Olympian-Approved Fig Jam Cookies

Fuel your next workout with these sweet treats, which provide balanced, lasting energy—without the sugar.

Photo by Alan Weiner
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  • Makes 24 cookies

When you’re running an average of 100 miles each week (yes, you read that right), keeping your energy levels up is crucial. Which is why Olympic marathon runner Shalane Flanagan whips up these nutritious Fig Jam Cookies to have on hand as a pre-run snack. Well, as a pre-second run snack. The four-time Olympian’s training regimen often calls for a run in the morning (which she fuels with a smoothie of beets, blueberries, banana, milk, coconut water, fresh ginger, and almond butter), an afternoon strength training session, and a second, shorter run later in the day. With such a grueling schedule, good nutrition is essential. Flanagan has teamed up with chef and nutrition coach Elyse Kopecky to write Run Fast. Eat Slow., a cookbook packed with recipes guaranteed to provide athletes—both of the world class and weekend warrior varieties—with the key nutrients they need to keep healthy and stay energized. These Fig Jam Cookies are like souped up Fig Newtons, minus the high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and preservatives. Even better, they are loaded with nourishing fats from the almond flour, sesame seeds, tahini, and coconut oil. “Good fats like these are essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism, building lean muscle, and absorbing nutrients,” Flanagan says. “People would be surprised to see how much butter, olive oil, and coconut oil I go through on a weekly basis!”

Try these cookies to satisfy a sweet craving without the blood sugar spike.


  1. Check Filling:
  2. Check 2 cups (10 ounces) dried black mission figs, stems removed
  3. Check cup tahini (ground sesame seeds)
  4. Check 1 tablespoon water
  5. Check 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  6. Check Dough:
  7. Check cups whole wheat flour
  8. Check 1 cup almond flour or almond meal
  9. Check ½ cup sesame seeds
  10. Check ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  11. Check cup coconut oil
  12. Check ½ cup maple syrup
  13. Check 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. To make the filling: In a food processor, combine the figs, tahini, water, and cinnamon and puree until smooth, stopping as needed to scrape down the sides and underneath the blade.
  3. To make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, almond flour or meal, sesame seeds, and salt.
  4. Place the oil in a small microwaveable bowl and microwave in increments of 10 seconds, stirring in between, until almost completely melted. (Alternatively, the oil can be melted in a small saucepan over low heat.) Stir in the maple syrup and vanilla. Pour over the flour mixture and mix until a dough forms.
  5. To form the cookies: Divide the dough into 3 balls. Roll each ball out on a lightly floured work surface to create three 12 x 4-inch rectangles (use your hands to shape while rolling).
  6. Divide the fig jam into thirds, shape into 1-inch wide logs, and place centered on each piece of dough. Fold the edges of the dough over the figs to overlap slightly in the middle and press gently to seal (use your fingers to smooth out any cracks).
  7. Gently roll the tops of each log to slightly flatten. Slice each log into 8 cookies and bake until lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

This recipe is excerpted with permission from Run Fast. Eat Slow., by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky, Rodale Books copyright © 2016