If you love a unique, impressive dessert, these rosemary apricot bars might be your new best friend! A delicate rosemary shortbread sits on the bottom, the filling is a wine-infused apricot jam, and the brown sugar-pecan topping is rich and buttery. I dare you to eat just one!
These rosemary apricot bars are actually one of the first desserts I ever shared on Savory Simple. I’ve been wanting to revisit this recipe for ages, and I’m so glad I finally did! They’re just as incredible as I remember. I’ve updated the recipe with minor changes to the ingredients and instructions, and included new photos.
The bars have three layers:
- A flaky, slightly sweet rosemary shortbread cookie layer on the bottom.
- A wine and brandy-infused apricot jam filling that’s bright, sweet and tart.
- A crumble layer on top that highlights brown sugar and pecans.
Doesn’t that sound good? These are a party show-stopper and will be perfect for your next summer potluck and barbecues.
Can I Omit The Alcohol From Rosemary Apricot Bars?
If you don’t consume alcohol, you can absolutely omit the wine and brandy from this recipe, though I recommend leaving them in if possible! They add a wonderful flavor and depth.
To omit the alcohol, simply replace them with the same amount of water (so add an additional 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons). This liquid will help the dried apricots reconstitute.
California vs. Turkish Dried Apricots in Recipes
California and Turkish (Mediterranean) dried apricots are created from two different apricot varieties, and they’re also processed in different ways. Because of this, each version has its own unique taste, texture, and appearance. So which version is best for recipes like these apricot bars?
California apricots have a deep orange color, and they’re halved before being dried. This results in a thin, shriveled fruit with a chewier texture and more concentrated flavor. They’re also usually the more expensive of the two varieties.
Turkish apricots have more of a yellow-orange color. They’re dried whole and then pitted, which retains more moisture and results in a more plump and juicy flesh by comparison. They’re more sweet than tart, and are also less expensive.
What does that all mean? With a better price point and more neutral flavor/texture, Turkish apricots are best for using in recipes. California apricots, on the other hand, are a great choice for snacking.
How to Measure Flour
For baked goods (as well as desserts like custard and ice cream), I always recommend using a kitchen scale to measure flour by weight instead of volume. Weight (ounces, grams, etc) will always give an accurate measurement of dry goods; volume (cups) can create varied results.
A cup of flour can weigh anywhere from 3 1/2 to 5 ounces. That could make a big difference in your recipe! If you still want to use cups, there’s a proper technique to make sure you get the best results possible.
My post How to Measure Flour explains all of this in more detail.
More Dessert Bar Recipes
If you love dessert bars, you need to check out my Blueberry Bars, Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Blondies, Pecan Pie Bars, and Classic Brownies! For more recipes, be sure to check out my archive of Cookies & Bars. I’m also loving this roundup of Dessert Bar Recipes from Taste of Home.
Rosemary Apricot Bars
For the rosemary dough:
- 6 ounces unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 2 ounces confectioners' sugar (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped (see notes)
- 8 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (1 3/4 cups)
For the apricot filling:
- 2 cups dried apricots (14 ounces)
- 1/2 cups dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (omit if using California dried apricots)
- 3 3/4 ounces granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the crumb topping:
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed (3 1/2 ounces)
- 1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped (1 1/2 ounces)
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- Grease the inside of an 8x8 or 9x9 inch nonstick pan (I use baking spray with flour) and line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides of the pan.
- Prepare the Rosemary Shortbread: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, confectioners' sugar and salt on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. 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. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once the dough is chilled, bake the shortbread for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden on top. Allow shortbread to cool to room temperature.
- Prepare the Apricot Filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the apricots, white wine, water, lemon juice, sugar, honey, brandy, and salt over medium heat. Once simmering, cook for 10 minutes, then increase the heat to medium-high. Boil until the remaining liquid is mostly reduced, stirring frequently, about 3-4 minutes. Allow the filling to cool until it's still warm but no longer scorching hot (you can speed this process up in the refrigerator), then transfer to a food processor. Pulse several times to chop the apricots, then puree until smooth but with some texture.
- Prepare the Crumb Topping: Place the flour, brown sugar, pecans, and salt in a medium-sized bowl, stirring to combine. Add the butter and then, using a fork or clean fingers, press the ingredients together until the butter is incorporated (some pea-sized pieces of butter here and there are fine).
- Spread the apricot filling evenly on top of the shortbread, taking care to make sure it's level (optionally, you can lightly grease the exposed sides of the pan to make sure the filling doesn't stick to the sides). Sprinkle the topping over the apricot layer evenly and gently press into place.
- Bake until the topping is golden brown and slightly firm, 25-30 minutes for an 8x8-inch pan, or 20-25 minutes for a 9x9-inch pan. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to one week. You can also wrap and freeze the bars for up to 3 months (make sure they're not touching or are wrapped individually).
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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