Until the late 19th century, physicians thought most physical maladies were related to digestion, and recommended daily doses of biscuits and fruit. A Philadelphia baker, Charles Roser, invented a machine and process that would insert fig filling into a pastry dough. Kennedy Biscuit Company, out of Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, purchased the recipe and began mass production in 1891. The name “Newton” was taken from the nearby town of Newton, MA.
Kennedy Biscuit developed a relationship with New York Biscuit Company, and they merged to become Nabisco, and shortly thereafter trademarked the name “Fig Newtons.” Now stuffed with different fruit fillings, Nabisco recently dropped the word “Fig” from the name; the cookies are now known just as “Newtons” and are sold in 12 oz packages as well as individual snack packs.
Whew. That’s a lot of words just to tell you I like Fig Newtowns and tried a different brand this week. Nabisco’s run between $3.50 and $5.00 for the 12 oz packages. Imagine my delight to find a local Chicago brand, “Matt’s Zion,” selling for about three and a half bucks for a one and three quarter pound package!
Matt’s cranks out 20,000 pounds of different kinds of cookies every day, at their factory in Wheeling, IL. They’ve been doing it since 1980.
I picked up the raspberry ones, and the ingredients are thus: Figs, corn syrup, unbleached wheat flour, sugar, flaked corn, baking oil (palm, soybean, canola), corn sugar, salt, baking soda, citric acid, vanilla, natural flavor & color. That’s about as pure a recipe as one can find for shelf-stable baked goods. They use all natural ingredients, and their cookies are Kosher Pareve.
These are damned good, and a great value. Nice consistency on the fig paste, and great natural raspberry flavor. Find some if you can.
Matt’s Zion Cookies Review