Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Luscious Apricot Bars

We love the Apricot King, and buy his dried apricots, apricot pepper jelly (yum!)  apricot jam, and especially his apricot syrup which is scrumptious on pancakes and waffles.  Apricot King

Of course dried apricots are tasty for munching, but I'm always on the lookout for recipes that call for dried apricots.  Below is one of the best.  This recipe was requested in either Gourmet or Bon Appetit.  Don't use a non-stick pan, because the bottom crust may overbrown in it, and besides, you don't want to scratch th pan when you're cutting the bars.  The recipe says "Makes 12 bars" but I am finding nowadays that folks prefer small helpings of treats, so I cut 16 bars and halve a few of those for dainty appetites.

The recipe came originally from the Putah Creek Cafe  

Apricot Bars 12 - 20 bars depending on size

2/3 cup California dried apricots
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
confectioners (powdered) sugar for dusting.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Simmer apricots in water to cover in a small saucepan, covered, 15 minutes.  Drain, them cool to room temperature and finely chop.
Beat together butter, granulated sugar, and 1 cup of the flour with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 
Press evenly over the bottom of a greased 8 inch square pan (not nonstick) and bake in the middle of oven until golden, about 25 minutes.
While crust is baking:
Beat together, in same bowl, chopped apricots, brown sugar, eggs, walnuts, baking powder, vanilla, salt and remaining 1/3 cup flour  on medium speed until combined well. 
Pour topping over cooked hot crust, and bake in middle of oven until topping is set and golden, 25 - 30 minutes more.
Cool in pan on  rack and cut into 12 - 18 bars, then dust with confectioners sugar. 
Bars keep in an airtight container at room temperature 2 days.  They are better the second day after baking.  

Nice to dirty only one saucepan and one bowl, yes?  These are winners.  Not overly sweet, but sweet enough.  Nuts can be omitted if nut allergies are present.

Thursday for my Toastmasters Holiday Party, I'm making the Apricot Bars, from Coffee-Spice Shortbread with Crystallized Ginger, tea sandwiches (rolled) and a spinach quiche.  We have a truly international group, and I hope there will be something to appeal to everyone. I promise to photograph the apricot bars, because we know a pictures is always at least 1000 words. 



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