WW Recipe of the Day: Homemade Fig Newton Bars
Did you know that January 16th is National Fig Newton Day?
We may have missed it this year, but as far as I'm concerned any day is a great day to indulge in a Fig Newton cookie bar, or two!
As cookies go, Fig Newtons are a pretty healthy choice. Each 2-cookie serving of 100% whole grain Newtons has just 100 calories, 2 g fat and a Freestyle SmartPoints Value of 4.
Not a bad way to satisfy a cookie craving.
I'm a longtime fan of these soft, sweet and gooey fig paste filled cookies, which have been around for centuries and were first mass-produced way back in 1891 by the National Biscuit Company (which is now Nabisco).
Until now, I've only ever tasted the commercially made kind.
It never really occurred to me to make my own homemade fig bars until a few months ago—when I discovered that National Fig Newton Day was on the horizon in mid-January.
Watch this video to see how they commercially make Fig Newtons (along with the ingredients used):
So, I did a little cookie recipe research and decided on the fig bars recipe in The Fannie Farmer Baking Book (affiliate link).
In the introduction, author, Marion Cunningham says, "These look very much like the fig bars you buy, but they are thicker and taste so much better. They become even softer and chewier a few days after baking."
I gathered the required ingredients and set out to bake them yesterday afternoon. I opted for a half batch, since having 64 homemade fig bars lying around the house, seemed like a dangerous proposition, for a cookie lover like me.
They were a little tricky to make and I didn't follow the directions as closely as I might have, so mine didn't turn out as thick as they should have.
But, oh my gosh, it didn't matter. These cookies are delicious and so much better than the kind you buy!
How Many Calories and WW Points in Homemade Fig Newtons?
Based on my calculations, when you make a half batch of 32 cookies, each one has 84 calories and:
3 *SmartPoints (Green plan)
3 *SmartPoints (Blue plan)
3 *SmartPoints (Purple plan)
2 *PointsPlus (Old plan)
To see your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, Click here!
I think they are definitely worth the splurge.
I would take two of these homemade cookies over the mass-produced kind any day of the week, even if it does cost an extra Point or two!
Fortunately, they involve some work, so I don't have to worry about eating too many of them too often 🙂
My Cooking Notes for Homemade Fig Newtons
I flattened out my rolls/strips a little more than called for in the recipe, but they still turned out tasty and delicious.
I was able to fit all four rolls on my baking sheet (affiliate link), placing them a couple of inches apart from one another.
If you can only fit one or two rolls on your sheet, set the others aside on another baking sheet (affiliate link) or on foil, until you are ready to bake them.
For Whole-Wheat Fig Bars: Substitute 1-⅓ cups whole wheat flour for the 1-½ cups all-purpose flour in the cookie dough.
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Homemade Fig Newton Bars Recipe
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening (I used Spectrum)
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-½ cups flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (½ pound) finely cut up dried brown figs
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- To make the cookie dough, in a mixing bowl, beat together the shortening and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy, gradually adding the granulated sugar and brown sugar.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda until well blended. Add this to the butter mixture and beat until completely mixed.
- Scrape the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Flatten it out into a thick cake and wrap it in the plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- To make the fig filling, in a small heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the figs, brown sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, water and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 10 minutes. Set the mixture aside to cool completely before using it.
- When you are ready to make your cookies, position an oven rack in the center and heat your oven to 375F degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- If the dough has been chilled for longer than 2 hours, leave it out at room temperature, until it becomes malleable. This dough is not the easiest to roll out because it crumbles, so pat and patch it with your fingers as necessary.
- On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough into a 15-inch long by 7-inch wide rectangle that is about ¼-inch thick.
- Cut the dough in half lengthwise and crosswise.
- Spoon ¼th of the fig filling evenly down each strip to one side of the center, stopping about ½ inch from the narrow ends and leaving a 1-inch margin on the filled side.
- Using a long metal spatula, carefully flip the long side of the dough over the filling to the other side. Seal the edges by pressing lightly all around with your fingertips.
- Using a spatula or spatulas, lift the rolls and transfer them to the parchment lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Press down to flatten. They should be about 1-½ inches wide.
- Repeat with the other 3 strips of cookie dough.
- Bake the fig bar strips for 15 minutes, or until delicately golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for about 15 minutes, then carefully slide the cookies on the parchment paper onto a rack to cool completely.
- Slice each strip into 8 bars about 1-½ inches long by 2-½ inches wide.
Source: The Fannie Farmer Baking Book (affiliate link) by Marion Cunningham.
*Points® calculated by WW. *PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT each plan's ZeroPoint Foods (Green plan, Blue plan, Purple plan) using the WW Recipe Builder.
This video from Weelicious shows another way to make Homemade Fig Newton Cookie Bars:
More Weight Watchers Friendly Cookie Bars
- Low Fat Lemon Bars
- Healthy Apricot Oat Bars
- Crock Pot Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies
- Caramel Chocolate Oatmeal Mini Bars
Martha is the founder and main content writer for Simple-Nourished-Living.
A longtime lifetime WW at goal, she is committed to balancing her love of food and desire to stay slim while savoring life and helping others do the same.
She is the author of the Smart Start 28-Day Weight Loss Challenge.
A huge fan of the slow cooker and confessed cookbook addict, when she's not experimenting in the kitchen, you're likely to find Martha on her yoga mat.
This post contains affiliate links to products I like. When you buy something through one of my Amazon links or other (affiliate links), I receive a small commission that helps support this site. Thank you for your purchase!
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I love fig newtons. I had no idea they have been around since 1891. That is very interesting. I have never made my own before. I am going to give this a try sometime in the near future.
Awesome recipe! Easy to make, Very satisfying! Thank You so much for sharing. ??