Are you looking for a healthy, vegan Christmas cookie recipe? This Fig Newton recipe is just the treat you’re looking for! Made with coconut oil, dates, figs, whole grain flour, oranges and spices, it’s so festive for the holiday season. It’s naturally sweetened with fruit – no sugar added!
And then the lights went slightly dim as the clock struck five. “Oh, the neighbours up the street must have switched on their Christmas lights.”
It was a few years ago, at a small neighbourhood party. The one house on the street overflowing with lights, moving decor and all the what-nots you can possibly think of was sucking away at the entire village’s power.
This is the stuff that makes me want to yell at strangers – switch off those damn lights! You’re wasting resources for a stupid first-world competition of “who has the best Christmas lights”!
I will never be the one to tell you that NO, you can’t celebrate Christmas because it’s commercialised and destroys the planet. I’m just here to tell you it’s possible to do things differently and still have a beautiful celebration – probably an even better one.
One thing you can do easily is to re-adjust your thinking when it comes to the food around Christmas. In developed countries, we tend to feel entitled to gluttony over the holidays.
But really, why do we feel that way? Thanksgiving and Christmas, deep down, are decidedly not about reckless food spreads.
They’re about getting cozy with the people we love the most (or… sometimes the people we’re stuck with), loving and celebrating the fact that we’re here, now, together. Being grateful for the joy we feel in our hearts.
So this year, I challenge you to give up your mindset of gluttony around the holidays. No, you don’t have to bake fifteen different kinds of cookies in commercial amounts so you can feed your entire town.
It’s fine if you bake three kinds (like these gingerbread cookies!) and give everyone one of each, a hug and call it a day. This is not a competition about bigger-better-more.
And while we’re at it, planet-friendly baking is possible, delicious and healthy. Did you know that producing 2 pounds of butter requires MORE water than producing 2 pounds of chicken? That’s just crazy.
I know what you’re going to say now – but I don’t eat butter in the same quantities as chicken. No, not every day. But when you bake cookies, you easily use as much as you would in a dinner with chicken.
But it’s an exception. Overshoot day doesn’t make any exceptions.
It’s tradition. It has to be this way. Does it really? Will you look back in 20 years when we have serious problems and say heck, I’m so glad I made six pies for Thanksgiving.
And… Shhh. Secret. But sustainable Christmas does not mean you’ll shiver in the dark, nibbling on a raw carrot.
Sustainable food for Christmas means choosing different grains over choosing wheat. It means choosing sustainably grown products over wastefully grown ones. Choosing vegetables over meat. It means choosing fresh, local products over all the artificial flavours, sprinkles and what not.
And it means adding a touch of sparkle to nature – instead of dousing anything and everything in glitter.
The really great thing about these fig newtons is that they’re wheat free, whole grain (using wholemeal spelt flour), absolutely free of added sugars – naturally sweetened with fruit! – and are made without animal products.
It’s a recipe I adapted from Paul Hollywood’s new book, A Baker’s Lifewe ordered here on Amazon* a while ago.
I knew it would be easy to make the recipe naturally sweet and wholesome, I was just wondering how easy it would be to replace the egg in the cookie dough.
One word: Abitcrazy. That’s really three, but I wanted to be honest.
It’s not that the recipe itself is difficult to make, the dough is just not too easy to handle.
But I’m determined to help you have an earth-friendly, health-friendly and wellbeing-friendly Christmas. So last week I shared on my Insta-Story how I make them.
I was even organised enough and downloaded it just in time, so you can watch it below, too!
Come on – let’s get sustainable this Christmas. Forget about the outward competition and focus on inward joy, warmth and gratitude.
And yell a little at people who put up too many lights – then feed them these delicious fig newtons.
Here’s the fig newton recipe video
It’s a little out of sync again – hoping to make it work with a big-girl camera for better quality soon!
Fig Newton Recipe
- 2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil solid at room temperature
- 1/4 cup thick applesauce
- 1 cup dried figs chopped
- 1/4 cup dried dates chopped
- 1/3 cup water
- Zest and juice from 1 orange
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 very small apple peeled and coarsely grated
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon chai spice mix
- Make the pastry: Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Rub in coconut oil with your fingertips until everything is evenly crumbly. Add the applesauce and stir, then press the dough into a ball until it comes together. Chill.
- Make the filling: place figs, dates, water, orange zest and juice and baking soda in a saucepan. Cook, stirring from time to time, until thick and sticky, almost like a jam. Stir in the apple and spices and cool completely.
- Assemble: Roll dough into a square, about 8x8 inches (22x22cm). Cut down the middle so you have two rectangles. Add about 1/3 to 1/2 of the filling along the longer side, close to one edge. Then fold the pastry over the filling to form a long log. Pinch down the seam. Don’t worry about some cracks in the pastry! Fix it up as you can but don’t worry about any gaps or cracks.
- Bake: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the long logs on a lined baking sheet. Score the logs about every 1/3 inch (1cm), where you’ll cut the rolls after baking. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Finish: Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then cut at your scored markings and cool completely on a wire rack.
* I make a commission for purchases made through these links.