Anyone know why they call those bar cookies Fig Newtons?

The idea to bake cookies this morning wasn’t the result of an apple falling on  my head, although I was inspired by a fruit.

Guests often bring a hostess gift. This past Sunday evening, one family brought a jar of brevas and a container of arequipe.  Breva is the Spanish word for fig.  The Rochas like to eat the brevas alone or with arequipe, and they also have a bakery in their neighborhood that bakes the fruit into loaves of bread.

Rather than eat the candied, preserved fruit solo, I decided to think of another way to use them.  “Figs…Dates…why not make date pin-wheel cookies?” I thought.  But when I started Googling pictures and recipes, I saw some photos of Italian fig cookies.  “Hmm. Pretty fig newtons?” No, the recipe for the cookie dough is more of a pastry = chop the butter into the flour, mix it just enough to combine it and then chill.

Ingredients: Dough

2 c flour, 1/2 c white sugar, 2 t baking powder, 1/2 t salt, 1/2 c butter, 1 large egg, 1/4 c milk, 1 t vanilla, zest of one lemon

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl.  Cut the cold, cubed butter into the flour mixture. Use a pastry cutter, knife or fork until the mixture looks to have pieces about the size of corn kernels. . . maybe a little bit smaller. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk, vanilla and orange zest. Combine the two mixtures, kneading until just no longer dry. 

The recipe that I saw online said that you need to chill the dough for a minimum of 8 hours. However, I am not patient, so I stuck the dough in a plastic bag, flattened it and stuck it in the freezer for about one hour. The first four turned out well. I’m about to see if it is any different after the “correct” 8 hour wait.

Ingredients: Filling

5 jarred figs in juice, honey, cinnamon

Other recipes used dry figs, cloves, espresso, golden raisins, chopped nuts, whisky…you name it. So, feel free to adjust the ingredients to your taste and to what you have in your pantry.

Blend the ingredients together; chill the mixture in the refrigerator so that it can get a little bit thicker. You don’t want the filling to be so thin that it runs out from between the layers of dough.

After how ever many hours you’ve decided to wait… preheat the oven to 350*F ( I had to use 400* because of the altitude in Bogota).  Roll out the dough to…lets say, 1 cm thickness. Divide it into equal halves. Make a dent in the dough and spread 1 teaspoon of fig filling there. Repeat down a strip of dough. At this point, I was reminded of one method of making ravioli. Feel free to make whatever shape you want. Place the other half of the dough on top. Cut between each dent. Pinch the seams closed.

Place the cookies on a greased or non-stick baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes (Mine was less, again because of the altitude.). Remove the cookies from the sheet and place them on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes.  They are, of course, best warm. However, my second wasn’t bad this afternoon!

Categories: Cookies and Candy, Fruit | Leave a comment

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