Saturday, October 17, 2009
i don't give a fig (but really, i do) !
I love Fig Newtons. God, it's embarrassing. Not only are they totally inappropriate for my age group (they've somehow straddled the divide between ages 10 and 70 - only really young or really old people can eat them and get away with it), I'm pretty sure that most of America thinks of them as some kind of cleverly packaged laxative. In an effort to take back Fig Newtons - and my dignity - I made up my mind to make them from scratch. The only problem? It's actually kind of tough to find a legitimate recipe. Like I said, I really love Fig Newtons.
Then my Mom gifted me an old Sunset magazine cookbook entitled, appropriately, "Cookies." Inside was a recipe for Fig Newtons, and I knew as soon as I looked that it was "the one". The lemon makes the difference.
Musical accompaniment here.
Homemade Fig Newtons
You Will Need:
For the dough:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup each of granulated sugar and firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whole what flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup toasted, unsweetened wheat germ
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
For the filling:
1 pound dried fights (about 2 cups, lighly packed)
1/2 cup walnuts (or almonds? yes?)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 tbls. lemon juice
Using a food processor or a food chopper fitted with a medium blade, grind together dried figs and walnuts (almonds?).
Turn into a medium-sized pan and add sugar, water, lemon peel and lemon juice. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, until mixture boils and becomes very thick (5 to 8 minutes). Let cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, stir together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, wheat germ, salt and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture, blending thoroughly. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until easy to handle (at least one hour - or even until the next day).
Divide dough into two equal portions. Return one portion to the fridge while you work with the other. On a floured board, roll out each portion to a straight-edged (editors note: there is literally no reason to make this straight-edged. for all I can see, the messier the better!). Cut length-wise into three strips. Divide cooled fruit filling into six equal portions and evenly distribute one portion down center of each strip, bringing it out to ends. Use a long spatula to lift sides of each dough strip over filling, overlapping edges slightly on top. Press together lightly. Cut strips in half crosswise; lift and invert onto greased baking sheets (seam side down). Brush off excess flour. Refrigerate for about fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, repeating rolling and filling with remaining dough.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned. Let cool on baking sheets or rack for about ten minutes, then cut each strip crosswise into four pieces. Transfer cookies to racks and let cool completely. Store covered - eat immediately, etc.