Apricot & Oat Squares

I found this recipe in an old issue (Jan/Feb 2003) of Saveur magazine. I made it this past weekend to bring to an event and it was very well received. I suppose a pound of butter will do that. 🙂

Apricot & Oat Squares

Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 50 minutes plus cooling

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried apricots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 tablespoon cubes
  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Put apricots into a medium saucepan and cover with 1″ of water. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove pot from heat and set aside until apricots are swollen and soft; about 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13″x9″ glass baking dish with butter or a baking spray.
  3. Mix the flour, oats, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. I found it easiest to work in batches, adding about a third of butter to the flour and mixing that in with my hands by pinching the flour together with the butter cubes. Then I added another third and again working it in with my hands. Add the final third and work it again. I then put the bowl into the fridge for 5 or 10 minutes to let the butter firm up. Finally I used a pastry blender on the mixture for 3-5 minutes to make sure all the butter was blended in. You want to end up with something that is rough and crumbly, not a smooth dough.
  4. Put 1/2 the flour/butter mixture into the bottom of the 13″x9″ pan and press it down with your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup. Scatter the apricots in an even layer on top of the flour mixture. Spread the remaining flour/butter mixture over the apricots and again press down. The flour/butter mixture doesn’t need to be packed densely, just enough so it stays together.
  5. Bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. Set on a rack to cool. Try to avoid consuming the entire pan in one sitting.
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