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I associate Apricot Bars with Christmas because they were on my mom’s cookie trays each and every year. Christmas time is also when she made her phenomenal Lemon Bars. The fruity bar thing was always a nice addition to all the traditional sugar cookies and gingerbread men.
So, I got a little nostalgic this year and whipped up a batch. As soon as this post is published, they will be packaged up with an assortment of other Christmas goodies I’ve baked over the past couple of days so I can share the love with those I love.
Mom wasn’t much for writing down recipe directions. I can hear her saying “Good grief, isn’t it obvious?”. Thankfully, she carefully recorded the list of ingredients but her directions were sketchy, at best. For someone without baking knowledge, this could be quite the challenge but I’ve been able to easily rebuild many of her recipes and will continue to share them as time goes on. One distinct thing I remember about this one is that instead of just sprinkling some confectioners’ sugar on top of the bars, she would remove them from the pan and roll each bar in sugar until it was completely coated. Good thinking, Mom. It’s those little things that make a recipe special and those are precisely the things that typically don’t get recorded.
It all starts with a bag of dried apricots.
Place 2/3 cup of apricots into a small saucepan, cover them with water, and place the pan over medium high heat. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat and let them simmer until soft; about 10 minutes.
While the apricots are simmering, let’s make the base layer. Use an electric hand mixer to combine 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/4 cup white sugar, and 1-1/3 cup flour. Work it till it resembles coarse crumbs.
Pat the mixture into and 8″ x 8″ baking dish that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray. Pop that baby in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
While it’s in the oven, it’s time to get back to those apricots.
They should be nice and soft so remove the pan from the heat and drain them well.
When they are cool enough to handle, chop ’em.
Time to mix up the top layer. Grab that hand mixer again and combine 2 eggs, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat till smooth. In a smaller bowl combine 1/3 cup flour with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix it in.
Time to add all the good stuff. The chopped apricots, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut. Yum.
Use that wooden spoon to combine the mixture. Pull the base layer from the oven, and while it is still hot, pour this mixture over the top and return it to the oven.
Here is how it will look after about 25 minutes in the oven. Puffed, dark brown, and ready. Pull the pan from the oven and let it completely cool before cutting into bars.
Put some confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl and toss each bar in the sugar till well coated.
There’s nothing like them. Totally delicious. Thanks again, Mom.
- 2/3 cup dried apricots
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour divided
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom of an 8" x 8" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Place apricots in a small saucepan and add enough water to the pan to cover the apricots. Bring to a boil then reduce heat just a bit and keep at a low boil for about 10 minutes. Drain them and set aside to cool and then chop them.
- Use an electric hand mixer or food processor to combine butter, granulated sugar and 1 cup of flour until it resembles coarse crumbs. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, till lightly golden brown around the edges.
- Use an electric hand mixer to beat eggs, vanilla, and brown sugar till smooth. In a separate small bowl, combine remaining 1/3 cup flour with baking powder and salt. Use a wooden spoon to blend this mixture into the egg mixture. Stir in nuts, coconut, and apricots. Spread the mixture over the baked layer as soon as it comes out of the oven.
- Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool completely and cut into small bars. Remove bars from pan and roll them in powdered sugar.