Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Apricot Coconut Squares

Apricot Coconut Squares
From: gardentraveler

I made these for the cookie exchange I participate in every year. They were my favorites of the 20 or so varieties in the exchange.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup dried apricots
1 cup water
2 eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a medium bowl, mix together butter, sugar, and 1 cup flour. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
2. Bake for 25 minutes in preheated oven. In small saucepan, bring apricots and water to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes. Drain, chop, and set aside to cool.
3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and brown sugar. Stir in 1/3 cup flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and lemon juice. Fold in nuts and chopped apricots. Stir in coconut, if desired. Pour over the prepared crust.
4. Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm. Cool, and dust with confectioners' sugar before cutting into squares.

My comments on the squares: It's probably useful to note that I made this recipe 3 times for the exchange and that each batch is supposed to make 2 dozen, but I cut the squares a bit smaller and got a few extra per batch. Amounts: One pound of walnuts is enough for 3 batches. Also, 3 batches use less than 1/3 bag of coconut. 2/3 cup dried apricots is about 4 ounces. I used one 15-oz package for 3 batches (yes, 4 x 3 is not 15). I forgot to get a lemon, so I used orange juice instead. Recipe says the top layer should be firm. I'm not sure what that means. I baked until there were little bubbles in the batter and the edges were just getting brown. I used white sugar plus a drop of molasses instead of brown sugar and reduced the sugar from the original recipe because I read comments about them being too sweet. I mixed the shortbread layer with a pastry cutter. Measured all the chopped ingredients out into amounts needed for each batch. Used a spatula from the point where it said to fold in nuts and apricots. Coconut flavor is just barely there, but very nice.

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