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Apricot and Milk Chocolate Bars

Categories: Bars & Brownies

Submitted by: Mani Niall

Dried apricots have a delicate floral taste that is easily overwhelmed. Milk chocolate, with its mellower overall taste, complements the apricots perfectly. Seek out apricots that are free of sorbates and preservatives - darker in color but the taste is more genuine. Boiling the apricots in water and retaining the liquid both softens and captures the flavor often discarded when re-hydrating dried fruit.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. dried apricots
  • 1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 2 1/2 c. rolled oats (regular or quick cooking)
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. butter (cold and cut into bits)
  • 2 c. chocolate chips (milk chocolate)

Instructions

You will need a 9 x 13 baking dish, bottom and sides brushed with butter. Place a rack in the center of the oven and set the temperature to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, bring the apricots and water to a low boil and allow to simmer, stirring frequently, for about 10 to 12 minutes. When all but about 1/2 cup of the water has been absorbed, remove from the heat and set aside to cool briefly. Puree in a food processor or in a blender. If all the water has been absorbed or the mixture is extremely thick, add up to 1/2 cup of water, thinning to a jam like consistency. Set aside. In the workbowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat blade, place the flour, oats, both sugars, baking soda and salt. Mix briefly to distribute the baking soda and salt, then add the butter on a medium-low speed. Mix for about 5 minutes until the butter is thoroughly blended. The mixture should be very light and flaky in appearance.

Scrape half the dough into the prepared baking dish, distribute evenly and flatten with your hand, pressing firmly, especially into the corners. Spread the apricot mixture evenly over the dough. Scatter the milk chocolate chips in an even layer, then distribute the remaining dough evenly over the top. Press the mixture down gently - not as firmly as the bottom layer - and bake for about 50 minutes, until golden brown. Cool, cut and serve. Makes about 24 bars.

Recipe by Mani Niall - Mix it up with Mani