I never really cared for fig newtons when I was younger because I thought of them as a knock-off, healthy version of a cookie. Store-bought fig newtons actually aren’t healthy at all, but they are delicious. Once I start eating them, I usually can’t stop until I’ve eaten the entire sleeve.
Last week when I was picking up a few groceries, I saw a package labeled “date paste.” The only ingredient in it was pitted dates. It was sort of like a solid block of blended dates, intended for baking. My dad has always called dates “figs,” so my first thought was to use this as a substitute in the newton filling. This does not have to be prepackaged. You can remove the pits from your own dates and blend them up to form this same paste.
Fig newtons usually have a zesty orange flavor in the crust, but since I used a banana in place of an egg, I didn’t add in any orange zest. Instead, I added spices to the filling that typically go with banana bread–cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. This tastes like banana date bread that I have made in the past and is so delicious when it’s served warm and fresh out of the oven.
Banana Bread Date Newtons
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 ripe banana
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover and soak dates with water for about an hour, until soft.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract.
3. Mash the banana and add it into the mixing bowl to incorporate.
4. Slowly add in the flour until a dough forms.
5. Break the dough into two separate balls. Roll them each out into about 12×4 inch rectangles. Set aside.
6. Drain your pitted dates and add them to a blender with the honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and water. Blend until smooth.
7. Spread the date mixture lengthwise onto the dough and fold the dough over the dates. Top with cinnamon.
8. Bake for about 20 minutes, remove from oven, and slice into small squares.
Serve warm out of the oven!
Also by Lauren: Sweet Beet Soup With Coconut Crème Fraîche
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Photo: Lauren Sacerdote