Re-interpreted Fig Newtons: soft, chewy, sweet, with a firm jam filling made of dried figs and apricots, with a cute shape and lovely orange scent and flavor.
July has already gone oh my gosh. Time is running wild, August is here and I don't know where the last 3 months and some went after I came back to Edmonton. The blog is keeping us busy, that's for sure, our kitchen is bustling every day 🙂 . I feel like a baking machine and -don't ask me why- it seems like I tend to choose laborious sweets to bake. But it makes me really happy when I manage to re-make a not-so-easy recipe. There are times, though, when I just bake for the sake of baking, without the fuss of taking out my camera. This, obviously, is not one of those times 😉 . This, is the Fig and Apricot Newtons' day.
The recipe comes -again- from The Messy Baker cookbook. I did not know that Newtons was their name, but I remember that my mom used to buy the equivalent italian cookies for us. I wasn't super fond of them, they were too sweet for me, but every now and then having one was not too bad. So why did I make them? The main reason was that I had dried figs and apricots that had been laying around for too many weeks and if I never used them, they would probably grow legs and walk off (just a little kitchen humor 😉 ). The other reason was the beauty of these little pockets of goodness.
You need some time to put together this Fig and Apricot Newtons, but they're not so difficult to make.
I decided to divide the preparation of the Fig and Apricot Newtons in stages through my morning/afternoon, according to my schedule and not let them rule my time.
I started the preparation in the morning: I chopped the dried figs and apricots, grated the orange peel, squeezed the orange and set everything to rest in a small bowl with the sugar, the organic churned honey and the vanilla. Then I went to my 9.30 am jazzercise class (even though I found myself, during some of the routines, thinking of the next stages of the preparation. I'm incorrigible 😉 ).
When I got home from jazzercise, I resumed my task: first I made the compote with the fig/apricot mix. It smelled unbelievably good! Then I creamed the butter and sugar, added the egg, Crosby's fancy molasses and vanilla. I love the color the batter turned into and that syrupy smell...mmm...
When the dough was ready I placed it in the fridge to rest and I had a whole hour at my disposal. Did some house chores, had a quick fresh lunch and spent some time out in the backyard with the cats. They love when I hang out with them, either on the couch or outside.
The next steps required time, precision (more or less) and patience, but don't get discouraged, good things come to those who wait.
Now the time has come to sit back, take a deep breath and take in all the wonderful scents that the cookies have spread throughout the house, let go of a beautiful sigh allowing relaxation to set in and enjoy eating these jewels. Aren't they the cutest things you've ever seen? But I might be prejudiced, they're my babies... 🙂
Nothing like dipping a Fig Newton in a cold glass of milk and bringing it to your mouth without it falling apart. Soft, chewy and sweet, with that firm jam filling that everybody knows Fig Newtons to be. I think these cookies have redeemed themselves in my life. It's milk and cookies time!
P.S. I was wondering if you can hear my italian accent even in my writing (my husband says it's not strong at all and it's really cute 😉 ) , but sometimes I feel because english is not my first language, that I may not be able to paint the picture of the emotions and experiences I'd like to convey.
From a recipe found on "The Messy Baker" by Charmian Christie.Print
- ½ cup usalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- ¼ cup fancy molasses
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅔ cup dried figs, chopped (stem removed)
- ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons organic honey
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange peel, finely grated
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- To make the dough: In a large bowl using an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, molasses and vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt to combine. With the speed on low and using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well combined. Turn the dough onto a large sheet of plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- To make the filling: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the figs, apricots, sugar, honey and orange juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 7 minutes, or until the fruit plumps. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in the orange peel and vanilla. Set aside to cool.
- When you're ready to assemble and bake, preheat the oven to 375° F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cut the dough in half and gently knead on a lightly floured surface to soften the dough. Once warmed, the dough will be quite soft, so handle gently. Roll 1 portion of dough into a rectangle approximatly 18" long and 6" wide. Spoon half the filling down the length of the dough, forming a 2"-wide strip down the center. Fold the edges over the filling. Cut the dough into 1 and ½" bars, discarding any dough at either end that has no filling. Place on the baking sheet seam side down and bake for 12 minutes or until the bars are golden and baked all the way through. Leave on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool.
- While the first pan of bars is in the oven, roll, fill, and cut the second half. Bake the second pan while the first is cooling.
Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days, but not to worry, they're going to be gone before that.
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