The yellow, shiny wrapper would sit on the store shelves and tempt us as we pushed our cart by it on most trips to the grocery store. My mom may blame it on marketing, I may blame it on my granola grandmother. Whoever was the first one who brought home the package and let me have a taste of that strange and gooey center with its buttery cookie outer shell, probably never would have known the flavor memory I would have now. Oh, and I can't forget to remind you of the crunch of the fig seeds that always caught me by surprise. Made me want to come back for more!
Nabisco Fig Newtons were a hit in the early 80's packed in many lunchboxes thought to be a healthy cookie. But now that I clearly understand what each ingredient on that dull, yellow wrapper is, I decided it was time to come up with my own health-conscious version for my girls. To give them a similar experience, minus all the nasty preservatives and processed ingredients.
Homemade Fig and Apple Newtons
2 lb. fresh brown Turkish figs or black mission figs
1 small tart firm apple ( I used a local gala) - peeled and diced
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup honey
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
For the filling, carefully rinse off the figs and cut the stems off. Heat figs, apples, lemon juice and honey on medium for 5-10 minutes. Mash mixture, reduce heat to low and allow to cook for 20 more minutes or until mixture has thickened.
To prepare the dough, use either a stand up mixer or hand held. Blend butter and sugar until creamy. Reduce speed and stir in egg and extracts until completely combined. Turn off mixer and stir in flour, careful not to over stir. Press mixture into a ball and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
Note: these cookies are even better when placed in a sealed container overnight. This way they get that nice soft texture verses drying out uncovered.