The problem was finding a recipe that actually used fresh, rather than dried, figs in the filling. That's when I stumbled upon The Beantown Baker's version of these little treats. In her recipe, Jen uses fresh figs and a shortbread-like dough to come up with a pretty solid approximation of a fig newton.
I found that the cookies/bars were a little softer than a store-bought newton, but I actually preferred this after tasting. The filling was perfect and was preferable as well (at least to people who tried them). My mother-in-law said it nicely when she commented that the filling was less "gritty" than in a store-bought newton which was due to the fact that even though the seeds were left in the fig mash, they somehow were less noticeable in the final product.
All in all, this is a great recipe that will have you craving fig newtons from your oven rather than the supermarket. A word of advice...do not omit, for any reason, the orange zest from the dough. It adds fantastic flavor and makes the newtons taste more authentic.
Since I used the recipe as it was on The Beantown Baker blog, so I am not going to re-post it here. Go over and visit Jen using the link above to get the recipe and try these yummy little goodies for yourself.