The New Newton
First the Nillas, now the Newtons. Watch out, Nabsico, I’m after you.
I guess I must have grown up a Nabisco Kid. I can still hear the mid-1980s jingle: the rising intonation of the company name followed by the sweet little “bing,” just like, I always imagined, a faerie’s wand, putting just a little bit of magic into my favorite snack cookie. Little Debbie was cute, but she never stood a chance.
While the Keebler Elves kind of creeped me out, and I’ve always preferred Premium brand saltine crackers to Nabisco’s Club, the Fig Newton is, I believe, among the very best of the brand’s bunch. And while I can’t really sign off on the “fruit and cake” assessment, the classic Fig Newton is no ordinary cookie. Neither is my grown-up version of it, a revision and expansion of David Lebovitz’ Fig Cookie recipe in his gorgeous cookbook, Room for Dessert.
You will need a couple of hours from start to finish, which may be split over two days if you like. I suggest starting with the filling, and letting it reduce and thicken while you make the cookie dough. When both the filling and the dough are well chilled, you’ll want a good-sized, cool workspace upon which to roll out the dough and assemble the cookie logs. I like working on a lightly-floured pastry cloth, as the cloth makes transferring the log to a cookie sheet quite easy. When I set to making these the first time, I was somewhat intimidated at the notion of making a filled cookie, but they are really quite simple.
Then brush the edges with water. Fold one side up, then the other.
Next, just press the short ends together to seal off the log and transfer to a lined baking sheet.
Bake until golden, about thirty minutes. Cool; slice.