Homemade Berry Newtons and a Giveaway for Picky Eaters!


I think I might just have the pickiest eater in the world. And not only is she picky, but what she will actually deign to eat changes day to day. One day, she will gobble something up and you breath a sigh of relief, thinking you’ve found a food she actually likes. The very next day, she won’t touch it. She picks up a bit, turns it over in her hands and daintily tosses it over the side of her high chair. She looks at you reproachfully, letting you know in her wordless way that she is hurt you would stoop so low to even offer her such a repulsive food. It is infuriating, to say the least. With my older two, I could count on certain foods being acceptable every time, but this one, she likes to keep me on my toes.

Since she seemed to do well with Fig Newtons, I thought I would try my hand at a homemade, healthier (and tastier) version. I myself am not a Fig Newton fan and never have been. I find the crust really bland and uninteresting, and if I am going to have a cookie, I am going to have a cookie with a capital C, preferably chocolate and very gooey. So I figured there was considerable room for improvement. I went with berry filling because I didn’t actually have any figs and I thought that might be more palateable to all of my kids. I found a good crust recipe on Beantown Baker, and made a few changes to up the health factor, including reducing the sugar, using whole wheat flour and adding some flax seed meal. With a picky eater, you have to sneak it in where you can.

In that vein, let me tell you about the giveaway now. This is specifically for the parents of small children, picky eaters or not. I was contacted recently by Kidfresh, a company devoted to making healthy, convenient frozen meals for small children. I don’t normally buy pre-packaged meals, but given the amount of grey hair I’ve grown from trying to find foods this little one likes, I thought it was worth a shot. Let me rephrase that…I thought it was worth a shot AFTER reading up about their products, that they are all natural, in BPA-free and environmentally friendly packaging, and nutritionally balanced. So I picked up two of the varieties that they carry in my local grocery store. One was a hit with the baby (the mac and cheese), the other was not (pasta with meatballs). But don’t take that to mean it wasn’t good, she is just THAT picky. It smelled wonderful and the other two kids hovered around and ate up the leftovers.

And now Kidfresh would like to present a few of my readers with some coupons to try their products for free. Whether or not you have a picky eater, it’s always helpful to have a few healthy, convenient meals on hand. Kidfresh also has an amazing contest going on to win a $100 gift certificate to Patagonia by uploading a picture of your little one enjoying the outdoors this winter. Check out the details on the Kidfresh Facebook Page

Coupon Giveaway Rules:
1. To enter, just leave me a comment telling me about your picky (or good) eater and what foods you know that they will eat every single time. Please, people, I am looking for suggestions here!

2. Open only to US addresses only. Not because I don’t love my fellow Canadians but because they have only just expanded their reach outside of New York State into the rest of the US (mostly the Northeast so far). I am pretty sure the products are not available in the Great White North. If you want to double check that it’s available in your area, click HERE.

3. Contest will run until 11:59pm, Sunday February 13th.

4. Please leave me a way to contact you, I can’t send you anything if you don’t!

The Results: As for my homemade newton experiment? I cannot lie to you, she won’t really eat them. I don’t consider them a failure at all, I think they are really very good and my older kids like them a lot. The crust is much tastier than a storebought newton, it is almost a bit like pastry crust. And with the reduced sugar and the whole grains and flax, these are a far healthier version of the famous fig cookie. They aren’t difficult at all to make, so if you have kids who aren’t as picky as my little one, give these a shot. Maggie wouldn’t agree, but I think they are worth it!

Homemade Berry Newtons

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp water
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries, chopped
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp water

For the dough, in a large bowl beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined. Add egg whites, vanilla and water and beat until well mixed, scraping down beaters and bowl as needed.

Add the flour, flax and cinnamon and beat until dough comes together. Form dough into a rough rectangle and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill for at least 2 hours.

For the filling, combine blueberries, strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Mash berries with the back of a fork.

In a small bowl, stir cornstarch and water together. Add half to hot berry mixture and stir until the thickness of jam. If necessary, add remaining cornstarch mixture until appropriate thickness is achieved.

To assemble cookies, preheat oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to a 12 by 16 inch rectangle and cut into four equal 4 by 12 inch strips. Spoon filling down the middle of each strip. Fold the edges over the filling and pinch to seal.

Using a sharp knife, cut off ends of logs and discard. Cut logs into 10 equal pieces and place cookies seam-side down on prepared baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown.

Let cool on pan.

Makes about 40 cookies.

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  1. Jill Colonna says

    Congratulations on your berry newtons! Here's to fig newtons and your picky eater to motivate you on these wonderful dreamy and healthy delights. YUM.

  2. Three-Cookies says

    They have something similar in Australia and New Zealand, and probably elsewhere called spicy fruit roll. Its delicious and I forgot about it until I saw your post. Memories came flying back…

  3. Pretend Chef says

    You are not alone in that struggle. What you described sounds just like my itty bitty. He's even being to deconstruct my meals I make in order to see what I've concealed. It can be frustrating. My last ditch effort to get him to eat is a homemade "Happy Meal". The fries are healthier and you don't have to guess the mystery meat in the nuggets. I would love to try out their products!

  4. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom says

    We're big Newton lovers in our house but sometimes I just can't get over how expensive they are so your recipe is great. Good luck with your picky eater. I do think that eventually the youngest likes to eat whatever they see the older ones eating.

  5. Three-Cookies says

    I forgot to comment on the name of your blog, it reminds me of ADIDAS. ADIDAS stands for All Day I Dream About Sports (or sex in the adult version).

  6. Kita says

    Fig newtons are one of the few snacks I can eat right from the box. Your berry newtons look awesome!
    My picky eater isnt a child but rather a full grown man who wont touch onions, carrots, celery, or peppers. Try making him a salad? Oh and it can only be spinach – no other type of green. I often cheat and mince things up super tiny when they are in things so its too hard for him to bother to pick out. >.> I know its mean but really? No onions or peppers?

  7. Lauren at KeepItSweet says

    I don't have a picky eater (or any kids at all), but I actually love fig newtons! For some reason I find them extremely addicting.

  8. thecoffeebreak says

    Love your cookies! Thank you for letting me know about this wonderful giveaway, but unfortunately I don't live in US. Good luck to everyone else!

  9. Jennypenny says

    My son does the exact same thing as your daughter. My older son was not like that all. He would eat most anything you put in front of him, so my little guy's pickiness is so frustrating! I wish I had suggestions, but the only thing he always eats is bananas. The kid would probably eat several bananas a day if I let him.

    I did make some Zucchini Carrot muffins from the King Arthur Flour website. I made them a little healthier, even though it's a pretty healthy recipe to begin with. My son loved them at first, and will now eat them sometimes :) I make a double batch and freeze them.

    jnystph9 at gmail

  10. Brandie@thecountrycook says

    Your Fig Newtons look really tasty!! I understand picky eaters oh so well. Unfortunately my husband is an extremely picky eater and now our son is following in his path. Ugggh. So frustrating!

  11. Jeanine says

    Those berry newtons look great! I hear ya on the picky eaters thing…my kids are pretty good, but what was proclaimed "DELICIOUS" one time is barely consumable the next. Ha!

  12. Fresh and Foodie says

    OK, these are awesome. My husband loves Fig Newtons and would probably go crazy if I made them from scratch. Sounds like a good experiment. :)

  13. Plateful says

    OMG, my youngest is such a picky eater- I totally understand what you are saying. Your berry newtons looks lovely!

  14. Laurie Alves says

    Love Love Love the Newtons! My son was picky also to the umph degree! HE ended up being a wonderful Foodie so I guess I shouldn't complain. He challenged me to rise to his level! LOL.. Really love the newtons.. Think I'll send my son some! He'd love em too!

  15. briarrose says

    Mmmm…a picky eater that's unpredictable…now that is a heck of a challenge. :)

    These look so yummy and I like the berry filling instead of the usual fig.

  16. BakingWithoutaBox says

    Love those Newtons. I'm the picky eater in our family. And with time crunches and changing tastes I totally get the value of prepackages meals. (but don't enter me in the contest. Leave that to some worthy mommy)

  17. Annie says

    I am so happy that I don't have a picky eater. Now that he is a teenager he eats just about everything that isn't nailed down! You newtons look delicious and I like the berry idea even better than the figs.

  18. Elle says

    Oh wow, those look amazing! I love Fig Newton's, but yeah, they're loaded with bad stuff-I need to try these!

    Nice giveaway, but you don't need to count my comment as an entry—my youngest is 7, so no real small ones anymore. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. Kate @ Diethood.com says

    Newtons were my favorite when I was younger…something about that filling…YUM!

    The picky eater is my little one … if she could, she would only eat bread for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks…

  20. Amelia@SavoryandSweet says

    I have a picky eater at home and it is such a struggle to get him to eat!! He may like these berry newtons…I know I would.:)

  21. Sandra says

    You made them better than those from the store. I have one picky eater, just like your girl. One day he like it the other day he doesn't. You did amazing job as always! Great photos!!!

  22. The Mom Chef says

    We're big fig newton fans here, though I prefer the raspberry newtons to fig. These are so right up my alley. I hope the fussy eating evolves into a love for all kinds of foods in the future!

  23. Emily says

    We love fig newtons, especially the strawberry variety. However, yours look great and I really like the idea of adding flax. Thanks for posting!

  24. Kristen says

    Those newtons look like they were professionally made. Kudos to you!!

    My kids all like broccoli and cauliflower. It's one veggie I know they will always eat (besides the usual green beans, corn, carrots and salad).

  25. MegSmith says

    I am going to be making these this summer! I love store bought fig newtons but these sound SO much better. Flax and whole wheat flour=perfection. I love being able to control what goes into my treats :-)

  26. Sommer J says

    They look adorably fabulous! I have three picky eater picky in their own ways. Sigh..

    Will have to try these..I do like fig newtons, buy I guarantee the homemade version is waaaay better.

  27. Anonymous says

    My husband is the pickiest eater I know; my trick is to take less healthy foods (chicken sausage, e.g.) and combine them with healthier foods (such as in stuffed peppers). Also, I always use whole grains in all baking.

  28. Amanda says

    Lilah will (almost) always eat edamame beans, frozen peas or frozen corn, and tofu dessert (any flavour). Oh, and yogurt. It varies day by day, but these ones can usually be counted on to fill her up.

    Too bad I'm not elligible for the frozen meals – they look like they'd be good to have on hand.

  29. Kim - Liv Life says

    I am really eager to give these cookies a try! They are kind of like muffins, I love adding whole grains and fruits all in one vehicle.
    Talk about picky eaters… I may have cornered the market on that one!! My son, when he was little ate only 5 foods, and only white/yellow foods. Pasta, bread, banana, peanut butter and chicken. He ate lots and lots of muffins as they were classified into the bread category.
    Now… I have two Maltese dogs. They are even picker than my son was!! Very similar to your daughter, they will eat an entire bowl of a certain food one day (frequently freshly grilled mahi or chicken – yes… spoiled!) and the next day will look at me disdainfully saying "Do you really expect us to eat this two days in a row?" They will toss their heads and walk sulkily away.
    Good luck with the wee-one!!!

  30. Steph says

    I think I'm just going to leave this picture up on my screen all day. I bet the se taste amazing!! Bookmarking this recipe for sure!

  31. Cake Duchess says

    Hi Carolyn-Not my fave cookie either…but I think yours would be a favorite:)They look so good!Love the filling:)

  32. Amy Bakes Everything says

    Bless your heart. Your picky eater sounds even worse than mine – at least mine is consistent! Those berry newtons look so awesome!

  33. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having says

    I never liked fig newtons, although I can't remember why. These look gorgeous though, I love the berry filling.

  34. miss says

    Your cookies look really good! I was a picky eater growing up, I must have drove my mother crazy. I also have a picky eater. I grew out of it, eventually (at about 20!) I just try to make sure that he has something to eat, even if there's no variety!

  35. Ang says

    Okay Carolyn, so my daughter is five and she is not all that picky. But her favorite go-to and she would probably eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner is……..Bean burritos with cheddar cheese. Yup! Tortilla, black refried beans and cheddar cheese. Oh and the Newtons, holy smokes they look incredible.


    Oh honey, your Newton's look amazing–way better than store-bought!

    My kiddos aren't picky at all. In fact they pride themselves on all the things they'll eat. They often ask to go to a sushi restaurant and order spicy squid salad. Of course, I beam with pride when this happens! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  37. Cheryl and Adam @ pictureperfectmeals.com says

    So much better than ANYTHING you can buy in the store. Healthy and yummy. Thanks!

  38. Elisabeth says

    Carolyn-I do love fig newton's it's a childhood favorite of mine, that's been around forever, and would love the berry newton you made homemade, even better.
    What a perfect and beautiful job you did on them. Absolutely yummy!
    Love the photos, as well!

  39. Danielle says

    I was a super picky eater as a child but somehow I've dodged the bullet with my son. He'll eat just about anything we put in front of him. We've been careful to never say things like "Oh you wouldn't like this" or "He doesn't eat such and such." We also have never made him anything different than what we eat. I've found that he eats even more when he helps me prepare dinner. He eats and tastes as we go and that's fine as long as he's eating healthy things.

    Good luck! I'd love to try these products.

  40. homemadechocolatier says

    my brother is very picky! he doesn't eat much, but loves bananas and peanut butter. thankfully, those are two things my family keeps on hand at all times.

  41. Janis says

    These cookies look wonderful. I just had an amazing Fig Newton like cookie in San Francico at the farmers market. I have to give this a try!

  42. Nicole @ Arctic Garden Studio says

    I was just looking at these in the Flour Bakery Cookbook last night and I thought to myself that there is no way they would turn out that perfect if you made them yourself. Well, apparently I was wrong as yours look beautiful. Nice job.

  43. Wilde in the Kitchen says

    Too bad the little one doesn't like these, they are so pretty! From the looks at the recipe they also taste pretty amazing too.

  44. Molly says

    Well, that's easy. Here's my son's daily routine, which he WILL NOT stray from:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal, in which I hide the following: 1 banana, a dash of wheatgerm, cinnamon, ginger, almond butter, homemade applesauce, and a few slices of avocado. Bowl of berries after.
    Lunch: Trader Joe's whole wheat dinner roll, TJ's raw cashews, some sort of fruit (he fortunately loves all fruits) shredded cheddar, and kefir or milk to drink.
    Dinner: One of two things: Hamburger on a TJ roll or whole wheat breaded chicken nuggets and sweet potato fries and milk to drink. He will also eat cherry tomatoes on occasion.

  45. Chef Dennis says

    hi Carolyn

    I am not a fig newton fan, but your version looks so much better, I am sure I would love them!
    Congrats on your top 9 today!

  46. Babs says

    I am going to try these with figs or raspberries and use my Gluten Free Flours – I miss fig newtons!! Thanks for posting this recipe!!

  47. The Souper says

    Carolyn, your Berry Newtons have me wanting to reach into my computer to grab one. Glad you provide recipes for baking at home with healthy ingredients. Fun project to get older kids to join in also.

    The Souper

  48. A Touch of RoJo says

    Thanks so much for posting this recipe. Gosh they look tempting. I'm an addict to fig newtown. The raspberry ones and apple ones were my all time favorites. So good to know that I can now make them in my own kitchen. This is definitely going on my to-do list for things to make. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to more recipes and awesome pics.

  49. Brown Cookie Blog says

    Your version of this fig newton looks so much healthier. My father is diabetic but he doesn't watch his diet, this will be perfect for him.

  50. PleaseRecycle says

    Those newtons look delish!

    My picky eater(s) will always (always!) eat pesto pasta. I can usually slip in a little broccoli and they eat it without even realizing it!

  51. Kicking Carbs says

    I so identify with the picky eater thing! Drives me nuts.

    This week she ate her body weight in salad which, I think, means she met her yearly quota and won't touch the stuff again until 2012.

    I've had success in having my little one cook with me. We've invented veggie cracker stackers where veggies are alternated with ranch cream cheese on a high fiber cracker. That she will eat and if I do it right, she'll get a full serving of veggies in five little crackers.

    Other than that, we eat lots of high quality food right in front of her. You know, the Freakonomics concept of kids who read watched their parents read? My kid watches me read and eat large plates full of veggies.

    We'll see how it pans out!


  52. Kimberly says

    I love this recipe! I grew up eating Fig Newtons as a special treat when we'd go visit my grandparents. So they hold a special place in my heart! My little picky eater actually loves fig newtons himself too. I totally understand your dilemma, sounds like your little on and mine would get along great! The one thing I can always get my little guy to eat without fail are my Cinnamon Apple Pancakes http://themarfarmfamily.blogspot.com/2011/01/cinnamon-apple-pancakes.html
    I can make these every single day and he will always gobble them up! Good luck feeding that little one! hope it gets easier for you!

  53. andreagroves says

    Ooooh, I love Newtons. Fig, berry, raisin, everything. Yours look amazing.

    My picky eater (brother that I cook for often) isn't too picky. He just doesn't like beans, and makes up excuses to not eat certain foods if he has his mind set on something else. His favorite thing to eat is cereal – not a bad thing, if you buy whole grain with dried fruit. Sometimes he will give up his cereal if I offer to make him a special green salad or fruit salad.


  54. Abigail says

    My picky eater will NOT eat any veggies besides carrots, mushrooms, and french fries.

    So, I hide veggies, like zucchini in brownies, i also puree veggies and hide them in pasta sauce…tho he always complains that it tastes "different". Ha!

    abigail.lee {at} gmail.com

  55. RockStarMel says

    My kiddo is erratically picky. Sometimes he'll out of the blue refuse something he normally enjoys. That said, frozen broccoli is not safe in my freezer. When I'm not looking, if he's hungry he'll go and help himself to a BAG of frozen broccoli. Or any other fresh fruit or vegetable in the freezer or fridge for that matter.

    I'm looking forward to giving this recipe a shot with some cranberries I've got left over from the holidays. IF my kid doesn't eat them all first. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  56. Claudie says

    I agree about the chocolate and very gooey cookie! I'd love that any day. However, looking at the pictures of your berry newtons, I would certainly have some of those too ๐Ÿ˜›

  57. Annie says

    Carolyn, I have a daughter who was NOT a picky eater as a child. Now that she is a teenager, all that has changed. She has learned to drive and prefers all her food to come in a bag through a window. Her latest favorite: mac & cheese pizza! Her older brother grew out of his pickiness when he realized he would starve to death in college! Here's hoping she comes around. Good luck with your little one!

  58. shelley c. says

    Oooh – I can't wait to give these a try. Hopefully my 13 month old picky will like them. He will eat a variety of things, but still doesn't much care to eat a meal's worth (by any standards) by hand… and won't eat anything with real texture from a spoon. But he'll eat snacks 'til the cows come home… crackers and fruit melts… he does like the English muffins I made, so perhaps those might be something to try? Who knows. I know one day soon he will be eating me out of house and home, so I'm trying to just go with the flow for now… :)

  59. Sabrina says

    Made these today. They are yummy!! But for the inexperienced baker (me) the rolling and folding part was stressful. The dough was very thin after rolling it out to the desired size and then it stuck to my "well" floured surface. :(. We'll see what my toddler thinks of my hard work tomorrow!

  60. Talitha says

    These are in the oven now…. I had problems with the dough too… I didn’t have problems with it sticking, but when I tried to fold it over, it craked. They don’t look as pretty as yours, but hopefully they taste alright :)


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