Fresh Apricot Bars

Apricot Bars aren't your everyday snacking cake, right? But oh, these easy, seasonal bars belong on your make-asap list. The "bar" itself is akin to a rich, shortbread-style cake, then it's topped with halves or slivers of fresh apricot (canned apricots work too) that turn all sweet and jammy in the oven. I've been making these bars for, um ... a few decades! There's just something remarkable about the soft, barely-cooked tang of apricots against the almond-scented buttery bars.

Simple & Seasonal. A Sweet Treat for Summer. These Keep for a Week!
Fresh Apricot Bars, another fruity summer dessert ♥ KitchenParade.com, just fresh apricot tucked into almond-scented buttery bars. Simple and seasonal, pretty on a plate.

A Young Cook May Not Yet Appreciate This ...

... but the lesson will come all too soon in the flash-forward future in which we live.

It's like this, right? You wake up one day and realize you've been making a recipe – perhaps not often, perhaps not every year – for one, two, three, four, even five decades. Decades!

But there's a reason I remember these oh-so-pretty apricot bars after – dare I say? – thirty make that forty years: they're that good.

And there's a reason why they're that good: think butter, think sugar, think something akin to a moist shortbread. Whew. A 50:50 butter:sugar mix I didn't remember.

The apricots are so lush and juicy this year, I bought them three times before finally hunting up this recipe, a favorite from the year I lived in Finland. Even though the recipe isn't Finnish, my third host mother made these bars all the time. She made them with canned apricots so good news, it's a recipe that can be made year-round.



FRESH APRICOT BARS

A showcase for orbs of apricot
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 1 hour
Serves 12 (arranged 3x4) or 20 (arranged 5x4)
  • 1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups (250g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 312g
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 fresh apricots (halved for 12 bars, quartered for 20 bars) or canned apricots (well-drained), enough to fill the tray
  • Icing sugar, for sprinkling

Heat oven to 400F/200C. With an electric mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue beating until light and creamy. One at a time, add the eggs and beat until the batter becomes glossy. Add the extract and incorporate.

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt, add to butter mixture and incorporate fully but do not overbeat.

With your fingers, spread the dough evenly in a well-greased jelly roll pan or a half baking sheet with sides, even a 9x13. Arrange the apricots skin-side up in rows so that when the bars are cut, an apricot half sits in the center of each bar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked clear through and slightly golden on the edges. Let cool slightly and sprinkle with icing sugar. Any leftovers should be covered and refrigerated.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Bar, assumes 12: 232 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 45mg Cholesterol; 190mg Sodium; 44g Carb; 1g Fiber; 23g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 6 & SmartPoints 10 & Freestyle 9

THE CALORIE REALITY Shocked by the calorie count? Me too, actually. But mine is one of the very few recipe sites (including the big corporate sites like Epicurious) which provides nutrition information with each and every recipe, even for recipes that rack up calories like crazy. I choose to own up to the nutrition impact – bad and good – so there's no hiding from it, no getting fooled into thinking, "How bad can it be?" Some times I fear that readers will abandon my sites because calorie information is included even for recipes that are clearly an indulgence. But I hope that regular readers appreciate that here, anyway, they'll get the straight, um, skinny.

START WITH SMALLER SQUARES My first attempt to lower the calorie count per bar was to use apricot quarters, not halves, in order to make 20 smaller squares. It helped a little but also absolutely convinced me that I have got to figure out how to make smaller bars. There's just something remarkable about the soft, barely-cooked tang of apricots against the almond-scented buttery bars.

MOVE ONTO STILL-SMALLER SQUARES My next tactic will be to chop fresh or canned apricots (and even moist dried apricots) to mix directly into the batter. The impressive appearance would be lost but it would be easy to cut even smaller bars, more the size of a small cookie versus a piece of cake.

THEY KEEP! Refrigerated, a week later these bars are still fresh, moist and flavorful. It's another reason to get this right! I'd like to make them much more frequently!

Adapted from a recipe from Liisa Rikkinen, my third host Finnish mother the year I was a Rotary exchange student.

Summery Orbs: More Recipes With Apricots

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Easy Apricot Jam with Rosemary Bacon-Wrapped Dried Apricots Homemade Granola with Almonds & Apricots
~ more apricot recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Detox Chopped Salad ~
~ Egyptian Kamut Salad with Roasted Carrot & Pomegranate ~
~ Slow Cooker Butternut Squash with Ginger & Dried Fruit ~
~ more vegetables with fruit ~
from A Veggie Venture

More Recipes for Fruity Desserts

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Cheery Cherry Banana Bread Dimply Plum Cake Peach Un-cobbler
~ more fruity dessert recipes ~
~ more recipes for cookies & bars ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ apricot recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2008, 2011 & 2019

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

Comments

  1. Those are so pretty Alanna!

    The calories are awfully high. But I'm glad you put the information in. This is why I come back here so often, because I know what I'll find.

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  2. Oh, seeing your apricot bars makes me long to have my apricot tree even more. I've always wanted to have an apricot tree and have been trying to figure out where there is room left to grow a tree. *sigh*, your bars look sooo good. I could eat a whole plate of them with a nice cold glass of milk.

    I just love apricots and making your bars is next on my list. I'll just had to search out the apricots at my farmers markets for now, which is still wonderful. But I am still hoping and keeping my fingers crossed for a apricot tree one day!

    ReplyDelete
  3. These look wonderful. I wish I had picked up the apricots from PA yesterday at the farmer's market as I think the VA seller won't have any more at today's market (but maybe it was just the cherries that were finished here) but then I would have to make these. I assume the WW points are reversed? it should read 8/5? I bet they would be good with plums too.

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  4. I made these for our annual neighborhood "progressive" dinner (each course at a different house); we hosted the dessert course. I lined my cookie sheet with parchment rather than buttering the pan and it worked well. The dough was a bit hard to work with; I wet my hand with cold water and patted the surface smooth once the pan was covered with dough. I wanted each to fit in a muffin cup for easy handling and had very little shortbread around the fruit; the yield was 24-bars. The only change I will make on future batches will be a drizzle of fine lines of chocolate rather than the powdered sugar which simply melted away on the apricots. These were a big hit and people took home the leftovers -- always a good sign!

    Susan

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  5. Susan, Great ideas for your party, thanks so much for sharing them. When you mentioned the muffin cups, at first I wondered if you had baked them in muffins tins, this might be a good idea too!

    So glad these were a hit!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Earlier I posted that I made these for our annual progressive dinner. There were a few left over so I decided to freeze them rather than throwing away. The results were excellent -- we had company a few weeks later and could offer the apricot bars for a mid-morning coffee break. They were perfect.

    Susan

    ReplyDelete

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna