From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I've been saving a series of bar cookie recipes that I wanted to share with you when time and an appropriate occasion converged. It's finally happened. All of the recipes I've been working on have a couple of things in common. They are easy to prepare, but the ingredients used to make them are expensive. Working on the theory that you get what you pay for, I overlooked price and picked a couple that had the greatest visual appeal to me. The recipes came from a special interest publication, The Best of Fine Cooking Cookies, and because of the caliber of these recipes I knew the cookies would be worth the time and cost required to make them. That proved to be the case. These fruit and nut bars will appeal to those who enjoy European-style fruit-based desserts. They are very rich, a bit sweeter than I like, but they are festive and quite appropriate for a holiday table. The recipe is straight forward and you will have no problems if you follow it as written. I do hope you will give it a try. Here is how the fruit bars are made.
Apricot and Chocolate Chip Nut Bars ...from the kitchen of One Perfect bite courtesy of The Best of Fine Cooking Cookies
2 cups (9-oz.) 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
1 cup (8-oz.) cup) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 oz. (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) Heat oven to 325 degrees F. With an electric mixer, combine flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, and salt and 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. Set aside 1-1/2 cups of this crumb mixture, stir dried apricots and chocolate morsels into it, and refrigerate.
2) Firmly press remaining mixture into bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake in middle of the 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 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 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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