Homemade Fig Newtons

Casey Barber

by Casey Barber on April 4, 2011

Guess what? An improved, updated version of this recipe can be found in my new cookbook Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats. Preorder it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local indie bookstore!

Ramona, her face shining with happiness, looked at her friends sharing the applesauce. “Those cookies are filled with worms. Chopped-up worms!” she gleefully told everyone.

“Why, Ramona!” Beezus was shocked. “They aren’t either. They’re filled with ground-up figs. You know that.” Ramona did not answer. Her mouth was full of fig Newtons.
Beezus and Ramona, by Beverly Cleary

Oh, Ramona. Despite being typecast as Beezus due to my older-sister status, I’ve always felt a kinship with you and your strong opinions on Fig Newtons.

homemade fig newtons

But when ReadyMade asked me to create a homemade version and taste-test it against the store-bought kind for the next Taste Off installment, I put all thoughts of minced wrigglers aside to develop a cookie combining the nostalgic lunchbox memories of the Newton and an adult appreciation of the savory, seasonal fig.

Luckily, the group of brainy ladies I recruited for the blind taste test are all Newtons aficionados. (Maybe that’s where I went wrong? Eat Fig Newtons, develop super brain powers, and make the world a better, more beautiful place? Sigh.) Pulling no punches in the name of truly objective reporting, the group came to some earth-shattering conclusions.

Whole grain and so-called “healthy” versions of Newtons are the crunchy camp counselors of the cookie world. While they earnestly broadcast their good intentions and virtuous ingredients with whole-grain crusts and actual seeds in the fig filling, the testing panel would rather hang out with the cool kids.

The satisfyingly old-school original Newtons took everyone right back to lunchboxes in the all-purpose room and after-school snack time (no word on whether said snack time also included friends who were as gleefully bossy as Ramona Quimby.)

And the homemade version, while sticking out from the bunch like a sticky thumb with their (slightly) unevenly spread filling, was a religious experience for a bunch of the tasters, giving them flashbacks to Hamantaschen and cakey Linzer-style Christmas cookies.

But what really sold the OG Newtons and the homemade cookies were the right balance between filling and crust—not too moist, not too dry, with a clearly defined textural contrast.

Click the image below for a full-size PDF of our Taste Off.

ReadyMade Fig Newtons Taste Off

FTC Disclosure: Good. Food. Stories. is an Amazon.com affiliate and receives a minuscule commission on all purchases made through Amazon links in our posts. If you'd like to support the site further, please use this link or click the Amazon links in the sidebar to make your purchases.

Previous post:

Next post: