I have a special place in my heart for Fig Newtons. Growing up, my favorite days were when these chewy, square cookies showed up in my lunch box. I remember trying the strawberry a few times, but nothing compared to the original. I would usually eat the dough part first, saving the seed-filled sticky center for last. (This habit followed me into adulthood—with Kit Kats and York Peppermint Patties, I admit to eating the chocolate off first.)
Two years ago, Newtons released a new product, called Fruit Thins (not to be confused with Fruit Crisps, which are more reminiscent of NutriGrain bars). These round, crispy, scallop-edged cookies currently come in six flavors (Raspberry & Chocolate and Fig & Honey were recently discontinued). I am staunchly in the soft-baked camp of cookies, but because of my love for the classic Fig Newton, I had to give these a try.
Here are all the flavors of Newtons Fruit Thins, from best to worst.
Banana Drizzled with Dark Fudge
Two words: banana bread. Ok, three more: with chocolate chips. No surprise, the two varieties drizzled with chocolate filled the dessert role more than the fruit ones—much richer and sweeter (in a good way). While this one gets an A+ in flavor, it gets a C- in presentation. An entire row was stuck together when I tried to take out one cookie, and the chocolate drizzles throughout the package were sloppy and uneven.
Rank: 1. Who cares what it looks like when it tastes so good?
Blueberry Brown Sugar
The first thing that came to mind upon opening the bag? Entenmann's mini blueberry muffins. They have that sweet, artificial fruit flavor you get from frozen or dried blueberries; these are made with dried. There could have been more berry bits in each cookie—they add a welcome chewiness to the texture. The brown sugar flavor is subtle, and unlike the other fruit versions, this one is studded with flax seeds.
Rank: 2, tied with Cranberry Citrus Oat, mostly for tasting like blueberry muffins.
Cranberry Citrus Oat
I'm a huge fan of scones, and this is like a flatter, crispier (and healthier) version. Despite the name, they didn't taste any more like oats (an ingredient that shows up on every variety). These weren't as sweet as the other non-chocolate ones. The citrus and cranberry flavors coexisted harmoniously, with neither one stealing the show. But what really says it all: I ate two before remembering I had four more kinds to try.
Rank: 2, tied with Blueberry Brown Sugar
Compared to the blueberry and cranberry citrus, the actual fruit flavor here was not as pronounced, despite there being a healthy amount of dried cherry bits baked in. That's likely because the vanilla flavor is overpowering. They reminded me a little of graham crackers. Would I prefer them layered with melted chocolate and marshmallows? Sure. But a little bit of peanut butter on top did the trick.
Rank: 4, for not really tasting like cherry and tasting too much like vanilla.
Toasted Coconut Drizzled with Dark Fudge
This flavor has that too-strong, too-sweet coconut scent that I closely associate with Banana Boat sunscreen or pina coladas. Some people love that. I, unfortunately, am not one of those people. The chocolate is the only thing that saves this flavor—but like the banana, they were stuck together and messy looking.
Rank: 5. If it's chocolate and coconut I want, I'd rather eat a Mound Bar. But I'd probably just eat the banana version.
I was unable to find this flavor in stores, and although the company was willing to send them, they also didn't have any in stock. A sign that it's popular? I hope to find out eventually.
There's no question that, save for the Cherry Vanilla, each variety perfectly lives up to its name. I can definitely see myself keeping the Blueberry Brown Sugar and Cranberry Citrus Oat on hand in my office snack stash—but more as something digestive—like an accompaniment to a cup of tea. If it's dessert I want, I'm going with Banana and Dark Chocolate all the way. That is, unless someone happens to offer me a real Fig Newton.
Samples provided for review consideration.