At the request of several listeners, I searched for a recipe for making cookies similar to “Fig Newtons” but made with fresh (instead of dried) figs. All of the recipes I found handled the fig mixture in about the same way. The significant difference was whether each cookie was folded individually, or whether the cookies were layered with crust on top and bottom, filling in the center, then baked and cooled - after which they were cut.
Here are the best two versions I found - although I must say that I’m not terribly happy with the way either one is written. I edited as best I could to make them understandable and easy to follow. The first recipe is based on one from Food.com, and the second is from SOAR (the Searchable Online Archive of Recipes).
MAKES ABOUT 24 COOKIES (2 DOZEN)
for the fig mixture:
2 pounds, fresh figs
1/2 cup, water
1 cup, granulated sugar
for the dough mixture:
1/2 cup butter - at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon cream -OR 1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon, vanilla
1/2 teaspoon, salt
1 teaspoon, baking powder
1 3/4 cups, flour
TO PREPARE THE FIG MIXTURE: Dice the figs, AND soak them in the water for 1 hour. Add the sugar, and cook the fig mixture on medium heat until the mixture is the consistency of thin jam. Set aside.
TO MAKE THE COOKIES: Beat together the sugar, butter, egg, milk and vanilla until well blended. Add the dry ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Place half of the dough mixture on a well-floured dough cloth or work surface; knead about 6 times. Roll out the dough to be about 1/4" thick. Line a 13 x 9" glass baking dish with the rolled out dough; cover the layer of dough with the fig mixture.
Roll out the remaining dough in the same manner, and lay it into the baking dish to cover the fig mixture. (After baking, you will cut this into individual cookies.)
Bake at 350° (in a preheated oven) for 30 minutes.
Allow the cookie construction in the pan to cool, then cut it into squares. Depending on the size you cut for each cookie you will yield about two dozen cookies.
MAKES ABOUT 36 COOKIES (3 DOZEN)
for the cookie dough:
3 cups, flour - sifted
1/2 teaspoons, salt
2/3 cup, butter
1/2 cup,dark brown sugar - firmly packed
1/2 cup,light brown sugar - firmly packed
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon, Vanilla
for the fig filling:
3 cups, fresh figs - finely chopped
(see COOK’S NOTE, below if substituting dried figs)
1/4 cup, water
2 tablespoons, sugar
2 tablespoons, fresh lemon juice
TO MAKE THE DOUGH: Sift together the flour and the salt and cinnamon. Cream the butter (beat until fluffy) then add the brown sugars and beat the butter and sugars together until very fluffy; beat in the egg whites and vanilla. Slowly work in flour until incorporated.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and chill it in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. Meanwhile, prepare the fig filling.
TO MAKE THE FIG FILLING: Simmer the filling ingredients together, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes until thick. Cool, but do not
TO COMPOSE AND BAKE THE COOKIES: When the dough has chilled for the required time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out the dough, a small portion at a time, 1/4 inch thick and cut in pieces about 2 1/2 inches wide and 3 inches long. Place a level teaspoon of the fig mixture in the center of each piece of dough, and fold the dough around the filling as though folding a business letter. Flatten the cookies slightly and place them, seam down, 1-inch apart, on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake about 12 minutes until cookies are lightly browned and just firm. Cool on racks.
COOK’S NOTE: If fresh figs are not available, substitute 2 cups finely chopped dried golden figs and increase the water to 1 cup.