Growing up, the only fig cookie that ever appeared in our house was the king daddy, Fig Newtons. At the time, it was probably the only fig cookie on the market anyway. So I grew to love them. Oh, there were always the store-brand ones, but they were always dry and tasted papery and…….fake. There was just something about that Fig Newton – the cakey outer core and sweet fig inside that just worked so well together.
Then, about 10 years ago, places like Whole Foods and companies like Newman’s Own started emerging, both of which offer their own fig cookies and suddenly, there were options.
1. The champion fig cookie from where I sit is the Fig Newman. I tried these many years ago and was non-plussed. It tasted dry and the fig inside wasn’t as moist as a fig should be. I gave it another shot about two years ago and they must have changed something, because now I am a full-on addict. The low-fat version is actually the best one (they also offer the regular version and a fat free version). The cookie part makes all the difference here, as it is the most cake-like. The fig inside is now perfect – sweet and moist. It’s really the gold class for fig cookies.
2. Nabisco’s Fig Newtons are still up there. Of course, this is the cookie everyone thinks of when they think about fig and cookies. Their cookie part is the softest and most chewy of the fig cookies I’ve tried – big positive. The fig inside is very much fig-like, but I do think they add a little something in there to make it extra sweet. This is not a bad thing at all, but it does alter the fig taste just a little bit. The low-fat version of these is an entirely different animal – everything about it tastes kinda fake. I do not recommend the low-fat version of the Fig Newton. The multi-grain ones are pretty good, too, though – they taste more granola-like and are slightly drier. If you want more info on those, read my, uh, expose from January 2006. Heh.
3. Then there are Barbara’s Traditional Fig Bars. For a while, I swore by these and maybe even ranked them as my favorite. But something always nagged me in the back of my mind and I finally figured it out – they’re TOO moist. Now, I’ve always been a fan of moist desserts – Tiramisu, etc etc, but it doesn’t make for the perfect fig cookie. These are delicious otherwise and I highly recommend them.
4. Surprisingly enough, Whole Foods 360 Organic Line of fig cookies place fourth. Given my tastes, you’d think Whole Foods would be my tops. Don’t get me wrong – I always pick up a package when I’m there, but they’re not my first choice. Why? The cookie part always tastes like they were pulled out of the oven halfway before they’re done. The fig inside is also extra sweet. They’re not bad……they just don’t taste like a perfect fig cookie should.
Look, if you like figs, than any one of these four products is worth a ride. If you’re truly insane like me, you’ll just buy one package every week of straight-up figs from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods and just eat them right out of the tub and also put them in everything – oatmeal, pizza….whatever. But I realize I’m probably more figgy than everyone else.
Hope I helped.