Lemon-Apricot Pecan Bars

Too many serious topics to think about so I’m thinking about cookies. I like the combination of a short crust with lemony apricot topping . . . these cookies fit the bill quite nicely. I also like a one-pan baking especially when I have more than baking chores to do.

Lemon-Apricot Pecan Bars

1/3 cup brown sugar (dark or light is fine)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter, diced and cold
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and either cut the butter in with two knives, a pastry cutter, or use your fingers to reduce the mixture to the size of coarse breadcrumbs. Press the mixture evenly into a vegetable oil sprayed 8×8″ baking pan. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack. Leave the oven on for the next step.

3/4 cup dried and chopped apricots
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
grated zest of one lemon
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Place the apricots, water, and juice in a pot and simmer for about 10 minutes or until fruit is soft. Strain the liquid but save the liquid.

Return the apricots to the pot and add the lemon zest, sugar, cornstarch and 1/4 cup of the saved cooking liquid. Cook for about a minute. Remove from heat and let mixture cool for about 15 minutes before spreading the topping over the crust. Bake for another 15-20 minutes. Cool thoroughly before cutting into bars.

A nice touch is to melt some chocolate chips and drizzle over the cookies before they are completely cool. Another method is to melt enough to glaze the whole top of the bars. Again, it must be cooled before cutting especially with the addition of the chocolate.