These bars are nothing short of a-mazing! They are the most perfect, delicious treats–great to take on a hike, great for after a ride on your bike…ok, enough Dr. Seuss. Just go ahead and bake them–it is not difficult. I woke up early this morning and decided to bake them and one hour later, they were finished and out of the oven. They remind me of a yummy, soft granola bar. If you don’t like apricots, substitute cherries and cherry preserves, blueberries and blueberry preserves, etc. (I’m not sure if I would use fresh blueberries. Just stick with the dry version of the fruit and the matching preserves.) Thanks to Giada for the inspiration on this one!
1 large jar of apricot preserves (I used an 18 oz jar of apricot/pineapple preserves because that’s what I had in the house. You can use a 13 oz jar of apricot preserves. I like it very gooey so I used a large jar of preserves.)
8 dried apricots, chopped up into small pieces
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats (not the instant or 1-minute kind)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 egg (room temperature), beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure oven rack is in the center of the oven.
Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper (see picture) on the bottom and the sides and then spray the paper with cooking spray (I use Pam).
In a bowl, mix together the jam and the dried apricots and set aside.
In a large, separate bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Stir in the oats and walnuts. Add the melted butter, egg and vanilla and mix very well. Using a utensil or your clean hands, lightly press half of the crush mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Using a knife or spatula, spread the apricot filling (use it all) over the first layer of crust. Cover the filling with the remaining crust mixture and gently press the crust mixture to flatten. Bake for about 35 minutes until light golden brown. Cool for at least one hour. Cut into bars. They will lift right out of pan with the paper and cleanup is a snap with parchment paper.
These will stay in an airtight container for at least three days. I will freeze them for the next time we want them, because they are too dangerous to have around.
* Yields about 24 bars