Homemade Fig Newtons

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 These homemade fig newtons are made with a gluten free vegan crust and no added sugar. Perfect snack to pack for kids! 

I can't think of a less appealing snack food than Fig Newtons. When I was a kid and attended afterschool daycare, they always served them as a snack. By the time my mom picked me up, I was basically starving. For elementary school Rachael, starvation was preferable to eating a "healthy" dessert with fruit.

Why create a homemade version of something I despise?  Party to clean out my freezer, which was packed with three containers of figs from the two fig trees in my mom's front yard. I made jam, I roasted them for salads, and even made a fancy dish of pan-seared chicken and figs. I was running out of ideas, and Fig Newtons were pretty obvious.

But mostly, I was curious to see if I could create a snack I actually love by making it from scratch. Mission accomplished.

Maybe it's the food snob in me talking here, but I have this theory that most people don't actually enjoy processed snack foods. Think about it like this - what if you went to a cute little cafe and ordered a freshly baked cookie but they served you a snack of chips ahoy cookies? Would you be satisfied? Or how about ordering a ham and cheese panini and getting a hot pocket? I doubt you'd pay the bill. How about being served a bowl of cheez-its instead of the cheese plate you ordered? Well, okay those are pretty damn good, I'll give you that, but you see what I'm saying.

I think most people eat these processed snack foods because tastewise, they're passable, but mostly, it's because they're convenient. Compare convenience foods to ones made from high quality ingredients, and they quickly lose their appeal.

Luckily, you can keep the convenience factor by starting habits like Sunday food prep. I quickly made these while marathoning on House of Cards and had enough to last through the work week. If you've never done Sunday food prep before, check out The Lean Green Bean, a fantastic RD blog, for inspiration!

Before you run to the kitchen to make these delish fig bars, check out this article I was featured in on Relish. A heart healthy menu I created was featured, along with menus from three other dietitians.  Relish is a fantastic site, so I'm so excited to be featured!  Check it out!

Homemade Fig Newtons
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: Makes 12
These don't taste exactly like the Fig Newtons you buy at the store - that's a good thing. The crust is denser and more pie-crust like. The filling isn't as sweet, but lets the flavor of the fruit shine through. I found the top layer of dough to be a little hard to work with, but don't take it from me because I find a way to mess up every pie crust I make. Try sprinkling the top with a little bit of a crunchy brown sugar, like turbinado, for extra texture.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh figs
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 7 tablespoons water
  • 1 3/4 cup oat flour (grind oats in the food processor to make your own), plus additional oat flour for rolling.
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Place figs, apricots, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a medium pot. Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes, mashing with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon every so often. When soft, mushy and jam-like in consistency, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix 3 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, set aside to swell for 5 minutes.
  3. Mix oat flour, almond meal, and pinch of salt in a large bowl. Mix in the coconut oil and chia gel with your fingers until well combined. Divide into two sections and roll into balls. Place one in the bottom of an medium, oiled baking dish and press down evenly to flatten. Spread fig jam across the crust. Roll the other piece of dough out flat on a floured surface. Place over the fig jam, pressing down to remove any trapped air. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.