Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Apricot Almond "Darty"

Many new recipes are developed by adapting a tried and true recipe into something better by using different ingredients. That is how this one was created. I used Nana's walnut date bar as a starting point and switched out the dates and walnuts for toasted almonds and apricots.

4 eggs
2C sugar
1 1/2C flour
1t baking powder
1/2t salt
1T almond extract
1C chopped dried Turkish apricots
1C chopped dried Blenheim apricots
2C slivered toasted almonds


Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside. Beat eggs and gradually add in the sugar, then the almond extract, until you have a light fluffy mixture. Add in the apricots, mixing slowly. Continue mixing while adding small amounts of the flour mixture until it is all completely incorporated.
Toast the almonds on a sheet pan in the oven at 400 degrees fro about 5 minutes, let cool and add them into the batter by hand, so as not to break them into smaller pieces. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare a jellyroll pan by placing a liner of parchment paper into it, then place your batter down the middle of the pan and spread it evenly to all 4 corners of the pan. This is a very sticky batter, so you'll need to put some muscle into it! Grease another sheet of parchment paper with butter and place it on top of the batter before placing it into the oven. I can then smooth and even out the batter by running my hands over the top sheet of parchment paper. This keeps the top from becoming hard, so it can hold the powdered sugar better. Bake the batter for 30 minutes and test to see if it is done by putting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out wet you need to cook it longer. I often turn up the heat to 350 degrees if it is not cooked at that point and bake another 10 minutes. After you take the sheet pan out of the oven, remove the top layer of parchment paper and let the cookies cool a bit before cutting them into bars. Cut them into squares. While still warm, roll them in powdered sugar.
This becomes a very chewy and rich cookie that I used, combined with a lavender shortbread for a friend's wedding. After placing the cookie in the center of a piece of cellophane, I lowered it into a 2 1/4" X 2 1/4" favor box, placed the chocolate covered shortbread on top, then wrapped with netting and ribbon that worked with the bride's color scheme. The reason these cookies came about at all was that the shortbread looked small for the box. Adding the Darty did the trick in filling up the box. I measured the bars before cutting to 2" so they would not be too large for the boxes and the cellophane aided in keeping both cookies from shifting around.

No comments: