Somewhere between a fruit bar and a crumble, this bar cookie has an oat, honey, and butter mixture that doubles as both the crust and the topping. The bright, tangy filling is a blend of dried apricots, honey, and apricot jam. Serve these apricot bars on their own or with a big scoop of ice cream.
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This recipe was retested and updated by the CHOW Test Kitchen in May 2013.
- Yield: 16 squares
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 1 hr 20 mins, plus 1 to 2 hrs cooling time
- 10 ounces dried apricots (about 2 cups)
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for coating the baking dish
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup apricot jam
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Generously coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter and set it aside.
- Place the apricots in a medium heatproof bowl. Place the water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Pour it over the apricots and let them sit until they’ve plumped up and absorbed most of the water, about 25 minutes. Reserve the saucepan.
- Meanwhile, make the crust: Place the oats, both flours, and the salt in a large heatproof bowl and stir to combine. Place the measured butter, 1/2 cup of the honey, and the brown sugar in the reserved saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Immediately pour the butter mixture over the oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. When the mixture’s cool enough to handle but still warm, use a measuring cup to evenly press half of it (about 1 1/2 cups) into the bottom of the prepared baking dish; set it aside.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apricots to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and discard any remaining liquid. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of honey, the jam, and vanilla extract to the food processor and process until the mixture is mostly smooth (some small pieces will remain), about 1 minute.
- Spread the apricot filling evenly over the oat base. Evenly sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the apricot filling and gently press it in with your fingers.
- Bake until the top is browned, about 30 to 40 minutes. (If you’re using a glass or ceramic baking dish, it may take 5 minutes longer.) Remove from the oven to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting into squares, about 1 to 2 hours.