Monday, January 25, 2010

Fig Newtons for Grown-ups!

I have to admit, I love Fig Newtons. Love them. But now that I'm celiac (meaning I can't eat gluten or wheat products), Fig Newtons from the package don't love me.

HOWEVER, I figured out how to make a gluten-free Fig Newtons for GROWN-UPS that are so melt-in-your-mouth delicious, they're hard to beat. And I used...get this...cheese! Cottage cheese. Yep, cottage cheese!

Experimenting...isn't it fun? Trying out a new recipe? Trying out a combination of things that just might work...and they do?

Last Saturday, I had a craving for coffee cake. I had the basics in the cupboard...except, I realized I didn't have sour cream. Well, cottage cheese and cream make sour cream...don't they? Sort of. I substituted. [ I've become such a cheese-girl since I started writing A Cheese Shop Mystery series!!]

Then I looked on the door of my refrigerator, saw Dalmatia Fig Spread [found at grocery stores and at], and I thought, how can I incorporate this?

I decided that jam IN THE MIDDLE of the coffee cake
might be great.

I added extra brown sugar. [Note: Brown sugar makes everything better!] AND VOILA.

Fig Newtons for Grown-ups!

[Second note: the cake can be sort of gooey, but licking your fingers is acceptable when eating Fig Newtons.]



2 cups Pamela's Gluten-free baking mix
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. Gluten-free vanilla
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, large
1 cup sour cream OR 2/3 cup cottage cheese and 1/3 cup cream (milk)
1/2 cup fig spread
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
Powdered sugar for the top

Combine Pamela's mix, sugar, eggs, butter, milk, cheese, vanilla. Mix well.
Spread half of batter in an 8 x 8 greased pan.
Put dollops of fig spread on the batter.
Mix remaining sugars and spices. Sprinkle over fig spread.
Cover with remaining batter.

Bake 45-50 minutes.

Let cool for twenty minutes to "set".

Cut in 9 slices. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

BIG NOTE: This can be made with regular Bisquick and be just as delicious. It just won't be gluten-free!

Have a great week. I hope everyone is enjoying the new year, making goals, and keeping promises ! Love, laugh, believe.



  1. Jam in the coffee's brilliant!

    I used to love Fig Newtons and haven't eaten them in ages! What a great idea...

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. not really a fig newton fan, but I for sure love coffee cake. I have a friend that eats gluten free foods, so i am saving this for when they visit

    great recipe and post!

  3. Avery, you are so creative! Until now, I didn't think that cottage cheese and fig spread could ever be used in one recipe. Now I'm craving fig newtons :)

  4. There's gluten in vanilla??

    Sounds yummy. And everything is better with sugar--and butter.

  5. What a great recipe. I love the idea of the jam in the middle, that like finding a little surprise when you bite into a piece of cake. How neat.

  6. I should never check in first thing in the morning... because now I'm craving this coffee cake. Love to hear all about your experiments, Avery. That's so much fun. And your ideas here are great!


  7. So glad everyone is enjoying the recipe. Sheila, some celiacs can experience discomfort from vanilla because vanilla is "brewed" in whiskey and therefore holds onto some of those properties. Whiskey is made from wheat. Celiacs who have been off gluten for a long time can tolerate a little regular gluten, but why risk it? GF vanilla is found at Whole Foods. Vanillin {imitation vanilla} is fine as a substitute and not brewed in whiskey. I know, I know, too much information!

  8. I'll have piece, too, please! My mom makes the most wonderful cookies with cottage cheese, so I'm not surprised that it's a great baking ingredient.

    Sheila, I wondered about vanilla, too. I make vanilla with vodka, which can apparently be made from grains.

    ~ Krista

  9. I loved Fig Newtons as a kid. I haven't had them in years. I've saved this recipe for the weekend. Thanks!

  10. There's no shame in loving Fig Newtons! :) Looks good!

  11. I used to arrive at my 3 hour Southern Literature
    class with a stack of Fig newtons and a bottle of
    chocolate milk! This recipe is perfect for me!
    Thanks for sharing, Avery.

  12. My husband adores fig newtons, maybe I need to make this for him and earn some brownie points.

  13. And remember, everyone, this can be made with regular Bisquick. Use the same amount of "flour" as Pamela's mix. Enjoy!

  14. Thanks, Avery! At our house kids and grown-ups prefer Date Newtons (don't have the tiny seeds of figs). Any suggestions how to do this with dates? I've never seen date jam. Do you think making a date paste (like used in date squares) would work?

  15. Genius. No kidding. I love the way you adapted and overcame -- and am continually impressed by your ability to energetically work around the gluten issues. I think I can safely say that you are educating us all on that and it's a great help to know. Your recipes are always so inventive, too, but then that's why you're a creative writer! LOL!


  16. I thought vodka was made from potatoes. Costco sells whole vanilla beans with directions for making your own extract. I think you can scrap the beans and use them directly.

    The coffee cake sounds yummy. Having to be gluten free must be a challenge.

  17. I love fig newtons as well. This recipe is brillant! bookmarked!