Whole Wheat Fig Newtons

by jenna on December 29, 2010

First, can I tell you that these are my new favorite cookies to date? They really, really are.

It all started last month when I ventured into Healdsburg one afternoon to take photos at local “french looking” bakeries for my macaroon video. Naturally, I worked up an appetite taking photos of baked goods and stopped at Downtown Creamery for a little snackie snack.

It was there that I tried the infamous jumbo fig newton.

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo because I polished off all five pounds of that very large cookie in about thirty seconds, but I left with a mission.

I would recreate these fig newtons at home and share them with the world!

Lucky for me, I found the Downtown Bakery fig newton recipe online. I modified it a bit and the results were fabulous!

Finally, a delicious healthy cookie! Don’t mind the ridiculous amount of butter and sugar, and instead focus on the whole wheat flour, which give these soft cookies an almost nutty taste.  Mmm fiber.

And to think, I always hated fig newtons when I was little. I only “rediscovered” them in college after watching the original Parent Trap for the millionth time and having a newton epiphany.

Help. I’m trapped in 1961 and I can’t get out.

These homemade fig newtons are very easy to make and the most annoying part is having to chill the dough for a few hours prior to rolling, filling and baking. Sometimes I cheat and don’t chill dough even though the recipe calls for it, but with these you really have to—the dough is super soft. Maybe next time I’ll try a different fruit filling and try to replicate old school nutri-grain bars, another classic favorite of mine.

Whole Wheat Fig Newtons

makes about 40 cookies

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

3 ounces butter, softened

1/2 cup + 2 T brown sugar, packed

1 T cream (I used half and half)

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

for filling:

2 cups dried figs, stems chopped off

about 3 cups apple juice

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Cream together the brown sugar and butter. Add the cream and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, beating after each addition.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add to the butter and sugar mixture and mix until a soft dough forms (be careful not to over-mix). Turn dough out onto a floured countertop and form a smooth ball. Let chill in fridge for 2-4 hours, or overnight.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Place the figs in a saucepot and cover with apple juice. Let sit for 15 minutes. Add sugar and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool and puree figs and juice together.

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut dough ball into two parts and keep the part you’re not using in the fridge. Roll out one part into a large rectangle (see above photo). Carefully pick rectangle up and put on a lined baking sheet. Spoon about a half cup of fig puree down the center of the rectangle, being sure to save room around all edges. Fold top and bottom down over the middle of the rectangle and let the edges barely overlap. Fold the outer edges of the rectangle in and pinch together. Repeat with other piece of dough.

Bake for twenty five minutes, until golden. Let cool before slicing into newtons.

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

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{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen December 29, 2010 at 5:14 am

Love this – everytime I pass Fig Newtons in the store I am so tempted to buy…now I’m tempted to bake. I like that option more!

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megan @ whatmegansmaking December 29, 2010 at 5:24 am

Wow, they look awesome! I haven’t had fig newtons in ages. Although I also love the parent trap movie :) Way to go re-creating them.

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Tina December 29, 2010 at 5:27 am

The original parent trap is the best. I don’t know why anyone would ruin it with TWO Lindsay Lohans. As if one of her wasn’t bad enough!

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is December 29, 2010 at 5:29 am

Since figs are one of my favorite foods, I must try these.

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Lauren at KeepItSweet December 29, 2010 at 5:32 am

i have a weird obsession with fig newtons… i NEED to make these!!

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jenna December 29, 2010 at 5:40 am

oh my heavens!! I love fig newtons like crazy!

:) i used to love the parent trap!

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Kristin December 29, 2010 at 5:41 am

I just have to say, that the original Parent Trap is one of the greatest movies of all time! Oh I loved it when I was little! Must. watch. now. Fortunately I’m at my parents’ for the holidays and I’m pretty sure we have it on VHS hidden somewhere around here…..Jenna the figgies look great too!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 29, 2010 at 5:43 am

Fig Newtons were one of my favourite cookies growing up!!! These look so good…and very customizable too.

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Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun!) December 29, 2010 at 5:44 am

Those are beautiful!

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Estela @ Weekly Bite December 29, 2010 at 5:46 am

You just won my heart over!! Whole Wheat Fig Newtons are my favorite! I’ve been dying to make them. Thank You :)

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sofia December 29, 2010 at 5:49 am

ah, i love the old parent trap! “can you only think of your stomach at a time like this?!” yes, that’s the only thing i can think of. always.

and this looks like a baking recipe i can actually get my head around. i like simplicity. like, summer camp simplicity when you don’t meet long lost twins. yep.

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Tessa December 29, 2010 at 5:50 am

YUM !

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Krystina (Basil & Wine) December 29, 2010 at 5:51 am

These are what regular Fig Newtons wish they could be.

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Blog is the New Black December 29, 2010 at 5:54 am

Fig newtons are SO underrated. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 29, 2010 at 5:55 am

Fig newtons are by far one my favorite cookies and I love the original parent trap. Must recreate these!!

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Megan December 29, 2010 at 5:56 am

Love the throwdown on the Parent Trap– it was my absolute favorite growing up. My best friend and I actually memorized the song and dance routine and did it as a show in the back yard :) I’m so glad you had a newton epiphany. These look amazing!

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jenna December 29, 2010 at 6:02 am

yesss parent trap dance routines are a must!

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Stacy @ Every Little Thing December 29, 2010 at 6:01 am

I always forget that I actually like fig newtons! Thanks for reminding me :)

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Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day December 29, 2010 at 6:09 am

Brilliant! My kids love Fig Newtons.

The Parent Trap.. I never saw the movie, but it was one of my very favorite books. I must have read it 500 times. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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Brittney December 29, 2010 at 6:11 am

So cool how you’ve been making your own versions of some of my favorite cookies (oreos, now fig newtons)! Can’t wait to see what you do next ;)

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sisters running the kitchen December 29, 2010 at 6:27 am

I grew up eating fig newtons…so good! these look delicious. definitely going to bookmark this recipe :)

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Anne December 29, 2010 at 6:35 am

I don’t know which is more scary – their hair cuts or their voices. Thanks for sharing the recipe (and the clip!) :-)

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Fi December 29, 2010 at 6:36 am

check this out!, we have fig rolls not fig newtons, but theyre pretty much the same i think!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOWbtaCuTl0

now i know how :)

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R @ Learning As I Chop December 29, 2010 at 6:38 am

Those look delicious! Fig Newtons are my favorite “healthy” go-to cookie

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jassy December 29, 2010 at 6:39 am

mouth-watering! :)

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Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes December 29, 2010 at 6:46 am

i love fig newtons! this is gonna be fun…I just know it!
Wait, these don’t count as cookies, right?
Because I’m totally making them this week yet, and I previously swore off on all things cookie for at least a month! ;)
love,
cathy b. @ brightbakes

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Kelly December 29, 2010 at 6:49 am

I love fig newtons and strawberry newtons…oh and nutrigrain bars…I am a self admitted carb addict! I am going to make these…my husband will be thrilled! I also successfully made homemade poptarts…delish!

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Baking 'n' Books December 29, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Homemade Pop-Tarts? For real?!

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Erin (Travel Eat Repeat) December 29, 2010 at 6:49 am

Let’s be friends. A shared love of books, good food + wine AND The Parent Trap? Totally meant to be. ;)

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Gabby (Quest for Delicious) December 29, 2010 at 6:51 am

Ohh they look lovely! I was the same way when I was little – I hated fig newtons! Then I too had a newton epiphany. I feel like they’re quite sophisticated. Then I see this commercial and am urged to think otherwise.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klhLmoA2fks

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Melissa December 29, 2010 at 6:52 am

Fig Newtons are so delicious, yet I never think of them as a cookie to make myself. Thanks for sharing this recipe…I know what I’ll be making this weekend.

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jenna December 29, 2010 at 6:59 am

oh my gosh, that’s so amazing that I just added it into the end of the post!!

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Lauren December 29, 2010 at 6:57 am

These look awesome and so easy to make.

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Felicia (a taste of health with balance) December 29, 2010 at 7:02 am

Awesome. I haven’t had a fig newton in forever!

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Camille December 29, 2010 at 7:02 am

I love Fig Newtons! For some reason, it still shocks me how unhealthy the packaged version is. I feel like it should be healthier! Yours looks tastier anyway!

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J- December 29, 2010 at 7:08 am

Try date squares sometime.
No such thing as too much sugar and butter!

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Heather (Heather's Dish) December 29, 2010 at 7:11 am

i’ve always loved fig newtons but never thought to make them myself! what a fabulous idea :)

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Nora December 29, 2010 at 7:22 am

I LOVE fig newtons!! Totally going to try this!

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Lacey @ Lake Life December 29, 2010 at 7:24 am

I just watched The Parent Trap the other day! The original is so much better than the remake, though oreos and PB are a good combo :-)

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Laura December 29, 2010 at 7:31 am

Oh my goodness gracious! I saw this post as I was laying on my yoga mat putting off doing yoga and knew I wouldn’t be able to make it through the day without eating these. My dough is currently in the fridge. These next four hours are going to be brutal!

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jenna December 29, 2010 at 7:34 am

awesome!!! Let me know how they are!

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Jackie December 29, 2010 at 7:31 am

First peppermint patties and now THIS? You are taking me right back to 1989! Fraggle Rock, Polly Pocket, New Kids on the Block….ooooh 80′s. I love you.

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jenna December 29, 2010 at 7:34 am

fraggle rock!!!!

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Aliciaa December 29, 2010 at 7:39 am

Fig newtons are a true childhood favorite! What a great idea to make your own — these look so good!

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Steph@stephsbitebybite December 29, 2010 at 7:42 am

I’ve got to make these!

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Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic December 29, 2010 at 7:45 am

Wow Jenna you come up with the best goodies!! I also had an aversion to fig newtons when I was younger but somehow they found their way back into my life. I agree that anything made with whole wheat cancels out any butter and sugar involved.

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Clare @ Fitting It All In December 29, 2010 at 7:59 am

OH my gosh fig newtons remind me of Kindergarten snack time. And so glad to have a healthy version — the regular kind have all kinds of weird junk.

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Lida (Octopus Gourmet) December 29, 2010 at 7:59 am

Jenna, thank you, THANK YOU, for attempting a recipe that’s been on my to-do list for a long time.
Finally, a wholesome dessert that doesn’t have sprinkles/ frosting
(No disrespect intended, I just like cookies you can eat for breakfast).
Another goal of mine has been to recreate the vegan linzer cookies from this one cafe– they have whole wheat pastry flour, agave, and raspberry jam, but the cafe refuges to divulge the secret. any ideas?

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Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} December 29, 2010 at 8:04 am

If I wasn’t going on a complete sugar detox I would totally make these because they look amazing. YUM.

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Moni'sMeals December 29, 2010 at 8:12 am

these are fantastic!

Brilliant Jenna. :)

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Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks December 29, 2010 at 8:32 am

Awesome! I love Fig Newtons…and The Parent Trap! <3

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Rachel @ The Avid Appetite December 29, 2010 at 9:10 am

Absolutely love figs! And more importantly, absolutely love The Parent Trap (the original, NOT the Lindsey Lohan version!)

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Kylie @ A Hungry Spoon December 29, 2010 at 9:16 am

This recipe looks fantastic–I’m marking it in my “To Bake” file :) I agree with your comment on the under-appreciation of fig newtons. I always thought they were “old people” cookies when I was little, but I’ve found a renewed interest as an adult!

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Paige @ Running Around Normal December 29, 2010 at 9:22 am

Oh no you didn’t!!! Those look fabulous. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had a Fig Newton? I think I need to try a Fig Jenna ;)

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AshleyH December 29, 2010 at 9:26 am

I have been waiting a ridiculously long time for you to do this recipe. I opened your blog this morning and thought “finally!” Subconsciously wishing for certain recipes totally normal.

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Katie @ www.princessofpavement.com December 29, 2010 at 10:09 am

I love the original Parent Trap! Thanks for that, I may spend the remainder of my workday (7 hours) watching more clips :D

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Amber K December 29, 2010 at 10:24 am

Aw I have seen the Parent Trap sooo many times. Gotta love Hayley Mills.

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Katherine: Unemployed December 29, 2010 at 10:41 am

I have never seen a recipe for Fig Newtons but am SO glad to see it’s possible. I would love some fig newtons in my life but have yet to find any packaged ones in store that I can agree with the ingredients over.

THANK YOU for sharing this recipe. major keeper!

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) December 29, 2010 at 11:32 am

Parent Trap…love that movie!

And real figs. And real homemade from scratch fig newtons…oh, this is a dream come true! :)

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Nora@LifeLifeEatRight December 29, 2010 at 1:50 pm

BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! I always think of my grandma when I see fig newtons. She used to feed them to me like they were vegetables (well, technically figs are fruits…). These just look so right. My mouth is actually watering, I’m so glad you posted this!

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Floey December 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Ah! I used to always want fig newtons (and PB with oreos) after watching that movie! It was def. my fave growing up :) !!!

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Shannon December 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I have a jar of fig-cocoa spread in the fridge that I’ve been itching to put to good use (err, better use than eating it by the spoonful). I’m pretty sure that the only way I’d enjoy fig newtons more is through the addition of chocolate.

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Heidi - Apples Under My Bed December 29, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Delicious! I’ve never tried fig newtons before. They seem totally scrumptious!
Heidi xo

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin December 29, 2010 at 6:34 pm

I love the original Parent Trap! “Let’s get together yeah yeah yeah…”

Also I love Fig Newtons. :D

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Lynna December 29, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Sometimes I get fig newton cravings (I may be 80 years old). Does it matter what kind of figs you use? Are yours black mission?

Thanks for the recipe, after all my xmas cookies are gone I’ll have to give these a shot.

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Justeen @ Blissful Baking December 29, 2010 at 10:44 pm

i haven’t had a fig newton in YEARS. these homemade ones look so much tastier than storebought!

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Maria @ The Fitted Apron December 30, 2010 at 4:04 am

The newtons look pretty good. Too bad I only have fig left :(

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Natalia - a side of simple December 30, 2010 at 7:59 am

Jenna, my only words for you are “let’s get together, yeah yeah yeah!”

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Trish December 30, 2010 at 6:43 pm

This recipe really caught my eye. Yum! They sound delicious. I didn’t get into fig until a few years ago and can’t believe what I was missing all this time. I’m bookmarking this special recipe. Oh, and thanks for the Dry Creek Kitchen recommendation. We went this past Saturday to celebrate my hubby’s birthday and it was perfect. Happy New Year.

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allie p January 8, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Mission accomplished!
Made these and tweaked the filling: 1 cup fig, 1/2 cup cherries, 1/2 dates.
(note: should have used chopped dates, as pitted dates have a skin that starts peeling off when you are simmering, I went ahead and fished those out and peeled them with paring knife.)
I also found it helpful to turn dough out of mixing bowl onto a nice size piece of cling wrap, made ball shaping, then eventual rolling out and moving to cookie sheet easy.
Sweetie who doesn’t like “healthy” cookie just polished his third “new” newton.

Thanks for having a “snackie snack” and doing the research!

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Lida (Octopus Gourmet) January 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Sad. I just completely failed at these. They smell and taste fine and all that, but I couldn’t squeeze the filling in at all! Maybe I couldn’t roll the crust out thinly enough or something (it was falling apart), because they’re more like thick dough with only a tiny bit of fig in the center :(
I’ll just have to try again, because they look so good. Any advice?

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jenna January 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm

really??! Oh no! did you let the dough sit in the fridge for a few hours? I spread the filling down the center because it was so thick..and then just folded over the sides. I’m sorry it was a fail!!

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Nicole January 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I LOVe newtons. My high school students earned themselves a cookie party on Thursday and one of them mentioned how good Strawberry Newtons are, and I remembered seeing this post the other day! So I told them I’d attempt to make home-made strawberry newtons.

Question: to make them strawberry, should I jst substitute in strawberry jam? And if so, how much to equate to the amt of fig filling you make?
Thanks!!

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S. Lynn January 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

I tried these last week. I substitute 1/2 cup oat bran for some of the flour. They turned out great. Hit at work. And everyone said how it “helped” them the next day.

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jenna January 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm

great! The oat bran tip is good to know!

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Lynna January 23, 2011 at 8:51 pm

I made these about a week ago and just posted about them on my blog. I made a couple of changes such as using more whole wheat flour (2 cups) and less white (1/2 cup). They turned out really well! Thanks for the recipe.

Here’s the link to my post if anyone’s interested: http://amourpetitgateau.blogspot.com/2011/01/whole-wheat-fig-newtons.html

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Liz Jacquart February 4, 2011 at 9:17 pm

LOVE the newtons… made them with apricots instead because I couldn’t find figs at the store I was at! oh, and I love the parent trap! I have seen in more than a handful or two times and still can’t get over the “Happy” feeling it gives! :)

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Shannon February 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Just made this recipe. Having survived being a camp counselor for five summer on “newts” I was eager to try and make my own– and was NOT disappointed! SO delicious! I didn’t have any apple juice (who doesn’t have apple juice?! I guess I’m that girl now) but used some homemade applesauce instead. Turned out great and now I have a bit left over for pancake topping tomorrow morning!
Thanks for the great recipe!

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Kasey February 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I just went to Downtown Bakery this past weekend and experienced their delicious fig newton. I am really looking forward to making these at home. Ohhhh yessss.

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Kathleen Hartung August 26, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Love this recipe idea! I made the dough the night before I baked the cookies and the process seemed quick and easy the next day, all I did was make the filling and bake–I ate 3 for my dinner! I added 1/4 c. oat bran, 2 T ground flax seed, used 1 T sour cream insead of cream, only 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 2 T of baking powder instead of 1, and used part butter and oil. Add a bit of water if the dough isn’t soft. For the filling, I cooked 1/2 lb figs with no sugar (they are already sweet) well covered with water until soft. I blended them with 1/4 cup no sugar applesauce for a soft jam texture. Soooooo delicious and nutritious!!

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LaurenAR February 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm

How would I make strawberry filling for these? I’m a strawberry newton addict.

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Ashley June 26, 2012 at 10:23 am

I hate to be that annoying gluten free girl, but does anyone have any suggestions on how one might make these gluten free? I love fig newtons and miss them so much since discovering I can’t eat gluten!

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Sarah August 21, 2012 at 6:44 pm

These look so yummy! My husband just brought home about 5 cups of fresh figs (from his boss’ fig tree) and I need to do something wonderful with them… Do you think a) using fresh figs would work okay, and if so, how much would you recommend and b) do you think I could use applesauce in place of apple juice in the filling ingredients?

Thanks!

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Nikki November 12, 2012 at 3:37 pm

These look delicious! What would you do different if you wanted to change the filling, like apricot, strawberry etc? Would you follow the same instructions, just a different fruit?

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The Lone Runner July 15, 2013 at 5:30 pm

I made these with my toddler daughter and we had a blast! They are healthy and delicious!! Your recipes are so easy to follow and consistently come out amazing! I rarely comment on your page, but I am a regular to your site! Keep the good stuff coming :) (congrats on your marriage!!!)

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Victoria R July 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Hi Jenna,

My dough seemed a bit crumbly as I was rolling it out so not too sure if I did something wrong there. Also, the measurements seemed to make about double the filling than needed for the recipe. I feel like I did something wrong there again?

Thanks for a great recipe and all your inspirational blogging words!

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Kathy November 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm

I made these with dried cranberries instead. Oh and I used cran grape juice. They are sweet and tart. I can’t wait to use all sorts of crazy fruit combinations. Blackberry would be great.

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Stephanie Bezner April 29, 2014 at 3:56 pm

I finally made these after printing the recipe off years ago. They are totally worth the effort – my “rectangles” were much wider, so they looked different than newtons, but the taste is spot on. I like a lot of fig filling, so I put about 3/4 cup or so of filling in each rectangle. It meant that I had less leftover fig paste (this really makes 2x the fig paste needed), but the cookies are so moist and figgy!

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