Apricot Bars Recipe

I was very lucky as a boy to live two doors down from the neighborhood baking queen. Her name was Lillie Lundstrom, a second-generation Swede whose cakes and cardamom rolls are still the stuff of legend on Lincoln Street. One of her lesser-known creations was this recipe for apricot bars, which takes the American concept of “bar” cookies and applies a decidedly northern-European twist. As a child accustomed to brownies and tollhouse cookies, I found these to be rather challenging with their sweet-bitter fruit-and-almond flavors. I’ve since come to appreciate their sophistication and subtlety. To make them you’ll need:

8 ounces butter
3.5 ounces (1/2 cup) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
10 ounces (2 cups) flour
10 ounces (1 1/2) cups apricot jam
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp almond extract
1.75 ounces (1/4 cup) sugar
1-2 ounces sliced almonds

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, sugar, flour and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer and stir until a dough comes together. Press into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and allow crust to rest at room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Spread the jam evenly over the crust.

Next, put the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whip. Whip whites to the soft peak stage, then whip in the almond extract plus the additional sugar. Whip to stiff peaks, then spread the mixture over the jam layer and sprinkle on the sliced almonds. Bake 15 minutes until the meringue is lightly browned. Allow to cool completely then refrigerate at least two hours before cutting and serving.

2 thoughts on “Apricot Bars Recipe”

  1. Hi Joe!
    I am wondering if these bars can stand being in the freezer? I’ve been making jam bars for dessert bar platters because I need the contrast in color (dark brownie, brown apple bar and golden “magic”bar). I’ve been using a streusel zigzag and then a flat icing, but these elements are not as dramatic as I had hoped. The meringue sounds ideal…but I have not had good luck freezing it!

    1. Apricot bars freeze beautifully, Gwen!

      Actually I like to eat them frozen.

      – Joe

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