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!
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).
But 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):
The Skinny on Homemade Fig Newton Bars
So, I did a little cookie recipe research and decided on the fig bars recipe in The Fannie Farmer Baking Book .
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!
Based on my calculations, when you make a half batch of 32 cookies, each one has 84 calories, 3g fat, 13g carbs, 1g fiber, 1g protein and *3 WW Freestyle SmartPoints.
I think they are definitely worth the splurge.
Curious about Weight Watchers Freestyle/Flex plan?
Watch this short video to learn more:
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 , 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 or on foil, until you are ready to bake them.
Fig Newton Cookies Recipe Variation:
For Whole-Wheat Fig Bars: Substitute 1-1/3 cups whole wheat flour for the 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour in the cookie dough.
If you’ve made these fig newton cookies, please give the recipe a star rating below and leave a comment letting me know how you liked them.
Homemade Fig Newton Bars Recipe
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (I used Spectrum)
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (1/2 pound) finely cut up dried brown figs
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/8 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 1/4-inch thick.
- Cut the dough in half lengthwise and crosswise.
- Spoon 1/4th of the fig filling evenly down each strip to one side of the center, stopping about 1/2 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 1-1/2 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 1-1/2 inches long by 2-1/2 inches wide.
Source: The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham.
*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
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