From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I love a parade and because I am relentless, my friends have learned to love them, too. Today, I shanghaied them for a trip to Portland to see the Rose Parade. Our crew gets larger every year and when we get together, we look like we're on a field trip, enjoying a day away from the home. I suspect we were quite a sight. In addition to chairs, we were also lugging picnic hampers for lunch in the park to round out the day. Food for the picnic was a communal affair and I was the designated dessert lady. I made several types of bar cookies because they travel well and could hold up to the jostling that would get them from here to there. I'll eventually be sharing all the recipes with you, but tonight I'd like to focus on the one that made the cookie that I liked least. Let me hasten to add, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these cookies, save for the fact they are too sweet for my taste. The sweet lovers in the group enjoyed the bars and they were gone by the end of the afternoon. The cookies, while expensive to make, are simple to prepare and all the information you need to successfully make them is in the recipe below. If you have a sweet tooth, I suspect you'll love these bars. Here is how they are made.
Apricot-Oatmeal Bars with Pistachios and Chocolate Chips...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Fine Cooking magazine
9-ounces (2 cups) all purpose flour
1-1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon table salt
8 ounces (1 cup) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 ounces (about 1 cup) chopped, shelled natural pistachios
1/2 cup diced dried apricots
1/2 cup white chocolate or semisweet chocolate morsels
1 (15-1/4-oz.) jar apricot preserves
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Using an electric mixer, combine flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, and salt; mix on low speed until well combined. Add butter and mix on medium until butter is mostly blended and mixture appears moist and begins to pull together, about 3 minutes. Stir in pistachios. Transfer 1-1/2 cups of crumb mixture to another bowl, then stir dried apricots and chocolate morsels into it, and refrigerate.
2) Firmly press remaining mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake in middle of oven for 25 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes (leave the oven on). Spread apricot preserves evenly on top, leaving a 1/8-inch border around the edge of the crust.
3) Crumble reserved crumb mixture over apricot preserves. Return to oven and bake until lightly browned and fruit filling is bubbling all over, including the center of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing into 18 bars (or into smaller pieces, if you like).
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