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Homemade Fig Newtons

This easy homemade Fig Newton recipe combines the sweetness of fresh figs with a tender gluten-free cookie crust. These fig bars are so tasty, you might never buy the store-bought version again!

3 homemade fig newtons stacked together in front of a glass of apple cider.

 

Quick and Easy Homemade Fig Newtons Recipe

Fig Newtons aren’t just cookies, they’re fruit and cake!

I may be dating myself a little bit, but this is Nabisco’s tagline from Fig Newton commercials back in the late 80s. My grandmother used to love these little date cookies and I always got a small plate of them when I went to visit. Fig Newtons are nostalgic and bring back some wonderful childhood memories. 

Sadly, as with many things from our childhoods, the modern versions leave something to be desired. The Fig Newtons you’ll find in the store today aren’t really made from fruit and cake anymore. Like so many processed foods, they’re full of preservatives, artificial flavoring, and hidden MSG. Store-bought Fig Newtons are no longer a cookie I would share with anyone who came to visit.

So, being a health-conscious foodie, I decided to develop my own version! This homemade Fig Newton recipe makes a gluten-free cookie that will delight your taste buds and bring back some of that childhood nostalgia. And if you’ve never had a Fig Newton before, you’re in for a real treat.

Are Fig Newtons Healthy?

These homemade Fig Newtons are! While I can’t say the same about the processed cookie found at the grocery store, this fig bar recipe is made with real ingredients, gluten-free flour, and a minimal amount of sugar. Figs are well-known for containing fiber, protein, and several vitamins and minerals. For a cookie, it doesn’t get much healthier than Fig Newtons! 

What You’ll Need

Let’s discuss exactly what you’ll need to make these tasty Fig Newtons. The amounts are included in the recipe card beneath this post.

A bowl of cut figs

For the Filling

  • Fresh Figs: Washed, dried, and quartered
  • Brown Sugar
  • Orange Zest
  • Salt
  • Vanilla: I recommend using real vanilla extract

For the Cookie Crust

  • Almond Flour
  • Tapioca Flour
  • Coconut Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter and let it come to room temperature for an hour
  • Brown Sugar
  • Orange Zest
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla: Real vanilla extract here too, please!

Cut figs, orange zest and brown sugar ready to reduce on the stove.

How to Make Homemade Fig Newtons

  • Make the Filling. In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the figs, brown sugar, orange zest, and vanilla. Bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring as needed. 

Reduced Fig Newton filling

 

  • Reduce the Filling. Reduce the heat and simmer the filling for 40-50 minutes. You’ll want to occasionally smash any large pieces of fig with the back of a fork. Stir often.
  • Let the Filling Cool. Once the fig mixture has cooked down and thickened into a jam-like consistency, remove it from the heat and let it cool completely.
  • Heat the Oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare the Baking Dish. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish, then line it with parchment paper. Butter the top layer of the parchment paper. This will allow you to easily remove the cooked fig newtons from the baking dish.
  • Mix the Dry Ingredients of the Cookie. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the flours, baking powder, and salt. 
  • Beat the Butter and Sugar. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. This should take 1-3 minutes.
  • Add the Orange Zest and Eggs. Add the orange zest and eggs to your butter and sugar mixture. Beat on medium until it is fully combined. Stir in the vanilla.
  • Add the Dry Ingredients. Slowly add the flour mixture while the mixer is running on low. The low speed will prevent the flour from flying up into your face! Continue mixing until the dough comes together. The dough will be sticky.
  • Roll Out the Dough. Butter two pieces of parchment paper that are larger than your baking dish. Measure 1 1/2 cups of the dough and place it in the center of one of the pieces. Cover the dough with the second piece of parchment and roll it out. This will be the top crust of your fig newtons. Try to get the dough into a rough rectangle shape if you can. 
  • Freeze the Dough. Put your rolled-out dough into the freezer to set up.
  • Prepare the Bottom Layer of the Fig Newtons. Press the remaining dough into the prepared baking dish, doing your best to keep the layer even. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. 

Assembling homemade fig bars

  • Add the Filling. Spread the fig filling across the baked crust making a smooth layer. An offset spatula works great for this. 
  • Add the Top Crust. Take the top crust out of the freezer. Gently peel back the parchment paper and place it over the top of the fig filling.
  • Bake. Bake the entire cookie for another 20-25 minutes or until the top crust is a nice golden color.
  • Cool. Let the whole thing cool completely in the pan set on top of a wire rack. 
  • Slice into Squares. Once completely cooled, lift the parchment out of the pan and slice it into squares. 

Tips for Success

Review these helpful tips to make sure these tasty homemade fig bars exceed your wildest expectations.

  • Make the Fig Filling Ahead of Time. If you’re pressed for time, you can make the fig filling the day before. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic and refrigerate overnight.
  • Don’t Skimp on the Parchment Paper. If don’t already have parchment paper at home, I recommend picking some up at the store. Fig Newtons are naturally sticky. You’ll have a hard time with some of the recipe steps if you use greased foil (or nothing at all).

Variation Ideas

If you love the idea of a healthier cookie but don’t like figs, feel free to substitute another fruit for the filling. Apricots, raisins, cherries, or plums would all make a delicious filling.

Homemade fig bars stacked up in front of the rest of the batch. A halved fig lies nearby.

 

Storage Instructions

These homemade fig bars will stay fresh on the counter in an airtight container for up to a week, or up to a month in the fridge. I recommend separating layers with parchment paper to avoid sticking. 

Can I Freeze Homemade Fig Newtons?

Yes! You can freeze these homemade Fig Newtons for up to 6 months. I recommend cutting them into squares and freezing them individually. Wrap each piece tightly in plastic and place them in a freezer bag.

More Tasty Cookie Recipes

Try out these other tasty cookie recipes!

3 homemade fig newtons stacked together in front of a glass of apple cider.

Homemade Fig Newton {Gluten-Free}

This easy homemade Fig Newton recipe combines the sweetness of fresh figs with a tender cookie crust made from gluten-free flour. These fig bars are so tasty, you might never buy the store-bought version again!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 20 cookies

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Stove

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 16 fresh figs washed, dried, and quartered
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the Cookie Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour finely ground
  • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter at room temperature (12 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla

Instructions

For the Filling

  • In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan, add figs, 1/2 cup brown sugar, orange zest, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to a low boil, stirring as needed.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 40-50 minutes, occassionally smashing the larger pieces with the back of a fork and stirring.
  • The fig mixture will cook down and thicken with a jam-like consistency.
  • Remove the filling from the heat and cool completely.

For the Cookie

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  • Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish, then line with parchment paper or foil. Butter the top of the parchment paper or foil. This will allow for easy removal.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk togehter the flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 1/2 cups brown sugar until fluffy.
  • Add the orange zest and eggs. Beat on medium until the dough comes together. Then stir in the vanilla.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture while the mixer is running on low. The dough will be sticky.
  • Butter two pieces of parchment paper that are larger than your baking dish, measure 1 1/2 cups of the dough out, and roll or press the dough in between the pieces. This will be your top crust, so get it into a rectangle shape if you can. Put it in the freezer to set up.
  • Press the remaining dough into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Spread the fig filling across the baked crust and then get the top crust out of the freezer. Gently peel the parchment paper away from the cold cookie crust and then place it over the top of the fig filling.
  • Bake for another 20 - 25 minutes or until the top crust is a nice golden color.
  • Let the whole thing cool completely in the pan, on a wire rack.
  • Once cooled, lift the parchment out of the pan and slice into squares.

Notes

  • The fig filling can be made ahead and stored in the refridgerator for up to 3 days.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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