Apricot Oat Bars

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This past week started out great, but unfortunately went downhill very quickly. We had a sit down wine tasting dinner at our house on Monday for twenty-four, hosted by the Angelini family from Spello, Umbria. The dinner went extremely well and the wines served by the Angelini family were some of the best Italy has to offer. I will blog about our incredible evening next week when I am feeling better. What happened Tuesday after our great evening of wines was that both my husband and I woke up with one of the worst cases of the flu that I can remember ever experiencing. I had been hearing from friends and family about the awful strain of flu going around this year, but until you experience it, you do not appreciate the severity of said flu bug.

I had originally planned a weeklong schedule of recipes to test and post but instead I spent most of the week in bed completely knocked out. I didn’t get any new recipes tested or written up this week, and quite frankly I was too ill to even think about eating anything all week. After giving up and visiting the doctor Friday, my flu has turned into bronchitis, and I came home with a bagful of prescriptions. I am feeling a little better today and am hoping I can back on my kitchen schedule next week.

I did have this oat and apricot bar recipe in reserve from the holidays that I will share today. I made these bar cookies for my family at Christmas and never had the time to photograph them before they were gobbled up. I made them once again to take to a friend’s get-together recently and was able to tweak the recipe a bit more. I wouldn’t qualify this recipe as a “healthy” one as it still uses a cup of butter and two cups of brown sugar. I did do a little tweaking to make this recipe healthier as I used organic brown sugar, regular rolled oats, low sugar apricot jam, and light spelt flour. These squares are moist and tender with a shortbread like bottom crust, jam center, and crumble topping. I used leftover chopped hazelnuts from my holiday baking for the topping, but you could also use walnuts or almonds instead if you prefer.

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2015

Appricot Oat Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 2 Cups Packed Organic Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups Light Spelt Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Cups Regular Rolled Oats
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped Hazelnuts (See Notes Above)
  • 1 (12 Ounce) Low Sugar Apricot Jam

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper letting the edges extend over the pan.
  2. Spray the parchment lined pan with baking spray.
  3. In a bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until light.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract and blend until smooth.
  5. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and oats.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and blend at low speed until mixed.
  7. Remove 3/4 cup of dough and set aside.
  8. Take the remaining dough and with lightly floured fingertips, press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  9. Spread the jam over the dough in the pan.
  10. Add the nuts to the remaining dough and crumble the dough with your fingers, dropping it on top of the jam in small pieces to almost cover.
  11. Bake the bars for about 35 minutes or until lightly browned.
  12. Cool to room temperature.
  13. Using the parchment paper, remove the bars from the pan and place on a cutting board.
  14. Cut into squares or small rectangles.
  15. Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.