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These deceptively delicious bars deliver the perfect, rich balance of sweet-tart fruit and buttery pastry.

Source: Midwest Living

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Credit: Brie Passano

Recipe Summary

hands-on:
15 mins
prep:
1 hr 35 mins
total:
1 hr 50 mins
Servings:
16
Yield:
16 bars
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place apricots in a small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean the long way. Scrape out the tiny seeds and toss both seeds and split bean into saucepan, along with the water, 1/2 cup sugar, the lemon zest and juice. (If using vanilla bean paste or extract, do not add yet.) Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer until apricots grow plump and glossy and wallow in the syrup, about 30 minutes. Discard vanilla bean. (If using, add 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract now.) Mash apricots with a fork or transfer to a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times.

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  • Set rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 325°. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang.

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Cook, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula, as butter foams, then bubbles. When it¿s riddled with brown specks, 5 to 8 minutes, remove from heat. Add salt, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, almond extract and flour, stirring after each. (Mixture will be looser than you might expect, a paste consistency.) Set aside 1/3 cup pastry mixture. Spread or pat the rest into bottom of prepared pan. Spread with mashed apricots. Crumble or dot the reserved pastry over top.

  • Bake until pastry turns golden, about 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack; chill until firm. Use parchment paper to lift out of pan. Cut into squares. Bars freeze well.

Nutrition Facts

200 calories; fat 9g; cholesterol 23mg; saturated fat 5g; carbohydrates 29g; mono fat 3g; insoluble fiber 1g; sugars 20g; protein 2g; vitamin a 709.9IU; vitamin c 0.7mg; thiamin 0.1mg; riboflavin 0.1mg; niacin equivalents 1mg; folate 23.2mcg; sodium 56mg; potassium 161mg; calcium 12mg; iron 0.9mg.
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