Growing up I hated Fig Newtons. How could they possibly compare to homemade warm luscious chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies? No surprise. I have been making homemade cookies since I was about 11 so the list of grocery store cookies I like is short. Waaay short. Several times over the years I would try to like them but one taste..blech!
Then I started to see homemade versions of Fig Newtons in the blogosphere...and I was intrigued. They no doubt taste way better and of course there is complete control over the ingredients, like not even using figs at all. Nothing against figs but I love them fresh best.
Brave Tart's recent fabulous homemade Fig Newton post made me immediately forget my past FN aversion. I wanted to eat one of Stella's creations stat and was inspired to make my own version.
After picking up the first bag of Meyer lemons of the season, I spied these pretty dried starfruit in a local fruit and nut store. I knew then I had my filling.
Starfruit Newtons have a more tangy taste than the fig version. The Meyer lemons add bright sweet flavor.
I altered Stella's version only in ingredient substitutions. Btw, her recipe and instructions are excellent and more comprehensive than mine below. If you haven't checked out her blog yet, you are seriously in for a treat. No pun intended.
(Slightly adapted from Brave Tart's Fig Newton Recipe)
For the dough:
- 2 ounces AP flour
- 2 ounces whole wheat flour
- 3 ounces of butter, softened
- 1+1/3 ounces light brown sugar
- 1/2 ounce agave syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 ounce Meyer lemon juice
- Sift the flours together in a separate bowl and set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugar
- Add agave, baking soda, salt, extracts and zest until well blended.
- Drop the egg yolks in one at a time.
- Lower the mixer speed and add in the combined flours.
- When everything is mixed thoroughly add the Meyer lemon juice.
- Wrap the dough in plastic film, pat it into a disk and refrigerate overnight.
For the Starfruit filling:
- 6 ounces dried star fruit
- 1 ounce unsweetened apple sauce
- 3/4 ounce agave syrup
- Juice from 1/2 a Meyer lemon
- Place everything in a food processor and let that sucker rip for a while. The dried starfruit were not easily pureed into a paste. Halfway through I thought it was hopeless but I kept going and success!
- Load the starfruit paste into a pastry bag fitted with a tip that is big enough so any large pieces still left in the paste do not clog it. Stella recommends a plain basket weave tip. I used a large open star tip.
Making the Newtons:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Generously flour work surface and rolling pin. The dough is really sticky so you will need a lot of flour.
- Remove dough from fridge and roll out into a large rectangle.
- Using a sharp knife cut the rectangle into strips (Stella recommends 6" length 3+1/4 width).
- Before piping in the filling, take a frosting spreader or something similar and run it under the strip, making sure it is not stuck to the work surface.
- Pipe the filling down the center of the rectangle (about 1" wide)
- Fold one side over to cover the filling completely, then gently roll the log over to seal. You will have a seam down the bottom of the log.
- Brush off excess flour with a pastry brush (silicon worked best for me.)
- Place on baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cookie logs start to brown.
- Remove from oven and using a sharp knife immediately cut each log into cookies (about 1" wide)
- Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.