I have a serious thing for figs. Always have. Always will. Ok, maybe not always will, but I can’t imagine what would happen to make me not love figs. Case in point: I used to give tours to temporary workers at a local manufacturing facility that makes Fig Newtons. Seriously. After a day at the factory (jewelry-less and covered in hair nets), everyone left smelling like figs. Most people found this sickening. Not me. I relished in it. I looked forward to my Thursday tour group days. That was the only thing that got me through those long three months of employment with that company. (“Why only three months?,” you may be wondering. I got fired. Thank God for small favors!)
My obsession with Fig Newtons (small, squarish fig cookies for those of you not familiar) started in childhood; they were one of my dad’s favorite treats. And, being a fairly obese child, a cookie was cookie; bring it on! Luckily (unluckily?!), I loved the flavor and Fig Newton’s quickly became one of my favorite cookies, too.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and I still love figs, and I still love Fig Newton’s (Newman’s makes an awesome version too!), but I don’t love the preservatives, HFC, gluten, and whatever other nasties are floating around in a bag of Newtons. What to do, what to do…I know, make a healthier, vegan version of my childhood figgy treat! Enter, Skinny Figgy Bars ala Fat Free Vegan Kitchen (which can also be found in the awesome cookbook Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas), which I made a few (dozen) times last year. But that was last year. This is this year, and this year I’m eating a bit higher on the raw spectrum, so I went back to the
drawing board food processor, and this is what I came up with.
Better Than Newtons
1/2 lb figs, de-stemmed (I use Turkish figs)
1/2 lb dates, pitted (I use Medjools)
1/4 c raw almond slivers (or raw almonds, crushed)
1 lemon, juiced (about 2 TBSP)
Optional: 1/4 tsp almond extract and/or pinch of sea salt
Place everything in a heavy-duty food processor and process until mixture begins to form a ball. Scoop giant tablespoons of mixture out of the food processor and roll into a ball. (Note: Mixture will be VERY sticky!) Then, you have a couple of options: either (a) place cookie balls on a dehydrator teflexx/paraflexx sheet, flatten, place on dehydrator tray, and dehydrate for one hour at 145F; then, reduce heat to around 110F and dehydrate another 2-4 hours or until desired firmness/tackiness; store cookies in the freezer or refrigerator, or (b) place cookie balls in a container and store in the freezer or refrigerator. Either option is delicious!
I shared one of these cookies with a co-worker who can’t eat chocolate, so I make a special point to share chocolate-free goodies with her, and she said the cookies were the best treat I’ve never shared with her — and she’s even paid for some of my treats before!