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Maybe there are people out there who do not give a fig, but Dawn Meyer does. She gives a fig about figs — and everything else. Since joining Kitchen Conservatory in 1999 and working a variety of positions (kitchen assistant, store manager, webmaster, culinary instructor, sales associate), Dawn has cared deeply about quality. Her popular cooking classes reflect her attention to detail and a passion for delicious food (don’t miss her cupcake class on September 1).

Naturally, Dawn gives a fig about fig newtons. Real pastry, real fig filling, warm out of the oven. If your mental image of fig newtons is locked in a sealed carton, try these tempting pastries.

Fig Newtons

1 pound dried Black Mission figs, halved and stem cut off

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

3 cups flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon milk

Combine the figs and 2 cups water in a saucepan and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until almost all the water has been absorbed and the figs are very soft, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree the figs in a food processor. Add the vanilla and set aside.

Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in the flour mixture just until blended. With floured hands, gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about an hour.


Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Gently roll one piece out on a lightly floured surface to form a strip about 15 inches long and 5 inches wide. Spread ½ cup of the fig puree down the center of the dough. Fold the long sides of the dough toward the center, slightly overlapping to enclose the filling. Cut in half and slide the dough, seam side down, onto a lined cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Lightly brush the egg mixture over the surface of the dough. Bake at 350º until the edges are browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheets. Use a sharp knife to cut crosswise into cookies.

Note: I did once make these cookies with a jam made from fresh figs. Totally gooey and totally delicious!