Gluten Free Fig Newtons
I am currently devouring my new copy of gluten free girl by Shaun James Ahearn. This recipe is my adaption of her Fig Newton recipe, which is the rather bizarre name for a fig cookie which Americans would recognize from their childhood. Me, I never heard of em. Fig Rolls I do remember - those log shaped biscuits filled with tooth clogging, gluey fig jam and covered in a soft Farleys Rusk type exterior? I know they were supposed to be the healthy alternative, but I have a sneaking suspicion that our parents were kidding themselves there.
The biscuits pictured above in no way resemble Fig Rolls. If you are looking for something like that, I fear you may have stumbled across the wrong blog. They are a satisfying combination of gooey, dark figginess and moist, spiced cakey biscuit that yields pleasingly to your bite. The little seeds breaking under your teeth provide a nice contrast to the soft fudgy interior.
The combination of flours is up to you - I just used what I had - the ground rice gives a nice grainy texture, but you could also use a little fine polenta. Chestnut flour might work well (I plan to try it) and the original recipe uses sorghum flour, but I can't find that here yet. The key with gluten free flours is to mix as many types as possible together. You will get a more rounded flavour and better texture. I'm afraid I've given cup measures as the original is an American recipe - you can find them in any cook shop. Xanthan gum is a naturally produced gluten substitute - a little goes a long way.
Start the filling the night before:
8oz Dried Figs
1/2 cup Crab Apple Brandy or Calvados or Brandy and a big squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 cup of Pomegranate juice - or apple or grape juice
Remove the tough stalk and chop the figs roughly. Put them in a bowl and pour over the liquids. Leave to soak overnight and when you come to make the cookies, drain and puree the lot in a blender - adding some liquid only if it seems too stiff. You want thick jam, not gloop.
1/2 cup soft butter
2/3 cup palm sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp Xanthan gum
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a total of 2 1/2 cups of flour made up in my case like this:
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup ground rice
1/4 cup corn flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
In the food processor, blitz the butter and sugar until combined. Add the egg, vanilla and molasses and process again. The mixture won't look uniform, but have faith!
Sift all the dry ingredients left, into a bowl and then spoon into the processor. Pulse mix, scraping down a couple of times, until you have a very soft looking dough.
Flour the bowl and scrape the mixture into it, dividing it into two pieces. Put the dough into the fridge for at least an hour to firm up.
About 10 minutes before you plan to start assembling the biscuits, preheat the oven to 160C (fan assisted).
Take the dough out of the fridge and flour a clean surface well. Roll out one piece until it is about half an inch thick and put this on a baking parchment lined tray. Spoon the fig jam into the middle of this and spread out evenly, stopping an inch short of the edge, all the way round.
Roll out the other piece of dough the same size as the first and place on top of the fig jam. Crimp the edges shut with a fork.
Bake for about 40 minutes until the top has cracked a little and the edges are starting to brown.
Leave to cool for a good half an hour and then cut off the edges to square it up and cut into pieces. Leave to cool completely - whilst eating all the cut off edge pieces - and store in an airtight container.
Posted by Naomi Devlin