Apricot Lemon Bars
I love lemon bars. I'm definitely one of those people who will pick a lemony dessert over a chocolatey dessert when given the option. I'd never thought to add preserves to a lemon bar before, but this is a perfect combination. The nut crust variation gives these bars an added flavor and texture component that, while not needed, certainly doesn't hurt!
A few notes on this recipe:
- The topping may weep. I made this recipe three times, and each time it weeped a little. The third time I made it, I increased the flour to 2 1/2 tablespoons (up from 2 tablespoons) and it was much drier than the other two recipes.
- This formula makes a thin cookie-like bar, about 3/4" high. The topping is not a thick layer of topping like on other lemon bar recipes.
- The cookie crust is firm and crunchy when cooked to a light brown. When I poured the topping onto the crust (while still in the oven), it sizzled slightly and set up very quickly.
Apricot Lemon Bars
8 T unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 c AP flour
8" square pan, lined on the bottom and all 4 sides with foil
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
- Cut the butter into chunks and melt it in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt.
- Add the flour and mix just until incorporated.
- Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until the crust is well browned at the edges and lightly browned in the center.
For the nut crust variation, starting with the original (above):
- Decrease the flour by 3 T.
- Put the flour with the sugar, salt, and 1/4 c almonds or toasted and skinned hazelnuts in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
- Pulse until the nuts are finely ground.
- Add the melted butter and pulse just until the dry ingredients look damp and the mixture begins to clump around the blade.
- Remove the dough from the processor and knead it a few times until smooth.
- Proceed with the recipe.
1/4 c sugar
2 T AP flour
2 large eggs
1/2 c apricot preserves
1/3 c strained fresh lemon juice
2 - 3 T powdered sugar for dusting
- While the crust is baking, stir together the sugar and flour in a medium bowl until well mixed.
- Whisk in the eggs.
- Stir in the preserves, breaking up any extra large pieces.
- Mix in the lemon juice.
- When the crust is ready, turn the oven down to 300F and slide the rack out without removing the pan.
- Pour the filling over the hot crust.
- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the topping is puffed at the edges and no longer jiggles in the center when the pan is tapped.
- Set on a rack to cool completely in the pan.
- Lift the foil liner and transfer to a cutting board.
- Use a long sharp knife to cut sixteen 2-inch bars.
Makes 16 2-inch bars
May be stored, airtight, in the refrigerator. Apricot-lemon bars keep perfectly for about 3 days; after 3 days the crust softens but the bars still taste quite good for the remainder of a week. Do not freeze. Sieve powdered sugar over the bars just before serving.
This recipe comes from Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies, and is available on Purple House Dirt with permission from the author.