Light and delicate but crispy and crumbly, these fig bars are the perfect treat when you can't decide between cookies or cake (and why should you have to?). They're a slightly more sophisticated version of the classic Fig Newton, equally loved by kids and adults.
Make the filling. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the dried figs and two cups water over high heat. Bring the liquid to a low boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until the mixture is thick and the liquid has been absorbed, 15-20 minutes. In the last 5 minutes, use the back of a wooden spoon to crush the figs and mash them into a compote. Remove from heat and stir in the honey, almond extract, and vanilla extract.
Make the crust and topping. Using a hand mixer, cream the brown sugar and butter at high speed until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add the baking soda and mix for 10 seconds more or until incorporated. Add the flour, rolled oats, and almond flour to the bowl and use a rubber spatula to combine.
Press two-thirds of the flour/oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread the fig compote evenly over the crust.
Mix the sliced almonds into the remaining crust mixture. Sprinkle the crust over the fig compote, then gently pressing the pieces into the filling to adhere.
Bake for 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown all over. Cool in the pan set on top of a wire rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate to chill, about 2 hours. The fig bars will keep in the fridge in a covered container for up to 5 days.