Cookie Kitchen

Homemade Fresh Fig “Newtons”

November 16, 2021
Jump to recipe

When Stuart Smalley (Al Franken) saves his family in Harold Ramis’ 1995 comedy of the same name, it’s not without setbacks–the worst of them overcome with the aid of those cakey little comforts: Fig Newtons. Sulking in his bedroom after a blowout with his nasty boss, Stuart’s friends plead with him to emerge, to which he replies: “Come back later, maybe when I’ve run out of Fig Newtons.”

We can certainly relate : )

But Stuart would be shocked to know that Fig Newtons—at least in name—no longer exist: Nabisco dropped the “fig” from the title in 2012. Simply calling the cookies Newtons was thought to be a better fit, since the cakey little treats now came in different flavors. Today, that’s everything from Triple Berry, to Sweet Peach and Apricot, to Apple & Cinnamon, although fig is the enduring favorite.

The famous fig filling goes all the way back to the 1880s when Philadelphia baker Charles M. Roser sold his recipe to Boston-based Kennedy Biscuit company (later acquired the companies that merged to form Nabisco.) Kennedy Biscuit named the cookies Fig Newtons, after the town in Massachusetts, and the bars became wildly successful.

While homemade fig fillings can be made with dried figs, we prefer to use fresh figs, cooked with lemon, for a fruitier, more-flavorful result. While it takes a little practice to get the knack of folding the pastry around the fig filling, the result is worth it. One thing you should know: Fresh baked, the pastry is crisp—stored in an air-tight container, it tenders up the day after you bake these into the “cakey” cloak you expect.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Leigh Krueger October 16, 2022 at 10:50 pm

    The recipe as written in 2017 (which I found and used in 2018) gave a much better explanation of the process of putting the cookie rolls together. It is a process potentially fraught with frustration as the doughs get warm while rolling cutting and filling. Maybe I’m just a slow worker but I had to come up with a way to handle the 3×14 sheets individually, putting the others back in the Fidge as I filled and rolled each one in turn. I rolled the initial 9×14 sheet out on greased parchment (not plastic) with a greased rolling pin, otherwise it stuck like crazy. Then, as you suggest I cut through the parchment to separate the 3×14 piece and put the other 3×14 rectangles back in the fridge while I deal with the one and get it on the baking sheet. I also would warn people to not put too much filling down the center line. More is not better. It just makes it difficult to close the tube and lends to the cookie “exploding” during baking. I have handwritten all my own reminders regarding the process, but I was just checking back looking for a new copy of the recipe.

    • Reply Monica Rogers November 28, 2022 at 4:51 pm

      Hi Leigh! Thanks very much for your comments! I went back in and tweaked the method description to make it easier for people. They are a little tricky, but once you have made the cookies, it all makes sense! –Monica

    Leave a Reply