It’s hard to find good apricot bar. Most don’t have enough apricots in them. And/Or are too sweet. And/Or they taste like orange gooey stuff, and not apricots.
These have a lot of apricots in them. If you don’t like apricots, do not make these bars. Go make something else.
This began as a recipe from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion, but here, as in many other of my recipes, I’ve revised the proportions of things to emphatically emphasize with enthusiasm and extra emphasis, what I think are the important bits – in this case, apricots.
The Filling Part:
- 16 oz. Dried Apricots – I use a full bag of Dried Apricots from Trader Joe’s – Chop them to bits about 1/4″-1/2″
- 2 Tablespoons of Grand Marnier or Brandy (optional but tasty)
- 1/2 C Sugar
- 1-1/2 C Water
Dump and stir the above ingredients in a medium sized saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook this mixture for 8-10 minutes over medium heat, until the fruit is soft and has absorbed most of the water. It doesn’t have to be dry, just not watery.
I would’ve shot and provided a picture of the result of the cooking and pureeing the apricot mush, but in the process of making this last batch, I threw my camera on the floor and shattered the filter. (Just so you know, I did not do this on purpose, and the camera seems to be fine, though the UV filter now is in a million pieces.) I became rather too distracted to take pictures of this part. The next time I make apricot bars, I’ll take pictures of this step and revise this post.
Sorry about that distraction.
Cool slightly, and puree it slightly more in a food processor or blender. At this point you should have a mixture the consistency of jam. Leave some bits and chunks of apricots if you are like me and do not want totally smooth orange goo in the middle of your apricot bar. And if you don’t have or want to use a blender or food processor, that’s fine too. You’ll just end up with a chunkier apricot bar. From my point of view, that’s far better than an orange goo one.
The Crust and Topping Part:
- 2-1/4 C All Purpose Flour (sometimes to delude myself into thinking I am making healthy cookies, I’ll sub in 2 C White Whole Wheat Flour – no one’s the wiser)
- 1-1/4 C Confectioner’s sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 C Unsalted Butter – Use salted butter if that’s what you have on hand, but then don’t add more salt
- 1 C Chopped Pecans
- Turbinado Sugar or Coarse Sugar
Mix all of the ingredients up to the pecans in a bowl.
I use the same food processor that I’ve just blended the apricots in. (Dump the apricots into a separate other holding bowl first. You do not have to stop and wash the food processor bowl and blade if you scrape out well, they’re all going to go together eventually and those food processor bowl and blade things are pesky to wash in between steps)
Mix these ingredients until things are starting to hold together. If you are using a food processor, the best way is to pulse the machine repeatedly.
Transfer 1-1/4 C of this mixture to another bowl, stir in the chopped nuts and set aside (You’ve just made topping)
Press the rest of the mixture into a parchment lined 9×13 pan. Bake the crust in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the bottom crust looks lightly browned.
While still warm, spread the crust with the filling. Spread the topping mixture over the filling. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar or coarse sugar. (I used about 2 Tablespoons or so of the sugar for this part)
Return the pan to the oven, and bake for 28-32 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Cut into bars.
These freeze well if you find you have too many. I wrap bars in groups in plastic wrap, then again in foil, and label them so I don’t confuse them with other things, and so I can adhere to my ‘First in, First out’ policy of weakening the gravitational pull of the freezer black hole.
I have always loved apricot bars…a healthier bar cookie than most.
I think we will have to run out and buy the ingredients for these bars and make them immediately, following your instructions to the letter! Is it required to smash the UV filter of the camera to achieve the perfect result illustrated? I am not complaining, just want to be clear. Oh! Now I see you mentioned that was unintentional, so I will skip that step! Thanks for the great recipe!
Thanks for sharing the recipe! They look really yummy!