what you are going to learn:
- apricots, walnuts and coconut work, beautifully, together
- use the palm of your hand to press dough into the bottom of a baking sheet
- press walnuts into the top before baking so the nuts bake into the dough and do not fall off
Apricot Walnut Bars
My friend Ellen made delicious Apricot Walnut Bars for her Super Bowl party. I couldn’t stop eating them. Coconut and walnuts were in the buttery crust and all of the ingredients worked, beautifully, together.
I could not stop thinking about these bars and for days I craved them. Finally, I decided that I had to make a batch. I used a shortbread cookie as the base and added coconut flakes and walnuts.
My first round was a little too light on flour so I adjusted the ingredients and tried again. The dough is very soft. There are two approaches to using soft dough. One is to refrigerate the dough until it is easier to handle and the other is to dive right in and know that you may need to flour the palm of your hand to make it easier to spread the dough into the pan. After making several batches of Apricot Walnut Bars I am happy to say that either way works and bakes into delicious bars.
I took Apricot Walnut Bars to a party where they were devoured. Feeling quite a bit of confidence from the rave reviews, I baked a batch to take to my dear friends in Naples this past weekend. I heard my college roommate, Jane, tell a friend on the phone that she was, initially, quite disappointed that I had brought Apricot Walnut Bars because Jane is a chocolaholic. Fortunately, she followed up with accolades for the bars and because they were so good, Jane forgave me for not making her a chocolate dessert.
My next visit to Jane will, unquestionably, include chocolate but you better believe that Apricot Walnut Bars will be part of the package.
|Apricot Walnut Bars|| |
- 2-1/3 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups shredded sweetened coconut
- 2 cups walnuts halves, divided
- 24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into tablespoons
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 12 ounces apricot preserves
- confectioners sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray the bottom of a 13" x 9½" baking pan and line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the flour, sugar and salt into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process to blend. Add the coconut and 1 cup of walnuts. Process until smooth. Add the butter and vanilla. Pulse on/off just until the dough holds together. Don't worry if all of the butter is not completely blended.
- Use the palm of your hand to press ⅔ of the dough onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Spread the apricot preserves over the dough.
- Flatten pieces of the remaining dough in the palm of your hand. Lay the pieces over the preserves.
- Break the remaining cup of walnuts into pieces and spread them evenly over the top. Gently press the walnuts into the dough.
- Bake at 350° F for 55 minutes, rotating the pan front to back halfway through.
- Cool completely and refrigerate until cold.
- Lift the parchment paper out of the pan and transfer it to a cutting board. Cut into bars.
- Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and serve.