Healthy Fig Newtons (GF)

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Squares of our Easy Healthy Fig Newtons recipe made with dates, nuts, oats, and figs

This recipe is a reader request (yay!!).

Plus, it’s actually one I’ve been meaning to take a swing at for a while now because fig newtons are kind of my jam.

I remember being able to get away with eating fig newtons as a kid because they were a “healthier” cookie. Well, at least healthier than my soft batch chocolate chip cookie addiction.

Oy. Healthier options, for the win.

Making homemade gluten-free vegan fig newtons in the food processor

Origin of Fig Newtons

It’s thought that the filling recipe for fig newtons was created by a cookie maker from Ohio. His name was Charles Roser and he may have based the idea off of British fig rolls. Then, an inventor from Florida created a machine for mass producing a hollow cookie crust and filling it with fruit preserves.

In the late 1800s, The National Biscuit Company purchased the fig filling recipe and the cookie machine and fig newtons were born! The following is our healthier, plant-based take on this delicious cookie.

How to Make Fig Newtons

These cookies are easy to make, requiring just 8 ingredients! Plus, they’re naturally sweetened and no-bake (with the exception of toasting your oats and nuts before blending).

The filling is a simple blend of dried figs, cinnamon, dates, and orange zest. And the outer cookie is made of almonds, pecans, oats, and dates.

Healthy homemade fig newtons on parchment paper

The result is a perfectly tender, sweet, fig-stuffed cookie that is great for snacking, refueling, or when you need a healthier dessert.

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Stack of delicious homemade gluten-free fig newtons

Easy Fig Newtons (GF)

8-ingredient, naturally sweetened no-bake fig newtons with nut-date cookie dough and a simple dried fig center. An incredibly tender, delicious take on classic fig newtons.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Stack of our healthy homemade fig newtons recipe
4.75 from 28 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 24 (cookies)
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine British-Inspired, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 1 Week

Ingredients

COOKIE DOUGH

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed pitted dates (~23-26 dates make 1 1/4 cups // weight measured after pitting)

FILLING

  • 8 ounces dried black mission figs (stems removed // plus hot water for soaking)
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 8-10 whole pitted dates (to sweeten)
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut sugar (optional // to sweeten)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and arrange oats and nuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes, rotating the pan near the the halfway mark to ensure even cooking, until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside.
  • Once slightly cooled, add oats, nuts, and sea salt to a food processor and process into a fine meal with salt. Remove from processor and set aside.
  • Add pitted dates to food processor and mix/pulse until small bits remain or it forms a ball. Scoop out and set aside.
  • Add nuts and oats back to food processor and spoon in the mixed dates. Mix/pulse until a loose dough is formed when squeezed between two fingers.
  • Spread the “dough” onto a clean parchment-lined surface and top flatten down with hands. Then top with another piece of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to flatten into a 1/4-inch thick sheet. Remove top sheet of parchment paper and use hands to form into a rectangle. Then halve with a knife so there are two equal strips.
  • Add figs (stems removed) to a mixing bowl and cover with hot (not boiling) water. Soak for 3 minutes, then drain but reserve fig water for later (to thin filling).
  • Add figs to food processor and blend into a ball (see photo), then add orange zest, ground cinnamon, salt and mix. Add reserved date water a little at a time until it starts to form a paste, but be careful not to add too much – you want it to be thick but spreadable.
  • Next add as many dates and/or coconut sugar as desired to sweeten and blend to combine. I used 10 dates and 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut sugar (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). However, you could also leave it as is.
  • Spread the fig paste (or transfer spread into a plastic or piping bag and “pipe”) into 1-inch-thick lines down the center of your two date-nut strips. Be careful not to add too much filling that your cookie dough can’t fold over. You may have leftover filling (which can be reserved to add to baked goods, oatmeal, or future cookies).
  • Next use the parchment paper to gently roll the edges of the dough over the fig filling until your two dough ends meet. The dough may crack a little, but because it’s moist it will reform as you continue rolling/forming. Like sushi, use the parchment paper to tighten and gently form the seams of the dough together.
  • For ease of transfer, cut both of the cookie logs in half and use a spatula or pie server to gently transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for at least 30 minutes (up to 1 hour or overnight) to set/firm up. Then use a sharp knife to slice into roughly 1-inch slices. There should be about 22-24 cookies (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
  • Enjoy immediately. Store in the refrigerator in a well-sealed container up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month! They’re delicious and tender right out of the fridge.

Notes

*Fig center loosely adapted from Martha Stewart and Giada de Laurentiis.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated using all of the fig filling and 8 additional dates in the filling per 24 cookies.

Nutrition (1 of 24 servings)

Serving: 1 cookies Calories: 115 Carbohydrates: 16.9 g Protein: 2.1 g Fat: 5.5 g Saturated Fat: 0.5 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 32 mg Fiber: 3 g Sugar: 12.2 g
Stack of homemade no-bake gluten-free fig newtons

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  1. Sanaa Khan says

    These sound interesting. I was wondering if I can just mix the fig mixture with the cookie crust and make bars? (Too lazy!)

  2. Carrie says

    This recipe is SO good! Everyone that has sampled it absolutely loved them! What a thrill to have healthy gluten free fig newtons!! I did not change anything in the recipe, but I did soften the dates. THANK YOU!

  3. Kent says

    Unfortunately, the cookie dough part of the recipe was too crumbly to enjoy. I added more dates then the recipe calls for, and froze it for 2.5 hours. In the end we were left with mostly just nut and date crumbs, and a frozen fig purée.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kent, we’re sorry to hear it didn’t turn out as expected! It sounds like the dates may have been too dry. Were they sticky and moist?

  4. Max says

    This recipe looks amazing… has anyone pulled this off with fresh figs? I have a couple trees just dripping in ripe and delicious figs right now!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, we don’t think it would work because dried provides an intense flavor and sticky texture. But if you want to try it, we’d suggest boiling them down to concentrate the flavor. Let us know if you try it!

  5. Gabby says

    These are just unreal. Toasting the oats and nuts took the flavor to another level. Thank you so much for the recipe! I will make these again and again!

  6. Katie says

    Made this recipe quite a while ago and my only hesitation to returning to it is that the last time I ate it I ate every single bar within 24 hours. Very dangerous. So delicious, I had a bit of a hard time assembling in the traditional newton shape but obviously that doesn’t matter to the flavor as long as there is filling next to crust.

  7. LJ says

    This recipe is amazing. Love that it’s such a healthy recipe. Instructions were easy & taste is on point. I used organic Smyrna figs vs Mission figs so maybe that’s why my filling came out same color as the dough (cookie) so there’s no discernable difference from the side view. Anyone else have this outcome? I’ll have to try Black Mission next time.

  8. Carrie White says

    These are absolutely amazing and so easy to make. I love the orange zest! I made half a recipe “just in case”, but I will clearly make a whole recipe next time….probably tomorrow:)! Thank you!!!!!

  9. Tt says

    These were lovely, made for vegan and non-vegans. Didn’t add the coconut sugar.
    Rolling was a bit crumbly, but easy enough, like she says, don’t add too much filling and give it a gentle squeeze as you roll.
    Thanks!

  10. Raquel says

    I found my 1 1/4 cup of medjool dates was around 10 or so, not 20+ like the recipe stated. For the filling I used 1 T of coconut sugar and 2-3 dates. It came out perfect. I’ve never had a fig newtons but they’re my boyfriend’s favorite, and he LOVED these! Highly recommend! Thank you!

  11. Venus Firenza says

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. It looks amazingly healthy and delicious. I have almond trees and was thinking about growing a couple of fig trees. Now I am sure that I will be planting some fig trees. This is such a great idea! So excited to try this!

  12. Anna says

    I loved this recipe! I am excited to make them again. I did have a difficult time rolling the outside around the filling. How can I make the “cookie dough” roll better?

    PS: Everything I have made from your site is delicious.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Anna, you can always keep the dough a little thicker when rolling and that should help. Also, add more dates next time as they tend to act more like glue. Hope that helps!

  13. Heidi says

    The directions were very thorough and easy to follow, except for one. When shaping the dough into a rectangle, is the rectangle going left to right or top to bottom? When I cut it in half, am I going to be left with two short, fat pieces of dough, or 2 tall, thin pieces of dough?

  14. Lindsay says

    These were delicious!! You mention in the recipe that you can use the extra filling in other recipes…can you give examples? I don’t want this to go to waste

  15. janet says

    I couldn’t find whether you specified Medjool or Deglet? (my guess) I’m leaning towards the stickier Medjool.. which did you use?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Suseth! We haven’t tried using kalamata crown figs, but if you do, report back on how it goes!

      • Suseth says

        I tried them with the kalamata figs and they were delicious, but I was curious to see the difference and went out and searched for mission figs and made them a second time. These are definitely better with mission figs, but kalamata or whatever figs you find at your grocery store work in a bind.

  16. Maria L says

    OMG, this was absolutely delicious! I made it tonight —- followed every step and added the optional 1 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar. These are so much better than store-bought for sure. This was a big hit with my family!

    I didn’t need to use a piping bag for the fig paste as I was able to scoop and spread it using a mini spatula I had on hand. My hands did get a little sticky, lol, but was not too much of a problem. Rolling the dough was easy using parchment paper to roll the ends together. I placed it in the freezer for about 90 minutes and they were just the right texture to cut through with a knife.

    Great recipe, Dana!!! You are amazing! Thank you so much.

  17. Katie says

    Do you think there would be similar results if dried Turkish figs were used instead of Black Mission figs?

  18. Denise says

    Growing up on the lowest rung of the Standard American Diet, I thought fig newtons was a health food, the ultimate healthy snack at that; and I would eat fig newtons nonstop whenever I got my hands on the delicious treat. Older and wiser, I have since abandoned my junk food staples, and today I am so very pleased to (finally) encounter this recipe.

    I don’t have a rolling pin and didn’t feel like improvising with a wine bottle, so I just carefully made these healthy fig newton in three layers, each evenly pressed on top of each other on a glass dish, chilling each layer to set in the freezer briefly between each even-as-possible layer application. The best part is that it is no-bake and that the “cookie dough” and “filling” all tastes tenfold better than the unhealthy fig newtons I grew up on (and I feel great after eating them too!)

  19. Stacey says

    I made these tonight for my kids and they are absolutely fabulous. A bit of work but not too bad. Huge hit and have extra for other experimenting! Love your stuff.

  20. LTSylvester says

    These are fantastic. Fun to make. Super tasty. Love love love. I used 10 dates and no extra sugar. The taste of the roasted nuts, orange zest, and cinnamon are lovely. Can’t wait to share them with my family over the holidays… that is, of course, if there are any left for them. ;)

  21. bel_baking says

    Love love love!
    Made these today and it is taking all of my will power to not eat the rest of them. I love these babies from the roasted pecans to dough to the delicious fig jam inside! Thank you for bringing this deliciousness into my life.
    From,
    Insta: bel_baking
    :)

  22. Jessica says

    I have a green fig tree and a lot of figs. They are ripe just not brown figs, would this work if I dried them first? I am afraid they may not be sweet enough. Thoughts?

  23. Katie says

    I made these and while they were not quite as easy as the recipe sounded, they were so amazing. I had a really hard time with the “rolling” maneuvers and mine kind of fell apart so I had to work a while trying to piece it together. But, the end result was I could NOT stop eating them; they were so so tasty. I am going to make them again but next time I think I’ll just kind of press it all into a glass pan rather than trying to roll anything out.

  24. Addison says

    When you say “raw” do you mean non roasted or what is in the bulk bin that is roasted, I am not a baker by any stretch if at all but want to take a shot at this. Thanks

  25. Bernie Emmons says

    Hello. I made these and they’re really good. A couple of things – I didn’t know which way to cut the dough, so I cut it in four quarters. After rolling they were really sticky, so I put the “logs” in the freezer for a while before cutting them into individual pieces. Like someone else mentioned, they ended up rolling like a cinnamon roll. Too bad I can’t post a photo at this site. They look really good.

    They’ll taste even better tonight when I have them with a little bourbon and blue cheese.

  26. Tana Bowling says

    I made these last night, and they’re absolutely fabulous! It may look like a lot of steps, but they actually come together quickly. The only addition I made was to add a little almond butter to help the dough come together… because I had ‘taste tested’ too many of the dates and came up short. Great job, Dana! I appreciate the efforts you make to give us such creative, healthy recipes.

  27. Cera Fairhurst says

    These are amazing! Going to make them for second time today! Only thing is i’m not clear on the rolling them over part at the end. I just cut in half and flipped the one side o the other…? How exactly do i do it?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Cera! You got it! Just fill them and fold over (But be sure not to overfill!)

  28. Ann says

    Yummy. I substituted craisins for the figs. Sprinkled sea salt on the finished bars for a wonderful sweet/salty combo.

  29. Warren says

    I thought your recipes were supposed to be easy, as in simple. Well, maybe it’s because I’m a beginner. but to me, this recipe is too difficult to even attempt. Too many ingredients, and too many steps.

  30. Phyllis Sussman says

    Hi – I am up to the freezing stage on these cookies and am wondering if I should bake the cookies for 10 minutes after I take them out of the freezer.

  31. Cynthia says

    WOW. I made these last night, and they are amazing! WAY, WAY better–and healthier–than fig newtons from the store. I don’t feel guilty having one or two with breakfast.

  32. Ann Opinion says

    Love the GF Easy Fig Newton recipe!
    Gave it to two friends that like fig newtons as well and they really liked it too.
    Will definitely keep as a part of my recipe index to make again.
    I adapted instructions a bit to simply roll out a rectangle of the dough that I cut in half on parchment, spread with the filling and simply folded one half on top of the other and then cut into squares. I did not roll it at all and they came out beautiful. Thanks for a great recipe!

  33. Tess says

    The second time I made it I thought I could use 100% almonds instead of 50% pecans. Big Mistake! Best to follow tested ingredients. The oil in the pecans helps the cookie outside to stay together. This is an unbelievable fig newton cookie.
    THANKS so much, Minimalist Baker. I LOVE your recipes!

  34. Judy says

    My daughter made the fig newtons from your recipe and believe me they are the best I have ever tasted.
    Thank you so much for all of the good recipes!

  35. Tina says

    I’ve been lurking here awhile, by that I mean using your recipes 2-3x a week. I love the work you’re doing and I love your blog. I made these fig newtons but I made them more like cinnamon rolls and turned them into a giant log, the resulting newton was visually pleasing and totally yummy!!
    Thanks
    Tina and fam :)

  36. Jen says

    Hello
    We are going to make these this week…but with fresh stewed figs. They are a bit moist (con tinting to work them isn’t quite helping). We’re working on ways to get th to a stickier state. Any thoughts before we start our experimentation?
    Many thanks
    Jen

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jen, I don’t think fresh figs will work in this recipe! If you’re still going to experiment with them definitely let us know your thoughts!

  37. Megan A. says

    I JUST made these, and they are incredible. I followed the directions just as Dana described and they are perfect: chewy, moist, nutty, and fun to make.

    Actually I’ve been on an “Minimalist Baker” tear lately. Yesterday, I made the Vegan and GF pumpkin bread… WOW! Like most people, I usually find GF breads to be too dense, or worse, crumbling and dry, this was anything but that. This bread is moist, chewy, and not too sweet. Perfect for bringing in the changing seasons. I’m not typically one to leave comments, but these recipes need to be celebrated!

  38. Kathryn says

    These are so delightfully chewy! I made them and kept them in the freezer for a quick pick-me-up. They disappeared within a few days!

  39. Gem says

    Made these this afternoon. My cookies came out a little too sticky so I ended up toasting some more oats and blending them with some cinnamon to roll the finished cookies in.

    I really liked these cookies – they were tasty and filling! However, my fig-Newton loving, health food avoiding boyfriend was on the fence about these.

  40. Sadie says

    I made these yesterday – they’re sooooooooo amaaaazzziiiinggg!!!!!!! The only thing I did differently was to use dark soft brown sugar instead of coconut sugar, and they were great. They were actually quite easy to do (mine rolled perfectly using baking paper) and made 24 fig newtons exactly. I took some to a party last night and they were still perfect after almost 6 hours in the car! Everyone loved them :)

  41. Dena says

    Delicious! I made these as the perfect pre 5:30 AM workout snack! I keep them in the freezer and they come out nice and soft! I eat one before every workout for quick energy without bloating/fullness.

  42. Michelle says

    Hi Dana,
    Thank you so much for this amazing recipe. I just made it and it came out great! I tried to follow the recipe exactly. I added about 7 dates to the filling for sweetness. The taste is delicious-so much better than the store bought ones-no comparison! :)

  43. Nichole says

    I cut the dough into 2 “strips.” When you say to roll until the two dough pieces meet, how does that happen? My two strips are side-by-side. I spread the filling onto each side. I roll… why did I cut the dough into two pieces? Why not just roll the whole thing like a jelly roll? I love the dough…it’s delicious. I’m just lost at the rolling part.

  44. Stephanie says

    I tried it after finding black mission figs. I struggled a bit trying to get the right texture for the dough, I had to wet my hand a few times for the dough to stick together without cracking when rolling. I was also a bit confused as to the size of the rectangle. I went with my logic… I had a bit of extra filling and it didn’t close perfectly, but they still look awesome, hold very well even at room temperature, and are extremely tasty!! It gave me 24 satisfying pucks. The man of the house loves them too!

  45. martina says

    I just tried this recipe and it’s THE BOMB! Super easy to make, just make sure you spread out the dough not too thick or too thin, so you can roll it up nicely.
    It was a killer at home :-)

  46. Iris says

    Brilliant recipe! I made these last night, and they turned out amazing. I followed everything as written, no substitutions. I love dried figs but I’m thinking I’d like to try apricots (or ?) for filling next time <3 Thank you!

  47. Sasha says

    First, I love your recipes! Second, sadly, I don’t love figs :( I am a fan of dates and raisins though. Do you think these could be converted into Date Newtons (maybe with raisins in the dough…or just all dates)? If so, what would be an appropriate measurement?

    Thank you so much!

  48. Lynsey says

    Not the biggest fan of figs but I’d be interested to see if they work with apricots! They look so tasty, excited to give them a go! L x

  49. Lena says

    Hi Dana, just made these today, and they are DIVINE! It’s the perfect blend of fruit, nuts,and spices. I have to admit, I can’t stop eating them lol! Thank you so much for creating delicious recipes for those of us that are on restricted diets and who also want to live a healthier lifestyle. Will definitely be making these again soon!

    • Lena says

      Wanted to add, the recipe worked brilliantly as stated except I subbed apricots for figs. Followed all instructions exactly and they were perfect!

  50. Elizabeth says

    Was excited to try these today, but I found the dough is way too dry to roll well, it just crumbled apart, and I wouldn’t call this “easy” by any definition–my kitchen looked like a disaster after! That said, they are super tasty…as a crumbly ice cream topping :)

    • Mallory says

      I had the same problem. I’ve made them 3 times now and keep tweaking the recipe but always have the same result. Way too crumbly to form into a roll. I’ve even added many more dates to try and make it more sticky. Only way we could get it to stick together enough to put into any shape was just mix the filling with the dough.

  51. Cassie says

    These. Look. Phenomenal. Would this recipe also work with any dried fruit? I think making a cherry newton and an apricot newton would be so fun!

  52. Sophie says

    Hey, your new banner ads are driving me crazy. They hide the option to share/pin recipes and there’s no way I can click them away or remove them…. Is there anything I can do to get rid of them? Thanks so much.

    Just bought your book by the way – I love it!

  53. Caz says

    Hello Dana! I just want you know that at least 75% of my many many many bookmarked recipes come from your site. You are my cooking spirit animal. I’m so grateful for you.

    With that gushing aside, I was wondering if for this recipe and ones like it, do you know of good GF substitutes for most popular nuts (peanuts, almonds, pecans?) Especially replacing almonds and pecans in this recipe. My sister is allergic but can weirdly have cashews, macadamias, and then most seeds except for sesame with no issues whatsoever. I would love ideas. I don’t feel like cashews would be a good substitute for almonds but would love to hear your opinion. Thank you so so much!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      HI Caz! So kind. I think other nuts would work, with sunflower seeds or cashews being your best bet. When in doubt, mix a bunch together!

  54. Melinda says

    Hi Dana,

    I absolutely love your recipes. But, I am allergic to dates. Any substitution ideas?

    Thanks!

  55. Leila Revel says

    Love fig newtons and can’t wait to try this recipe. Do you know the measurement for the figs in cups (or a rough estimate). Also, curious which type of dates you used for this recipe? Thanks so much for everything you do. I just told my sister about your blog and she is blown away, already with a huge list of recipes she wants to try.

  56. Beth says

    Ugh! Is what I say every time I go onto this blog. I say out loud ugh!!!! This looks sooooo good! How does she do it! ;) love all your cooking and can’t wait to try this Dona!

  57. Jasmin says

    I didn’t have Newtons for ages.. now I can. The recipe is so simple and I’ll bet it taste heavenly!

  58. Barbara says

    I will definitely try this. I love making peach and other jams, so will try it with other fillings, too.

  59. Mari says

    The recipe looks scrumptious! Doe have any suggestions for making the fig bars nut free? One of my children has allergies.

    Thanks.

  60. Natalie | Feasting on Fruit says

    My favorite cookie!!! I’m loving this no-bake version, and they are so fruity. Nope, wouldn’t share these with anyone…too good <3

  61. Linda Kriss says

    Unbelievable! I was just wondering if you had a wholesome GF version of fig newtons. These are my all-time favorite comfort food. I plan to make these this weekend. Many thanks.

  62. Masha | Cardio with Carrots says

    AAAAh!!!! LOVE THIS!!!!! I used to be obsessed as a kid with fig newtons. Thank you for making a “healthy” vegan version. YUM!!

  63. Mavis says

    Can’t wait to give this a try. Love Fig Newtons but want a healthier vegan version these days. Thanks for coming up with this recipe.

  64. Jan says

    Hi Dana. I was wondering if you could substitute prunes for the dates and figs. I am not a fan of either dates or figs but I love prunes. Thanks.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      That should work, but I haven’t tried it myself and can’t promise the results will be the same. Let me know if you give it a try though!

  65. Harriet says

    I have an abundance of figs growing at the moment and really wanted a healthy recipe to use them… could you use fresh figs instead and not soak them? Thank you

      • Harriet says

        Thank you for your reply. If you have any fresh fig recipes I would love to see them. Just going through your beautiful cookbook too. Cant wait to try the recipes in there!

  66. Annie says

    Yum! Fig Newtons are one of my favorites and I have been bummed to give them up! Cannot wait to try this out!
    xx Annie