It has been awhile since I’ve gone nuts over a recipe. These bars are AMAZING. I had some dried apricots in the pantry and was trying to decide what to do with them when I came across a unique looking recipe for baked apricot bars, courtesy of David Lebowitz and Baked. I think I died and went to heaven when I first took a bite. These bars have a layer of rosemary shortbread on the bottom, brandy-infused apricot paste in the center, and a brown sugar pecan crumble on top. Put all your other recipes aside and make these right now!
I made a few modifications to the original recipe. I didn’t have California dried apricots, which are less sweet, so I added 1 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice to the apricot filling. I made a few other minor changes to the filling and crumb topping. The results were stunning.
Rosemary Apricot Bars
For the rosemary dough:
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
For the apricot filling:
- 2 cups dried apricots
- 3/4 cups white wine (I used Vendange Chardonnay, great for cooking)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (omit if using California dried apricots)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- pinch of salt
For the crumb topping:
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
- pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cubed
- Grease the inside of a 9x9 inch pan (I use baking spray) and line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides of the pan.
- To make the rosemary shortbread, cream the butter, powdered sugar and salt in a stand mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and rosemary, then lower the speed and gradually add the flour until the dough is smooth.
- Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan. Take some time to do this nicely so your layers are beautiful and clean. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake the shortbread for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden on top. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Make the apricot filling by combining all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Simmer on low heat for 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Allow to cool and then puree in a food processor until smooth.
- Make the crumb topping by combining all ingredients in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until the mixture is just combined and crumbly. Don't over-mix, you want texture.
- Spread the apricot paste evenly on top of the shortbread. Make sure it's level!
- Sprinkle on the topping evenly and gently press it into place. Again, make sure it's level; when you cut the bars you want three even levels.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the topping is brown. I turned on the broiler for a couple minutes at the end to get the top extra crunchy. If you do this, watch carefully to avoid burning.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
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