I think these are absolutely delicious, and that's a lot coming from me because I never liked fig newtons. They're kind of time-consuming, but I think they're fun to make and definitely worth the effort.
Step 1: Ingredients
Here's where I found the recipe: http://grouprecipes.com/84230/old-fashioned-fig-newtons.html
(I modified it a bit though.)
For the dough:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/8 tsp baking powder
3/16 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
For the figgy filling:
1 cup figs (dry figs are okay too) finely chopped. (About 11 figs. I used 5.8 oz fig.)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp orange peel, orange zest, or lemon peel or lemon zest
I halved the original recipe, so some of the measurements are a bit funky.
Makes 26 1-inch fig newtons.
Step 2: Making the Dough
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the butter. You're really supposed to use a pastry blender to cut in the butter...but I just used my hands instead, and it worked out fine, and I didn't have to clean more kitchen gadgets. Mix until it looks like sand.
Whisk the eggs together in a bowl.
Reserve 4 teaspoons of the egg in a little bowl in the fridge. (You'll use it later for an egg wash.)
Mix the rest of the eggs into the dough and mix it all together. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for 2 hours...two antagonizing long hours.
Step 3: Making the Fig Filling
Combine the figs, orange juice, apple juice, cinnamon, sugar, and citrus peel in a saucepan or skillet.
I didn't have any juice, so I used a Capri Sun and topped it off with a little Crystal Light, and it worked out fine.
Heat over medium-high heat, stirring once in a while, until all the liquid is absorbed and the figs are sticky and reduced in volume.
Blend the figgy goo in a blender or food processor.
I was going to skip this step, because I thought, this goo is going to be impossible to clean out of the blender!
But I'm glad I did it anyways. It wasn't that hard to clean.
Blend the figs until they make a smooth paste. Mine was still a bit chunky, because my blender just couldn't handle those sticky figs, but that was okay in the end.
Put the fig filling in the fridge until the dough is ready to go.
Step 4: Rolling Out the Dough
Once your dough is sufficiently chilled, take it out of the fridge.
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Tape some plastic wrap to your kitchen counter. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
Divide the dough in half. Take one half of the dough and place it on the plastic wrap. Put another piece of plastic wrap on top, and roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it is fairly thin, about 1/8 inch.
Make the dough into a rectangle by cutting the edges with a ruler. Form a rectangle that is 6 inches by 13 inches.
(Although, in retrospect, it might have been better to do three thinner rolls, instead of two thick ones. Hmm.)
Remember those 4 teaspoons of egg leftover in the fridge? Get those out, and add a teaspoon or so of water.
Brush the egg wash on the outside edges of the dough-rectangle.
Step 5: Add the Filling
Get the fig filling from the fridge. (OOh, fun alliteration!)
Divide the filling in half.
Spoon half of the filling down the middle of the rectangle. Arrange it so it is evenly spread down the line. (I just used my fingers for this.)
If you want, you can gently flatten it with the rolling pin, just put some plastic wrap between the sticky filling and your rolling pin.
Step 6: Seal the Tubes
This part is a little tricky. Un-tape the plastic wrap from the counter. Lift one side of the plastic wrap and fold it over, so that the dough gets folded into the center. It's kind of hard to describe--see the pictures. Then, fold the other side over, so the filling is enclosed. Smear the seam together and seal the ends. Now you've formed a nice little fig newton tube!
This next part is tricky too.
Put some parchment paper onto a cookie sheet. Transfer the tube onto the cookie sheet. I used the plastic wrap and slid the tube onto my forearm, then flipped it onto the cookie sheet.
Repeat from step 4 for the other half of the dough and filling.
Brush the tubes with the rest of the egg wash.
Step 7: Bake and Eat
Bake for 15 minutes, until they're golden brown and not sticky to the touch at all. In fact, they should be quite firm.
Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for a few minutes.
Cut into 1-inch pieces, and resist eating them all in one go. Yay!