Festive Fig Rolls with Orange, Honey & Cinnamon

48 Comments on Festive Fig Rolls with Orange, Honey & Cinnamon

Festive Fig Rolls

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. If my husband happened to be said man, you could pretty much guarantee his affection for life with a humble packet of fig rolls.

When he was little, Carnivorous Husband’s mum would always buy two packets of fig rolls at the supermarket: one to keep in the cupboard and one for my hungry husband-to-be to consume in one sitting. A couple of hundred miles away, at a similar age and unaware at this point that he even existed, I took a similar approach to a freshly baked loaf of bread. Some treats, it seems, are made to be savoured, others to be eaten in enormous quantities.

Festive Fig Rolls

Nowadays I still find it hard to resist breaking into a brand new loaf of bread (you’re supposed to let it cool before slicing, but seriously, if you’ve ever baked bread you’ll know this is nigh-on impossible) but my husband’s fig roll obsession is a little more under control. We don’t really buy packaged treats in the little loaf house, so the only way a fig roll might make it into our kitchen is if it was of the homemade variety. Which is exactly what happened.

Festive Fig Rolls

Carnivorous Husband’s love of the shop bought variety of fig roll is strong enough that I’ve wanted to perfect a homemade version for a while now. Something softly sweet enough to appeal to a fig roll obsessive but with the rustic charm of a home baked biscuit. This year’s Food Blogger Cookie Swap felt like the perfect opportunity to bake up a big batch and I couldn’t resist putting a Christmassy twist on the filling (if only because I liked the alliteration of ‘festive fig’ rolls).

Festive Fig Rolls

The result is a simple, soft biscuit with a sweetly spiced centre. Not entirely authentic in terms of flavour profile, but (I think) even more delicious because of it, brought to life with a nutty wholewheat pastry, the scent of orange and some squidgy Medjool dates thrown in with the figs for the simple reason that they’re impossible to resist at this time of year.

My husband’s verdict? Let’s just say I ended up sending my cookie swap partners nine biscuits each instead of the suggested twelve.  No prizes for guessing what happened to the rest . . .

Festive Fig Rolls

Festive Fig Rolls with Orange, Honey & Cinnamon
(makes 24 – 30)

I use semi-dried figs in this recipe which are softer and easier to mash. If using normal dried figs, soak in a little just-boiled water for 5 minutes or so before draining well and continuing with the recipe.


For the pastry
110g unsalted butter, softened
75g golden caster sugar
1 large free range egg yolk
seeds of half a vanilla pod
juice & zest of one medium orange
75g plain white flour
75g wholemeal flour
50g ground almonds
pinch cinnamon
pinch ground allspice
pinch salt

For the filling
150g semi-dried figs
50g medjool dates (or use an additional 50g figs)
1 small apple, coarsely grated
juice and zest of one large orange
1 tbsp runny honey
pinch salt

For the glaze
1 medium free range egg yolk
1 tbsp full fat milk
granulated sugar, for sprinkling


To make the pastry, cream together the butter and sugar until combined. Beat in the egg yolk. Add the vanilla, orange juice and zest, flours, almonds, cinnamon and salt and gently mix everything together with your fingers to form a ball of dough. Flatten into a disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate while you make the filling.

In a small bowl, mash the figs and dates with the back of a fork. Add the apple, orange juice and zest, honey and salt and mix to combine. At this stage you can blitz in a food processor for a completely smooth, sticky centre, or leave as is if you prefer more texture. Set aside while you roll out your pastry.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge. Dust your work surface with flour then roll the dough into a large rectangle (about 30 x 40cm), before cutting lengthways into four equal rectangles.

Working quickly (so the dough doesn’t soften too much), spread one quarter of the fig mixture down the middle of one rectangle. Brush one of the long edges with a little water and roll the dough up lengthways, turning once rolled so that the seam of pastry is underneath. Repeat with all four rectangles then use a sharp knife to cut the lengths of pastry into pieces about 3cm wide.

In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk and milk. Brush over the tops of each fig roll, sprinkle with a little sugar then place on your prepared baking trays. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on top and the filling is sticky and slightly oozing. Remove from the oven, allow to cool on the trays for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Will keep in an airtight container for at least a week, making them the perfect present to pop in the post.

48 RESPONSES TO Festive Fig Rolls with Orange, Honey & Cinnamon

  1. OMG – these looks delicious!! Will definitely make them for our family christmas dinner 🙂

  2. Bookmarking this recipe. It sounds delightful!

  3. I happen to have some semi dried figs sitting in my cupboard as I write… father in law coming back from the Emirates in a few days with some dates… I might just have to make these!

  4. Iris -

    That explains the mistery of the nine biscuits in the box! Having tasted them, I’m not at all surprised they went down a storm with Carnivorous Husband – they’re really addictive. Thank you again for sending them to me; it was a lovely surprise, and I enjoyed every single bite 🙂

    • Haha sorry! Glad you enjoyed them though and Happy Christmas! 🙂

  5. Ooh these look like my kind of cookies, especially with a wholemeal pastry!!

  6. Skye -

    Love that you’ve put honey in these. They look delicious – so much better than shop bought that you can’t really compare. And the Christmas twist is a lovely touch. One very lucky carnivorous husband, I would say 🙂

  7. Fig rolls are one of my favourite biscuits too!

  8. So inventive! They looks great. Also, fantastic to see someone getting on the winter/Christmas baking. I’ve been feeling like I’m the only one 😀

    • It’s ALL about the Christmas baking… Get yourself on Pinterest, no shortage of festive photos there 🙂

      • I’m all over Pinterest – even have my own Christmas board 😀

  9. We are definitely going to try these out! Yum!

  10. Yum!! I made fig cookies for the first time last year. Boy were they wonderful! Very similar recipe as yours.

  11. Andrea -

    Hi, I love your blog and follow it across the pond in NYC. My husband loves fig cookies too and I would like to bake these for the holidays. How can I correctly convert the measurements? Thanks.

    • Hi Andrea, So pleased you like the blog! My number one recommendation would actually be that you buy a digital scale – they’re pretty inexpensive (you can get ones for less than $30) and SO much more accurate for baking – I swear by mine and am never 100% confident in recipes using cups. However if you’d prefer to convert the measurements, my favourite online resources are http://www.pastryscoop.com/category/look-it-up/conversions/ and http://cafefernando.com/conversion-tables/. Hope that helps! x

      • Andrea -

        Thanks, I will ask for a digital scale for Christmas!

  12. Ah, one of my mums favourites,,,you’ve inspired me to make them for her this Xmas..your recipe and pics are so lovely x

  13. Sacha -

    Lovely. I had to take to making fig rolls because of my own memories of loving the store-bought ones as a kid, and I can say that yours are much prettier. I like the addition of the dates, because I just can never get enough of them.

    • I remember your comment on Instagram…medjool dates are just the best thing ever, definitely better than any sweets I’ve ever had 🙂

  14. Oh! Here in the US we have a cookie called a “Fig Newton”. I’ve always loved them, but it has been years since I’ve had one. Your beautiful fig rolls look like an even better version of this tasty cookie. I love that you add orange to the mix. I can see why your hubby can’t stop eating them.

    • I think fig rolls and fig newtons are very similar, although I read somewhere that newtons are a little more cakey/spongey than biscuity. But then in the US a biscuit is what we call a scone, not a cookie…all too confusing! 🙂

  15. These look delicious – nothing beats that smell of festive spices..mmm

  16. these look incredibly delicious! I too love my fig rolls. the partner says I got him with a lemon cake – lucky me!

  17. Amy -

    Ah fig newtons were probably my favorite childhood snack. Loved. them. It makes me so nostalgic to think of them — I was going through old Lottie and Doof archives the other day and bookmarked fig and date roll cookies that have a cream cheese shortbread base for the cookie part, yum. Makes me a little sad though – nothing *quite* compares to the orignal processed version, does it?

  18. I’m not actually sure that I’ve ever had a fig roll of any description – I’m intrigued! Love the changes that you made and those lovely festive flavours in there.

  19. I really like fig biscuits and I love the Christmas twist you have put on them. If that was my husband I would end up having to make a second batch to replace all the ones he would eat 🙂

  20. Mmm these look so fabulous and so festive with figs. We had something similar here in Australia that I remember eating when I was at school, but they went under another name, although I’ve completely forgotten what it was.

  21. Wow, I’ve never even heard of figg rolls before. These look absolutely delicious! Perfect with a strong afternoon coffee.

  22. Jaime -

    Kate these look so perfect and absolutely delicious!! I always have these grand plans to bake the recipes I see online but there’s never enough time to do it all. But for this, I will MAKE time. Fig rolls are the childhood loves I’ve never grown out of.

  23. Thankyou so much for these. They were really very good. I think my husband and yours may have been separated at birth – mine will also devour a packet full of shop bought fig rolls in one sitting and also has a habit of snaffling baked goods when I’m not looking. I’m gradually training him – so much so that he says himself that his catchphrase is “what is that and can I eat it now?”

  24. These sound delicious and what a beautiful pastry!

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  26. These are so so so beautiful! Absolutely perfectly shaped and I love the sound of your filling too! The chance of trying your baked goods is certainly an incentive to sign up to next year’s cookie swap 😉

    • Aw, thanks Sophia! I’d love to send you some treats 🙂

  27. Jamie -

    wow wow wow am bookmarking these, babies! And when you make something that good (I am assuming they taste as fabulously as they look) then how can you be surprised that your husband is obsessed with them?

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  29. Hatti -

    Wow, these look delightful. I must bookmark them for Christmas. Or perhaps I’ll just have to make them this weekend!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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