Combine the chopped figs, water, apple brandy, sugar and orange zest in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 90 minutes or until the figs have started to fall apart and most of the liquid is evaporated. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Using a food processor or blender, process the figs until they are a thick, sticky paste. Transfer to an airtight container and set aside. If making the cookies the next day, refrigerate the fig mixture but bring to room temperature about an hour before using.
While the figs are cooking, prepare the cookie dough.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir in the orange zest and set aside. Beat together the butter and light brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until incorporated. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until blended. Gather the dough together and wrap it in a large piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough into a large disc and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, a few hours or overnight.
Roll the dough out on a floured piece of parchment paper. Be sure to dust the rolling pin and dough with flour to prevent sticking. Using a ruler, check the dough frequently until you have a rectangle 9" x 10.5". Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the wider side of the dough into 3 (3 1/2") strips. You should end up with three - 3 1/2 inch strips each about 9" long.
Spread the fig paste evenly down the center of each piece of dough. Be sure to use all the fig paste. Bring the sides of the dough up until it meets and overlaps in the center. Press gently toseal the seam. Take a pair of kitchen scissors and cut the parchment paper with the finished cookie roll away from the last two remaining strips of dough.
Using the parchment paper to carry the dough, transfer the sealed cookie bar to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently flip the dough over so it's seem side down. Repeat with the other two strips of dough. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until the dough is lightly puffed and just starting to brown. While the bars are still hot, use a pizza cutter and cut each into individual sized cookies about 2 or 3 inches.
Store the cookies in an airtight container while still slightly warm. They may get a little hard but will soften after a few hours giving the cookies that cake-like texture you find with a store bought Fig Newton.