13 inch glass dish and cover with figs. Roll remaining dough and cover figs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.



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30 thoughts on “Bring Me Some Figgy Newtons

  1. I am not a big fan of packaged fig newtons but I must say, after reading your description and seeing your fig photos, I’d love to sample your recipe. They look scrumptious!

    Is the texture of the figs similar to those is store bought cookies? I have a little problem with the “grittiness.”

    The fig trees sound wonderful.

    • Just to be sure I gave you an accurate answer, I had to try another one just now 🙂 Homemade fig newtons are nothing like the packaged cookies. The texture of the fig filling in the store cookies is like a thin, gritty paste. The texture of the homemade newtons is more like jam with tiny, barely noticeable seeds… not like blackberry jam (or even close). Also, the exterior is not doughy like the store cookies. It has a soft cookie texture with a slightly flaky top. Packaged fig newtons are to homemade fig newtons as Hostess apple pies are to homemade apple pies!

  2. We have one of these ancient beautiful BIG trees…though the birds usually eat SOME of the crop– they don’t do the damage that the grasshoppers did this year. Not one fig for us!

    I have frozen figs in the freezer from last years crop– do you think these would work for this delicious recipe?
    When I froze them last year– I didn’t know if they’d keep or how long, so not even sure they’re still good.

    I may give it a try!


    • Wow. I didn’t realize that grasshoppers fancied figs. Sorry to hear about your crop 🙁

      I don’t see why your frozen figs won’t work. If they don’t have freezer burn, I bet they’re okay. Give it a try!

  3. Visiting from the Barn Hop. I enjoyed reading about your fig tree! Wish I could have one. Our local fruit & vegetable store had fresh figs last week. I plan to pick some up now to try your recipe.

      • I made fig preserves this year. I wonder if I could use that? How “juicy” are the figs after being cooked; the preserves are in a thickish syrup? The preserves are pretty sweet…that might be a hindrance.

        • Fig preserves would probably work. The filling in the fig newtons that I made was of a thin jam consistency. You could probably add a little water to thin the preserves. Don’t worry about the sweetness! This filling has a cup of sugar in it… pretty sweet.

    • Believe me, Carol… these fig newtons are way more delicious than the kind you can buy in a store! Yes. You can grow fig trees in Virginia. From what I understand, they can be grown as far north as Canada.

  4. These look wonderful! I bought my grandma a fig tree for her birthday about 10 years ago, and it also produces a nice crop, she loves her fig tree. I will have to tell her about this recipe, I’m sure she would love to give it a try. I think I may need to pick up a fig tree for my own garden- they sound like fun to work with!!

    • Yes. Please pass the recipe on to your grandma! Fig trees are interesting trees for the garden… even when they don’t produce fruit.

  5. Those look delicious. I have not cooked with figs before and this looks like a good place to start. I am interested to find out if fig trees would like Denver.

    • Unfortunately, I don’t think that it is possible to grow fig trees in Denver. The winters are just too cold. Perhaps there is a cold hardy variety I don’t know about though. Check with your local garden center or nursery. You never know!

  6. I have so wanted to try to make fig newtons, but all I ever do is put up the preserves. I’m definitely trying this next year…or I may actually try it using my preserves as the filling.

  7. wow…I hit enter too soon. I meant to say that your recipe has inspired me to try to make them…they look delicious! Thanks for posting!

  8. Tried the recipe and the cookies were excellent! I added a small layer of chopped walnuts to the top of the filling before adding the second layer of dough and they were fabulous. Thanks for the recipe!!

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  10. My friend brought me some fresh figs..i have never tasted fig newtons because it reminds somehow pop tart filling which i do not like but your picture looks so inviting and so not like the store kind…i am totally making them,that is if i can stop eating them…sweetest thing ever.

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