Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This has to be among the most elegant cookies that I make. Apricot goodness just fills your mouth with sunshine! Beautiful and delicious! These would be perfect for a shower or tea with the girls.
Since returning to my cookbooks for inspiration, I am rediscovering so many gems. I had completely forgotten all about this one until I saw it again in my Heartland Baking cookbook. I'm glad I found it and I just can't wait to share it with you!
For the crust
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sifted flour
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced
For the topping
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup water
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
You're going to be doing a little multi-tasking here, so read through the directions first.
Grate the lemon, set aside. Finely chop the walnuts, set aside. (Make them wait for you until you need them.)
Preheat your oven to 350F. You'll need an 8 x 8 baking dish, ungreased.
In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Add the butter and using a pastry blender, cut the butter in the mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Turn the mixture into the baking dish and press it, forming an even layer. Bake the crust for 15 minutes and then remove it from the oven. Leave the oven on.
While the crust is baking, combine the apricots and water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the apricots are soft, about 10 minutes.
Strain the liquid, reserve. Chop the apricots.
Return the apricots to the saucepan and add the lemon rind, sugar, cornstarch and 4 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Cook about one minute. Keep a watchful eye on the time! Too long and you'll have the apricots cemented to your saucepan.
Cool slightly. Spread the apricot mixture over the crust.
Sprinkle the chopped walnuts and put the baking dish in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes more.
Cool before cutting into bars.