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Crumbly Oat and Apricot Bars Recipe

Crumbly Oat and Apricot Bars
Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: | Makes: 16 squares

Somewhere between a fruit bar and a crumble, this bar cookie has an oat, honey, and butter mixture that doubles as both the crust and the topping. The bright, tangy filling is a blend of dried apricots, honey, and apricot jam. Serve these apricot bars on their own or with a big scoop of ice cream.

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This recipe was retested and updated by the CHOW Test Kitchen in May 2013.

INGREDIENTS
  • 10 ounces dried apricots (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for coating the baking dish
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup apricot jam
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Generously coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter and set it aside.
  2. Place the apricots in a medium heatproof bowl. Place the water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Pour it over the apricots and let them sit until they’ve plumped up and absorbed most of the water, about 25 minutes. Reserve the saucepan.
  3. Meanwhile, make the crust: Place the oats, both flours, and the salt in a large heatproof bowl and stir to combine. Place the measured butter, 1/2 cup of the honey, and the brown sugar in the reserved saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Immediately pour the butter mixture over the oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. When the mixture’s cool enough to handle but still warm, use a measuring cup to evenly press half of it (about 1 1/2 cups) into the bottom of the prepared baking dish; set it aside.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apricots to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and discard any remaining liquid. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of honey, the jam, and vanilla extract to the food processor and process until the mixture is mostly smooth (some small pieces will remain), about 1 minute.
  5. Spread the apricot filling evenly over the oat base. Evenly sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the apricot filling and gently press it in with your fingers.
  6. Bake until the top is browned, about 30 to 40 minutes. (If you’re using a glass or ceramic baking dish, it may take 5 minutes longer.) Remove from the oven to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting into squares, about 1 to 2 hours.