What do you do when your dad gives you a 3 lb. bag of dried apricots? You go hunting for a recipe, that's what you do.
Luckily for me, The Gourmet Cookie Book had a lovely recipe with dried apricots, dating from the 1960's (!) I tweaked it ever so slightly, with some puréeing and a little salt and butter addition. In fact, it's quite similar to the Cherry Pecan Bars that I made awhile back. So I cross-referenced with that recipe and ended up with this one.
Apricot Almond Bar
3/4 pound dried apricots
1 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup chopped almonds
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup flaked coconut
¼ cup chopped almonds
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with foil.
In a small saucepan, combine the apricots, water and 1/2 cup sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes, or until the apricots are softened. Remove from the heat. Using a food processor, pulse the mixture until a smooth puree is formed.
In a small saucepan, melt the 12 tablespoons butter. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Spread the almonds on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Cool the sheet completely on a wire rack.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda. Pour in the melted butter, and using a wooden spoon, mix together until well combined. Transfer about two thirds of the dough to the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly into the pan, forming a firmly packed layer.
To create the topping, combine the remaining one-third dough with the toasted almonds and flaked coconut.
Using an offset or rubber spatula, spread the apricot purée over the dough. Evenly sprinkle the topping over the preserves. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the top is golden brown and fragrant, about 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool completely. Then cut into 2-inch squares.
The bars can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.