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homemade fig newtons recipe



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Total: 8 hours

Servings: 16.5

Cost: $1.68 /serving


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Step 1

Prepare the Dough: Combine butter, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, honey, and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to moisten, then increase to medium and cream until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add orange juice, then add the egg yolks one at a time and continue beating until smooth. Reduce the speed to low and sprinkle in the flour, mixing until well combined.

Step 2

Knead the dough against the sides of the bowl to form a smooth ball. Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until cool and firm but not hard, about 1 hour. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; soften for 30 minutes at room temperature.)

Step 3

Prepare the Preserves: Cut the figs in half. Pulse with applesauce and orange juice in a food processor until roughly chopped, then process to a thick, smooth paste. Scrape the bowl and blade with a flexible spatula, then process a minute more to ensure absolutely no chunks remain. Transfer to a sturdy piping bag fitted with a 1⁄2-inch plain tip and set aside until needed, up to 24 hours. (The preserves can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks; bring to room temperature before using.)

Step 4

To Assemble the Cookies: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Knead the cool dough on a bare work surface until pliable and smooth, then dust with flour and roll into an 8-inch square. Sprinkle both sides with flour and roll into a 15-inch square. Slide an offset spatula under the dough to loosen it, brush off excess flour, and cut into four 3 1/4-inch strips.

Step 5

Holding the bag at a 90-degree angle just above the surface of the dough (this will force the preserves to flatten as they leave the bag), pipe a 1-inch-wide strip down the center of each portion. Fold a long flap of dough over each strip, brush away excess flour, and roll each bar over, seam side down. Gently flatten each bar with your fingertips, then transfer to a parchment-lined half sheet pan (all four bars will fit on a single sheet).

Step 6

Bake until the bars are puffed and firm, without any significant browning, about 18 minutes. Immediately cut into 1-inch pieces with a bench scraper, then transfer to an airtight container, with a paper towel between each layer and on top. This will steam the cookies and retain moisture for them to reabsorb, creating a uniquely soft and cakey texture. Cover and “mature” for at least 6 hours before serving; prior to that, the cookies will taste dry. Store for up to 1 week at room temperature or up to a month in the fridge.

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