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Recipe: Chef Kevin Belton's Homemade Fig Newtons

Tomorrow is National Fig Newton Day! We're celebrating one of my favorite cookies by making them at home.

NEW ORLEANS —

Filling

  • 8 ounces dried Turkish or Calimyrna figs, stemmed and quartered
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 lemon juiced

Crust

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Simmer the figs, apple juice and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the figs are very soft and the juice is syrupy, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let the mixture cool slightly. Puree the figs in a food processor with the lemon juice until the mixture has a thick jam consistency, about 8 seconds.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a parchment both directions, and then grease the paper.

Whisk the flours, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes.

Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined.

Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Reserve 1 cup of the dough for the topping!

Sprinkle the remaining dough mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer.

Bake the crust until just beginning to turn golden, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, roll the reserved cup of dough for the top crust between 2 sheets of greased parchment paper into an 8-inch square; trim the edges of the dough as needed to measure exactly 8 inches. Leaving the dough sandwiched between the parchment, transfer it to a baking sheet and place it in the freezer until needed.

Spread the fig mixture evenly over the crust. Unwrap the frozen, reserved top crust and lay it over the filling, pressing lightly to adhere.

Bake the bars until the top crust is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Let the fig bars cool completely in the pan, set on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Remove the bars from the pan using the parchment, cut into squares and serve.

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