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Tag Archives: apricot

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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.

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Shortbread and Apricot Bars

  • Servings: 8 to 12 bars
  • Print

Shortbread
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.

Make Filling
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.

Topping
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 

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On Christmas Day, my daughter and I have dinner alone and try to have something a little different that would not be appreciated by the men in the family.  This is a very easy trifle that can be made with any type of pound cake.  My youngest daughter always gives us her prize-winning Lemon Pound Cake for St. Nick (December 6) and I freeze a portion of it to use in this dessert.  I like the use of the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar to stabilize the whipped cream to make a dish that is still delicious on December 26.  I don’t know if it will last another day, since we have always eaten the last crumb by then.

APRICOT RASPBERRY TRIFLE

  • One 15 oz. can of apricots, drained
  • One 10-12 oz. bag of frozen raspberries, thawed and drained
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 cups pound cake cubes, divided
  • ¼ cup brandy, divided (or juice drained from fruit and/or orange juice)

In a large bowl, combine drained apricots and thawed/drained raspberries.  Toss lightly to combine.  Set aside.

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Beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Add cream and beat until soft peaks form and mixture is like soft mousse (don’t overbeat).

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In a 6 inch glass container, place 1-½ cups of cake cubes on the bottom.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of brandy.  Place half of the fruit on top of the cake cubes.

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Top with half of the cream/mousse mixture.  Repeat with cake cubes, brandy, fruit and cream/mousse.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

6 servings 

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banap-top

I wanted to use up some ripe bananas as well as some apricots I had bought for another recipe.  I went back to a recipe for Banana Nut Bread that I thought was good enough for the Ohio State Fair in 1987.  It didn’t win a ribbon, but it’s a great quick bread (not every entry in a fair wins a prize) and I adapted the recipe to add apricots and make 24 delicious muffins.

BANANA APRICOT MUFFINS

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups ripe bananas, pureed (3-4 medium bananas)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots*

*I bought some wonderful, moist apricots which did not have to be soaked.  If you have the very dry kind, rehydrate by pour scalding water over the fruit and let set covered for 20 minutes. Drain well and pat dry with a paper towel before using.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Have two 12-cup muffin tins lined with Silicone or paper liners, or grease and flour cups.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add pureed bananas, oil, sugars and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, soda, baking powder and salt.  Add to banana mixture, stirring just until all of the flour is absorbed.  Stir in chopped nuts and apricots.

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Divide batter between the 24 muffin cups (about ¼ cup per section – an ice cream scoop works well for this).

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Bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes until muffins are golden brown on top and a tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean.

Let muffins rest in the tins for 5 minutes, then remove muffins to cool on wire racks. 

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Yield:  24 muffins.  These muffins freeze very well.  Let thaw overnight, pop them in a cold oven, turn on oven and heat to 350 degrees F.  At that point, turn off the oven and remove the muffins to a rack.  They will taste as if they were freshly baked that morning.

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aprip-top
I had made a crisp using pineapple and dried apricots, and thought it was a wonderful combination.  My daughters and I are all trying to cut back a little on portions, especially dessert portions, and I made these miniature upside-down cakes, using my 1950s tried-and-true recipe, adapting it to a 12-cup muffin tin.  These are really buttery and delicious – one cake was satisfying for each of us as a serving.

APRICOT-PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN MINI CAKES

Apricot-Pineapple Topping

  • 6 Tblsp. butter, divided
  • 6 Tblsp. dark brown sugar, divided
  • 3 slices of pineapple, drained, quartered
  • 12 dried apricots, quartered

Batter

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1-½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

To make topping:
In each section of a 12-cup muffin tin, place ½ tablespoon of butter.

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Place in warmed oven for 3-5 minutes until butter is melted.  In each section, stir in ½ tablespoon of dark brown sugar (1-½ tsp.).
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Cut quarters of pineapple into 4 wedges and place in each cup.  Add 4 pieces of apricots to make a starburst pattern.  Set aside.

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To make batter:
Place butter, baking powder, vanilla, sugar, flour and salt in mixer bowl.  Beat for 1 minute on medium speed.  Add milk and egg, beat for another minute on medium speed.  Spoon  batter on top of fruit in muffin tin, about 3 tablespoons per section.

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Bake@ 350 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes – tops of cakes should be golden brown.

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Invert the muffin tin on racks and allow to set for abut 3 minutes.

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Lift up the muffin tin and allow cakes to cool.

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Yield:  12 mini-cakes


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This dessert was adapted from a recipe  in an old 1977 Dinner and Supper Cookbook.  It’s easy to make this tangy, creamy dessert.

APRICOT CREAM DESSERT

  • 15.25 oz. can of apricot halves
  • 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
  • 3 Tblsp. cold water
  • 2 Tblsp. lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed

Drain the apricot halves.  Note:  I always save small amounts of drained juice to keep in a one-pint jar in the freezer.  Then, I have juice on hand to use instead of cold water when making Jello.

Puree the apricots in a blender or food processor.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the gelatin and cold water.  Add the puree, lemon juice and sugar.  Heat until gelatin and sugar are dissolved and mixture just starts to bubble.

Pour apricot mixture into a 4-cup container and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Fold whipped topping into chilled apricot mixture and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Spoon into 6 dessert dishes.

This makes a nice light dessert.


My youngest daughter is a busy stay-at-home mom who always finds time to get together with me on Fridays for lunch.  I try to make meals that are tasty, quick and easy, and reduced in fat and calories.  Here is the meal we had this week.

I developed this recipe in the early 1980s to enter in an Archway Cookie contest at the Ohio State Fair.  I didn’t win, but the family liked this soft cookie with all kinds of healthy ingredients and not too bad for a dieter.

WINTERTIME FRUIT DROPS

  • Servings: Approx. 2 doz. cookies
  • Print

  • 1/2 water
  • 1/3 cup snipped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup snipped prunes
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, heat the water until boiling.  Remove from heat and add apricots, prunes and raisins.  Stir and allow mixture to stand for 15 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, cream brown sugar and butter, add egg and lemon extract.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Add to brown sugar mixture and beat until blended.  Stir in drained dried fruit and chopped nuts.

Drop by a level measuring tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving 2″ between each cookie.

Bake @ 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes until cookies are golden brown.  Cool on a rack.

Yield:  Approximately 2 dozen cookies 

Nutrition per Diet Power software based on 24 cookies:  One cookie = 88 calories, 3.27 g fat, 15.2 mg cholesterol, 25.1 mg sodium, 85.1 mg potassium, 14.1 g carbohydrate, 0.659 g dietary fiber, 1.4 g protein

Weight Watchers Points based on 24 cookies:  2 points per cookie

For our entree today, we had an old favorite – Mom’s Tuna Melts (see recipe here).

This week, we were joined by my oldest daughter and the three of us enjoyed a reduced calorie/fat lunch with a lot of good flavor.


My youngest daughter is a busy stay-at-home mom who always finds time to get together with me on Fridays for lunch.  I try to make meals that are tasty, quick and easy, and reduced in fat and calories.  Here is the meal we had this week.

This week, I fixed an “un-diet” type meal, but adjusted the portions so my daughter could still stick to her Weight Watchers points.

This past week, I had watched Giada de Laurentiis on Food Network make some intruiging cookies.  I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand and thought I would try to make small cookies with just a smidgen of icing as dessert for my Friday lunch with Shannon.  These cookies are so delicious and a little bit of Amaretto icing goes a long way, especially for someone who has been dieting all week.  The only change I made to the ingredients was to make a smaller amount of icing.

APRICOT AND NUT COOKIES WITH AMARETTO ICING

  • Servings: Approx. 48 small cookies
  • Print

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 Tblsp. pine nuts, toasted

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg.  Stir in the flour until just blended.  Mix in the apricots…

…almonds and pine nuts.

Divide the dough in half and form each into a 12″ long log.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove one log from refrigerator and divide in half.  Cut each half-portion into quarters and then each quarter into three 1/2″ slices.  Place slices on ungreased cookie sheet, leaving 1-1/2″ to 2″ between each slice.

Bake @ 350 degrees F for about10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden brown.  Remove to rack to cool.  Then place a dab of Amaretto icing on each cookie.

AMARETTO ICING

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2-3 Tblsp. Amaretto

Add Amaretto to sugar gradually, stirring until mixture is of a drizzling consistency.

Yield:  48 small cookies 

Nutrition per DietPower for one cookie:  58 calories, 2.71 gr fat, 10.2 mg cholesterol, 21.4 mg sodium, 27.2 mg potassium, 7.52 g carbohydrates, 0.243 g fiber, 0.806 g protein

Weight Watchers count for each cookie:  2 Points/Plus

Refrigerate or freeze remaining log and icing to make fresh cookies another time.  Diet-wise, it’s better not to have too many of these on hand at a time – they’re just too hard to resist.

For our entree, I chose an old favorite, (see my recipe here –  Impossibly Easy Seafood Pie and made individual portions equaling 1/6 of the recipe.

Nutrition per 1/6 of Impossibly Easy Seafood Pie, using low-fat Bisquick and 2% milk:  208 calories, 13.6 g fat, 134 mg cholesterol, 251 mg sodium, 71.9 mg potassium, 8.58 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 12.5 g protein

Weight Watchers count for 1/6 of Impossibly Easy Seafood Pie:  6 PointsPlus

This meal was a good example of how we can enjoy some of our favorite foods so long as we watch the portions.