These homemade gluten-free fig newton clones are my latest favorite child (sorry, kids).
To roll dough into an evenly thick-ish rectangle while making sure it stays chilled takes some practice. It takes a little work getting just the right amount of filling in the center. Think of the filling as a gooey fruit roll-up. If your hands are damp, the filling can be shaped any way you like. It also helps avoid the dreaded gooey fig getting stuck to your hands. Damp hands will also help when smoothing the dough (or using your fingers to paint dough cracks that might form).
Baking a couple of batches to get the cookie and filling size just about right is normal. Though the newtons may be oddly sized to begin with, they’ll taste great. To save some effort, make a few batches of dough and fig filling and leave them in the refrigerator (and bring the filling to room temperature before using) and half the work is done in advance. Practicing means more newtons to eat, or as we call it, a full cookie tin.
Dairy-free? You can sub out the butter for more shortening.
A big hint (from Stella at Bravetart) is to slide the freshly baked (warm) and sliced cookies into a plastic zip bag and let them wilt (steam) until the cookie is cakey soft, overnight is best. The difference in flavors from fresh baked to overnight is incredible and worth the wait. I like to place the sliced cookies on a plastic cutting board and slide that into the zip bag because the cookies need a surface on which to rest because they’re pretty fragile until cooled.
I hope you love these as much as we do. Be sure to leave some for the next day because the flavor really changes and it will taste almost exactly like the newton you might remember.
|Homemade Fig Newtons|| |
- 225 grams Canteen flour blend (1¾ cups) (see notes)
- 40 grams GF oat flour (1/3 cup)
- 50 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 58 grams Spectrum shortening (4 tablespoons)
- 30 grams unsalted butter, chilled (2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 extra large egg
- 2 extra large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 orange zested
- 455 grams dried black mission figs (16 ounces)
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 60 grams orange juice (1/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon pure lemon juice
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 tablespoon honey
- In a food processor pulse together flours, sugar, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add shortening and butter and pulse until coarse crumbs form. In a small bowl whisk together honey, egg, egg yolks, orange juice, vanilla and zest until combined. Add to the food processor and pulse until mixture forms a ragged ball of dough. Expect the dough to be soft and tacky. Place dough on plastic wrap and knead if necessary to just bring it together (still sticky). Wrap well and refrigerate overnight and up to two days.
- On baking day (or a few days in advance), place figs (cut off the stems if necessary), nutmeg, juice, lemon juice, zest and honey into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture is finely ground and gooey. Pulse again for extra measure to make sure the mixture is more like a paste than chunks. A smooth paste is your friend. Place mixture in a bowl (if using right away) or in a covered container and refrigerate up to two weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out very chilled dough between sheets of plastic wrap to about a very fat ⅛ –inch. Roll into a large rectangle about 8-inches wide and 16-inches long. Refrigerate as needed to keep the dough cold for best handling and placing it on a baking sheet for easier handling - in and out of the refrigerator. Peel away the top plastic wrap and place it back on the dough. Flip the whole dough sandwich over and again, peel away the top piece of plastic. That helps make sure the plastic is not sticking to the dough as you get ready to roll it into a Newton.
- Trim the edges of the rectangle (8-inches x 16-inches) so it’s nice and neat. Cut the dough the long way into two 4-inch strips using a gentle touch to keep the dough from tearing (keep chilling it for best results). Using barely wet (clean) hands form the filling into long ropes about ¼-inch thick and 1-inch wide and place in the center of each dough strip. You may need to make several little ropes to fit across the whole length. You will have filling leftover unless you like very fat Newtons.
- Flip up the sides of each strip of dough using the plastic wrap (like rolling sushi) and have the dough meet in the center and even overlap a bit. Pinch the dough to seal it. Using the same knife or pastry cutter used to trip the edges, cut each long piece in half so the length now measures about 8-inches. Lift each piece and place it seam side down on the parchment lined baking sheet. All four pieces will fit on one sheet. Using damp hands, smooth out the dough if necessary, pressing lightly to flatten them a bit and line up the logs so they’re even. The straighter they are, the better they look, once they're baked.
- Refrigerate the prepared dough for about 15 minutes before baking. Place the baking sheet in the oven and turn the temperature down to 325°F. Bake 13 to 16 minutes or until the logs are barely turning color but the dough looks set. It will depress slightly when touched but it won’t feel like raw dough and should not be browned. Don’t be tempted to over bake these because it won’t turn into that familiar Newton. Let the logs rest in the pan for no more than 3 minutes. Using a small serrated or very sharp paring knife, cut the lengths into small 1½-inch long pieces. Make sure to slice very gently because the dough is fragile when warm. Place the pieces on a small cutting board or plate that fits inside a Ziploc bag. Seal the bag so that it immediately starts to look like the cookies are steaming. Leave them inside the bag for best results – it softens the cookies into that familiar cakey texture we all know and love. Best flavor if rested overnight but at least let them cool for a few hours. Keep stored in the same Ziploc at room temperature. Makes about 2 dozen awesome homemade Newtons.