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For those nights when you get home hungry, stressed, and impatient, Hangry is here to help. Each Monday, Kendra Vaculin will share quick, exciting meals to rescue anyone who might be anxiously eyeing a box of minute rice.
Today: Fresh apricots deserve a little love, too.
Apricots don’t get a lot of love. Aside from the dried variety, which are totally snackable straight from a bulk bin or mixed into trail mix, apricots are never my first choice. PB&J is a job for raspberry jam, warm weather pies are clearly peach territory, and fresh stone fruit cravings almost always lead me to a plum. But May means prime fresh apricot season, and last week I found it impossible to pass by the mountain of pretty mini orange orbs at the farmers market without purchasing a handful.
These crumb bars are part jam and part fresh fruit , and were born out of my musing about the only apricot-related dessert in my arsenal: oatmeal cookies. Once, seeking an alternative to raisins and having no cranberries on hand, I studded my favorite recipe with slivers of dried ‘cots, and the move was definitely a good one. On their own or as bookends to an ice cream sandwich, the cookies solidified the pairing of homey oats and sweet, tart, summery-orange fruit. Here, in bar form, I weigh down the oat topping and the bright fruity middle with a butter-heavy shortbread crust, which comes together in a breeze using just your hands.
Regarding the salt at the end: A girl I used to babysit would eat peach preserves on toast with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top. Once, she made a slice for me, and I (already a Maldon worshipper) fully dug the way the salt made the fruit’s flavor pop. Finishing these bars the same way keeps them from getting overly sticky-sweet and adds a really satisfying crunch.
Makes 16 bars
For crust and filling:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 pinch salt
10 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
4 to 5 ounces apricot jam or preserves
5 small fresh apricots
1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated suagr
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
Flaky sea salt, like Maldon
Photos by James Ransom