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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Buttery Apricot Coconut Bars



Sometimes you just need a rich little dessert to top off a summer meal full of salad and veggies or grilled entrees. This is a quick and easy bar cookie, especially if you have some pre-soaked dried apricots. I had an extra pound that I cooked up after last Christmas's baking and then froze. Though it was really a last minute thing that I did to clear out the cupboard (and to keep the non-sulfured fruits from darkening any further), but it's been nice to be able to just pull out a cup of these little nuggets for these bars or for an apricot-zucchini quick bread.


Apricot Coconut Bars with Toasted Walnuts

Crust
1/3 c butter
1/3 c powdered sugar
1 c flour

Filling
1/2 c coconut
1/2 c soaked and chopped dried apricots
1/2 c coarsely chopped walnuts
2 t butter OR 1 t butter, 1 t canola oil
3 eggs
3 T flour
1/3 c brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

Powdered sugar icing—about 1 cup, flavored with a bit of almond flavoring

1.  Crust
Soften the butter in 9 X 12 pan and mix in the powdered sugar and 1 c flour. Pat evenly over the bottom of the pan.

2.  Filling
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and stir in the walnuts. Continue stirring while toasting the walnuts for about 5 minutes, until they are fragrant and starting to darken just slightly—do NOT overcook!
Remove from heat and stir in the coconut and apricots. Allow to cool slightly and then add remaining filling ingredients.
Spread filling over crust and bake at 350 degrees about 20 minutes, until just golden and set.

3.  Remove from oven and drizzle with icing while still warm. Allow to cool before cutting in pieces. Makes about 32.


.

Rehydrated Apricots

1 pound dried apricots
water

The apricots may be kept whole or cut into bite-sized chunks, whichever you prefer. 
Place the apricots in a glass container and add just enough water to barely cover. Place in microwave, lightly covered, and heat on high about 3 minutes, until the liquid begins to bubble just a bit. Remove from the microwave, press the fruit down so it is well-covered, and allow to stand until cool. If the fruit is very juicy, you may want to drain a bit of the liquid (which makes a wonderful addition to orange juice or as liquid in any bread you may be making).  May be used immediately or put in recipe-sized bags and frozen.




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