Fig Keplers

December 17, 2013
3 Ratings
  • Makes about thirty 2-inch cookies
Author Notes

This recipe grew out of a need to satisfy cravings for my favorite childhood cookie. I knew that if I went to the store and simply bought a package of Fig Newtons, I would probably be disappointed, as taste memories always seem to be more vibrant than the food they were inspired by. But I had a hunch that homemade Fig Newtons might just live up to my nostalgia-fueled expectations.
Boy do they ever. Soft and slightly chewy with the pleasant pop of tiny fig seeds in the filling, these figgy lovelies manage not only to outshine the cookie that inspired them, they're good enough to make new memories.
The idea to "steam" the cookies in a plastic bag comes from the lovely BraveTart of Serious Eats renown. May we all aspire to be as ingenious. —petitbleu

What You'll Need
  • For the cookie dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Zest of one orange
  • For the fig filling:
  • 1 pound dried figs, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest and beat until combined.
  4. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well blended. The dough will be very soft. Scoop it out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disc, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine the figs and water in a medium saucepan. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and allow the water to boil until the figs have absorbed it. If your figs are very dry and tough, you may need to use more water and simmer longer to get the figs to soften.
  6. Transfer the figs to a food processor and pulse, scraping down the bowl occasionally, until the mixture is completely smooth. Allow the filling to cool.
  7. Preheat the oven to 325?F. Place a large piece of parchment on your work surface and flour it liberally. The dough is very soft. Divide the chilled dough into 4 pieces. Place one piece of dough on the parchment and return the others to the refrigerator.
  8. Shape the piece of dough into a rectangle by squaring it on the work surface (tap the 4 sides on the surface until they form a rectangle). Roll the dough, stopping frequently to make sure it isn't sticking to the parchment, into a long rectangle, about 4 inches wide by 12 inches long. Be vigilant about lifting up the dough and reflouring it to prevent sticking. This will make life easier as you go.
  9. Scoop the fig filling into a pastry bag or a plastic zip-top bag with one corner cut off. Pipe the filling in a 1-inch strip down the center of the dough rectangle. You may need to flatten the filling a bit -- it's easier to do this if you dip your fingers into some water first. Fold one side of the dough over the filling, then the other. Press down on the seam to close it. Using the parchment, flip the cookie roll over, seam-side down. Brush any excess flour off the parchment and transfer it gingerly to a baking sheet and refrigerate while you repeat this step with the other 3 pieces of dough.
  10. Bake for about 16 minutes or until the dough is no longer tacky and has begun to brown around the edges.
  11. While the cookie rolls are still warm, either transfer them to a cutting board (a large spatula helps) or cut them directly on the baking sheet. Cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch cookies. You may need to wipe off your knife every so often -- the filling is rather sticky at this point.
  12. Immediately place the cookies in a single layer inside a plastic zip-top bag and close the bag. This seems counterintuitive, but in order to keep the cookies soft, like the real thing, they need to steam. Cool the cookies completely. Remove them from the bags and place in an airtight container. They can be kept, at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • OdaO
  • jamie munal
    jamie munal
  • frog
  • Panfusine
  • suzanne
A southern girl with a globetrotting palate, I work alongside my husband John Becker to update and maintain the Joy of Cooking cookbook, website, and app. I love to bake, ferment, and preserve, and I spend an inordinate amount of time perusing farmers markets and daydreaming about chickens and goats.

22 Reviews

OdaO November 8, 2015
Oh, these must be as close as can get to my favorite cookies, from my local health store, when I lived in Canada.. perhaps they were called Fig Newton, I do not recall. But the memories of the cookies have been haunting me for over twenty years. Only the last few years have I been culinary interested, and this recipe may save me from experimenting. Really cannot wait to try these! Blessings..
jamie M. April 21, 2014
moema, they do spread out so space them a bit..
Moema April 18, 2014
I made the dough and filling and will be preparing and baking these tomorrow! Any tips or advice would be great!! Happy Baking!!
Ceege March 30, 2014
Brenda - to find your saved recipes, go to top of page. On right side is a picture of head/shoulders. Click on that, then click on recipe collections. That should take you right to your recipes. I keep mine in folders, i.e. Breakfast, Cookies, Veggies, etc. It makes it easier to find when looking for your recipe rather than scroll through the complete list.
Halah March 26, 2014
They taste wonderful but the dough spread a lot. I don't know what I did wrong beside thinking that the temperature of the oven is too low. they don't look great but taste excellent
Alexa February 23, 2014
I don't like store bought Fig Newtons but these are awesome!!!

I used half white & half while wheat flour and had to bake longer (about 25 min).

Next time I'll let assembled rolled chill in the fridge for 20 min or so to see if they spread less.
sharon E. February 6, 2014
I skipped a breath when I saw this recipe! Loved eating them as a child. I've never commented on recipes in the past, but had to this time. I made these and amp'd them up in a way that you should absolutely try...really. I followed the dough directions as written. BUT, regarding the filling I made slight but yummy, yummy changes. After boiling/pureeing my dried Turkey Mission Figs, they lacked sweetness. I added the following. I didn't measure, just eye-balled it. I added approx. 1/3 cup of finely chopped crystalized ginger and 1/3 cup of quality ready-made fig jam. I'm telling you, it makes all the difference. Try it.
Just a note, the dough recipe is soft. Don't worry. when it bakes, it may spread a bit and not look much like a log. No worries, just slice into newton type squares. Tastes just as good. Please comment if you add ginger and jam. I want to read your reviews. We luuved the change.
jamie M. January 22, 2014
I am s survivor of throat cancer and could no longer eat the store bought fig sandwiches (to dry) and have missed them... For me this is a home run because they are moist enough to swallow. Thanks.. from a guy who has missed fig sandwiches. I agree with Anne. it wasn't bad to work with but I wasn't prepared for the spreading. It didn't spread all that bad just leave 2 inches between each log. I should have known better but that was my error. Orange zest really works. also agree with the other post. Great instructions
AnneHD January 17, 2014
I tried this recipe last weekend. I like that it has no added sugar in the filling, which would be totally unnecessary. I had no trouble shaping the cookies ; the dough was actually quite pleasant to work with. However, even though I refrigerated the dough for almost a full day and the shaped cookies for more than two hours, it spread a lot while baking. The cookies were still very good, but they looked nothing like the picture, unfortunately. Could the baking powder ratio be too high? It is at least higher than that of the Flour Bakery recipe for homemade Fig Newtons (which I never tried, I have to say).
frog January 15, 2014
Fig Newtons are named for the town in Mass., not Sir Isaac. Certainly laws of Gravity and Laws of Planetary Motion have a link, but I fail to see the connection to a fig cookie.
Panfusine January 15, 2014
you had me rolling with giggles at the 'Kepler'.. that is a classic 'astronomer' pun! love the title!
CinfulAZ January 13, 2014
Has anyone made these subbing in half whole grain flour (for all-purpose) and half applesauce (for the butter)? Will they/did they hold together without the full butter specified here? Thanks!
AllMixedUp January 17, 2014
I made these subbing whole wheat pastry flour for half the flour and olive oil for half the butter. The dough spread a bit in the oven, but they were still delish.
suzanne January 12, 2014
Is it possible to make them with fresh figs?
Melanie J. June 14, 2017
I too am interested in feedback on this. I have a fig tree that's producing big time and I'm running out of recipes. Holler if y'all need fig butter!
pamelalee January 12, 2014
i just made these this afternoon for my husband who loves fig newtons. They were a success…much better, in fact! We like the touch of orange zest, and the nice, soft texture. Great instructions.
Mark January 12, 2014
What type of figs are used?
frog January 12, 2014
Why are they named "Keplers"?
Brenda January 10, 2014
How do I find my saved recipe?
EmilyNunn January 9, 2014
Oh, thank you! I am so happy to see this recipe I could cry. I AM crying. I can't wait to make them. (I'm not really crying.)
Megan January 7, 2014
These look delicious! And I love the name ;)
Sarah|PickledCapers January 2, 2014
These look amazing! Am I right in thinking that the cookie part is more like a soft butter cookie than the boring cakey one from the store? That is brilliant!