1 1/2 c. dried apricots
1/4 c. cranberry juice
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter
1 c. chopped almonds
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. orange zest
A small batch of these layered gooey bar cookies is a nice change of pace on the Christmas cookie table. And with all that dried fruit, it almost approaches a healthy choice!
We made these for my sister-in-law's birthday - they were a big hit.
Yield: 20 bars
You will need: a pastry blender, a food processor or stick blender
Note: Bakes twice.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray.
Prepare the fruit layer
In a saucepan, combine apricots, cranberry juice, water, and brown sugar.
Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 10 min., until apricots are tender. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Make the base
Into a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and drop it into the flour mixture. Cut it into the flour using a pastry blender, working the dough until the mixture resembles cornmeal. (The butter should be all cut up into teeny tiny pieces; this ensures that when it bakes, the butter is distributed evenly throughout the dough and not clumped up in one place.)
Stir in almonds, sugar, and orange zest. The mixture will be crumbly. Measure out 2/3 c. of this mixture and set aside (this will be the topping).
Press the remaining base mixture into the bottom of the prepared 8x8 baking pan.
Bake base at 350°F for 10 min., or until firm.
While base is baking, place the apricot mixture in a food processor (or use an immersion blender) to puree. The consistency should be smooth(ish) and spreadable.
Finish it up
Remove the base from the oven. Carefully spread the apricot mixture over the top of the baked base. (The base still has a tendency towards crumbling, have a light touch spreading the apricots.) Sprinkle the reserved 2/3 c. of flour/sugar/nut mixture over the top of the apricots. Make sure the edges are "well topped" - the apricots at the edges have a tendency to burn and get bitter.
Bake at 350°F for 25-30 min., until topping is golden.
Let cool completely before cutting.
Cut 4 x 5 to make 20 bars.
Share and enjoy!
Submitted by Gretchen Grant Contributed on: and modified on Thursday April 29th, 2010