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You are a lucky duck because today, I am going to reveal to you one of my super secret best-of-the-best “go to” recipes.  These bars are tender with a little crunch from the almonds with layers of flavor from the apricot and amaretto that throw a little party in your mouth.

I’ve changed this recipe so much over the years that I don’t even remember where I got started and what all my influences were.  At this point, it is simply mine.  And today, I’m sharing it with you.

Apricot Bars are a classic to be sure, but I make them extra special by adding the crunch and flavor of almonds.  For those of you who might not love almond, I have an orange-scented variation at the end which is also very, very yummy.

In addition to being scruptious, these bars come together quick!  Just see.

Apricot Almond Bars

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (365 g)
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar (280 g)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 sticks (1 ½ cups) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup apricot preserves (try to find a good quality one, tarter is better)
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Amaretto [you could substitute milk, but Amaretto is better ;)]
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • pinch of kosher salt

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees F (or 375 degrees convection). Butter a 9 X 13 baking pan and line with aluminum foil or parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the 2 long sides, then butter foil (or parchment)

Pulse flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor until combined.  Add the unsalted butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps.  This takes about 12-15 one-second bursts. Add yolks and vanilla and pulse just until clumps of dough form, about 15-20 seconds.

BTW, this dough tastes fantastic!  You’ll want to eat a little..for quality control purposes.

Press 2/3 of dough firmly and evenly onto bottom of the prepared pan, then spread with preserves.

Add your nuts tot he remaining dough and toss together then spread over the top of the jam.

At this point, you could cover your pan with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge for a couple of days OR you could even freeze it for up to a month.  If you do freeze, however, defrost it in the fridge overnight before baking.

Bake until top is golden brown and preserves are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes (about 5 minutes longer if you stored the pan in the fridge first).

Cool in pan on a rack.  When it is almost completely cool, lift the bars from pan by grasping both ends of foil (you may need to use a knife to loosen the bars from the side of the pan a little).

Make the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar, almond extract, amaretto and pinch of salt.  Add liquid in the form of amaretto (or a little extra water or milk) as necessary until it is drizzling consistency.  Drizzle glaze over bars and let sit at room temperature until the glaze sets.

Cut into 24 bars or 48 fingers or even cute little triangles if you want to be fancy.

Not crazy for almond?  Try this orange-scented variety below.

ORANGE VARIETY

Eliminate the sliced almonds, amaretto and almond extract.  Add ¼ cup (approx) diced candied orange peel to the apricot preserves.  Make glaze out of powdered sugar and fresh orange juice and/or Triple Sec.

OTHER VARIETIES

This formula also lends itself toward other taste combos.  Try different jam (raspberry is nice) or different nuts (walnuts or pecans are also very good), whatever you like.

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