I adapted this recipe from one on epicurious.com several years ago and it has become a family favorite. The shortbread would be great just by itself, but teamed with a layer of apricot and walnut filling plus a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar, it is simply delicious. It’s easy to make with no mixer required.
Shortbread and Apricot Bars
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
½ cup chilled butter cut into small cubes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a 9×9 inch baking pan, place the flour, sugar and salt, stirring with a fork to mix. Add the butter and with your finger press the butter into the dry ingredients and then spread the dough in the pan, pressing down to flatten and smooth it out. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until top is light brown. Remove from oven and set on rack.
2/3 cup dried apricot halves (about 4 oz.) coarsely chopped – place in small pan, cover with water and boil until soft – about 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2 large eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp vanilla
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs, whisk in the brown sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Stir in the flour, walnuts and apricots. Pour this mixture on top of the baked shortbread.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 35 minutes until top is puffy and dark brown. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Cut into portions and lift onto a rack that has been placed on top of a baking sheet. Allow to cool thoroughly. Note: I cut mine into 8 portions which turned out to be large servings of a rich dessert. Cutting the shortbread into 12 squares might be better.
¼ to ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
After cookies are cool, spoon confectioners’ sugar into a fine strainer and lightly sift over the bars.
Makes 8 large bars or 12 squares