Whole wheat fig cookies

I was that weird kid that loved Fig Newtons. I’m not sure why, but figs have always been really appealing to me, even after I learned that they tend to have dead wasps inside (but don’t worry, commercially grown figs are pretty much wasp-free. I still suggest you google fig wasps, though. It’s a co-evolutionary relationship that is pretty fascinating. Or maybe that’s just the biology teacher in me.)

Anyway. Fig Newtons are amazing, but homemade cookies are even better. I wanted to make a homemade version of Fig Newtons, preferably with whole wheat flour, and this is what I came up with. The whole wheat dough isn’t as cake-like as commercial Fig Newtons, but I still love these even if they look a little rustic. I used white whole wheat flour, but I’m thinking maybe next time I’ll use whole wheat pastry flour to see if that softens them up a little bit.

These aren’t completely healthy – they have a stick of butter and a fair amount of sugar (I use evaporated cane juice, which probably isn’t any healthier than regular granulated sugar, but it makes me feel better). I started with dried black mission figs, cooked them into a jam, and put that between two strips of dough. They bake quickly and are highly addictive!

Recipe:
(adapted from GroupRecipes)

makes about 18 cookies

fig filling
6 ounces dried black mission figs, chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice (or granulated sugar)

wheat dough
1/2 cup softened butter
1 tbsp milk (I used almond milk)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup evaporated can juice (or granulated sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups white whole wheat flour

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Soak the figs in the boiling water for about 20 minutes.
Stir in the sugar then cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes, or until it has a jam-like consistency. Set aside to cool.

Cream the butter in a stand mixer, then beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Gradually add the sugar and mix well. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and stir just until combined. Divide the dough in half.

Working on a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap, pat half the dough into a long, thin (approximately) 18″ x 3″ rectangle. Spread the fig filling down the center. On a separate sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap, make a similar rectangle and carefully place this on top of the dough with the fig filling. Press the edges together, then cut crosswise into 1″ lengths.

Place the cookies on a Silpat-lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until just beginning to brown.

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