Fig Newtons don’t have figs in them… do they?!

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I’m pretty sure everyone has a fig newton memory.

Not necessarily a good one, mind you, but I’m sure there’s at least one stored away in those memory banks. Mine happen to be a positive ones… I looooved those little figgy cookies growing up. I liked to eat around the cakey outside first, and then eat the middle with tiny little nibbles (Strangely enough I did that with Madeline cookies too, I see a trend here?!). But probably if you’d have asked me if I liked figs, I would have turned my nose up in an unbridled look of disgust. Because I did I associate figs with fig newtons? Absolutely not. Does a fresh fig taste like the interior of a fig newton? Um… no.

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Luckily for me, liking figs had nothing to do with liking fig newtons. I was fairly well supplied with fig newtons as a child, and even into college when I became obsessed with the Whole Foods version of “healthier” figgy bars (and my mom would nicely send a box of them in my freshman care packages). I’m pretty sure I hadn’t eaten a real fig until I was (gasp) OUT of college. Whoops. Definitely didn’t do that on purpose. Hey, in my defense, I didn’t cross paths with figs very often (until now).

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Oh fig newtons, how full of processed crap you are! I want to like them from a nostalgic point of view, but seriously?! I tried a bite of one a while ago and almost spat it out. Fact: they taste like cardboard. Thanks, five kinds of corn syrup… you might enable these to last through the apocalypse, but you can’t make them taste like food! Oh wait. That’s right, they’re a food product, not a food.

BUT!

Lucky for you. THESE taste even better than a fig newton AND they’re made from real food and things you can pronounce. Wheeee!

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Vegan Figgy Bars

I got about 20 little bars out of this, that were slightly bigger than a conventional fig newton. Vegan, refined sugar free, and gluten free. What’s not to like? Oh and right, they’re delicious. Recipe slightly adapted from The Iron You, here!

  • 1.25 c almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4+1/8 c maple syrup
  • 1/8 c refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c (a good handful) dried figs*
  • 1/8 c lemon juice
  • 2 dates, chopped
  • 1 tbsp peach jam**
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

*my figs were SO dry, they were like small pebbles. I reconstituted them in a bit of boiling water for about 10 minutes, which made them soft enough not to kill my food processor.

**mine was flat peach, raspberry and vanilla (freaking delicious), courtesy of Anna!! Her blog is over here.

In a largeish bowl, combine almond flour and salt. In a slightly smaller bowl, stir together maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir until combined. The batter will be super runny, which is okay! Cover the bowl and pop it into the fridge for at least an hour, to let it solidify a bit.

In the bowl of your food processor, process figs until they’re more like a chunky paste. Add in lemon juice, dates, jam, and vanilla, and blend until combined. I tasted mine a few times along the way and adjusted as I went. Set the filling aside until the dough is done.

Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using two separate sheets of parchment, roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thickness. Use a knife to divide it into two roughly even rectangles, then spread the filling down the dough, slightly off center so there is enough dough to cover it back up. Use the parchment paper to roll the dough back over the filling, pressing the edges and the ends together to seal it off. Make them look pretty by smoothing with your fingers (you’re all alone in the kitchen, who’s to see?!)… then pop them into the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until they begin to brown. They should feel slightly firm to the touch in the center when they’re done. Let cool on the baking sheet before moving them, as they’re slightly delicate before they’re cooled. These keep best in the fridge!

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Milkshakes happen.

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Sooo…

I made cookies.

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And then I made a milkshake. With cookies. And Bailey’s.

Yes.

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(This was the other night. And then this morning I went to my favorite bodyrock class and now typing is difficult because my arms are shaky and already sore. Bahahah ooooh I love that class so much! See? It’s all about balance. Milkshakes one day, total and complete ass-kicking the next: this is how I roll)

Be jealous… be very, very jealous.

Luckily I had Vaccuum Vati around to test run the milkshake, just in case it was terrible. Except excuse me?! How could molasses-ginger cookies+ice cream+Bailey’s ever be terrible?! That’s right. It couldn’t.

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The cookies are fabulous on their own of course, and actually rather guiltless (Not that I think anyone should EVER associate guilt with food—I’m just using this as a handy turn of phrase. Food is love! Just indulge responsibly…). They are soft and chewy, with an amazing gingerbready-molasses kind of flavor, and actually really remind me of cookies my grandma used to buy when I was a kid: I liked taking three evenly spaced bites around the perimeter of the cookie to make it look like a dress. Yeah. Weird child, don’t even get me started. But whatever, they have a similar taste profile, at least as far as I remember. Apparently all my memory cells regarding that particular memory are taken up with the three evenly spaced bites (I don’t even remember what brand they were…).

Anywayyy, moving on. Make these! Your body will thank you for the nutrients, and your brain will thank you for tricking it into thinking you’re totally indulging. When you’re really not. Unless you choose the milkshake option, which you totally should. Obviously.

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Molasses Ginger Cookies

The recipe comes from Running to the Kitchen, here! I made only a few slight changes (mostly just flour), but mine did this weird spreading thing. Can’t say I particularly minded, since I obviously have a thing for enormous cookies the size of my face. I got 11 palm-sized, really flat cookies.

  • 3/4 c almond flour (I ground almonds in my food processor until fine)
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 c chopped dark chocolate

These cookies need to chill for at least 2 hours, so keep that in mind before you mindlessly preheat the oven like me.

In a mediumish bowl, combine almond flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt, and stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, molasses, honey, vanilla, and egg. Add wet into dry, toss in chocolate shards, and stir until just combined. Cover the bowl and stick it into the fridge for at least an hour and a half, preferably more like 2.

Now you can preheat the oven to 350 (you impatient little minx), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.¬†When the dough is thoroughly chilled, drop the cookies onto the prepared cookie sheet, using your fingers to smooth them into nicer-looking shapes. My dough was very sticky, so I advise using spoons rather than attempting with your fingers. Leave enough space between your cookies to allow them to spread, as mine did—or rather, as mine morphed into a giant cookie amoeba. Ridiculously tasty, but they ended up with some flat edges, hhehe. Bake for 8-10 minutes (mine went for 10), then let cool on the sheet for about 5 before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Store in a plastic container between wax paper to retain their chew!

you see what I did there??
you see what I did there??

If you care to try the milkshake (which you most definitely should…), blenderize a cookie, a few blobs of vanilla ice cream (good quality, please), and a healthy glug of Bailey’s. Serves… one. Don’t plan on sharing: trust me, you won’t want to.

oops, caught in the act
oops, caught in the act

Don’t be judgy, it was delicious!