These bars are part of my January 2023 TU story, and go along with Cowboy Caviar, Only Better and Roasted Broccoli Soup with Turmeric and Coconut Milk.
The standards for fun around here reached an all-time low when I began looking at baking as a legitimate event, something that not only nourished us, but was part of the schedule on a weekend afternoon. Can you call making a batch of cookies an event? Is dreaming up and baking a pan of brownies and then eating them, as satisfying as, say, going to a concert in July?
For us, the answer is yes (but only, and hopefully, just until the first frost, when we emerge from hibernation). For this winter celebration, I bought a jar of sweet apricot preserves, because it tastes like summer. I made a simple dough, with plenty of butter and sugar and warmth from ground ginger. There was also shelled pistachios, for their buttery, salty flavor. I sandwiched the preserves between two layers of the dough – one pressed firmly and the other crumbled on top. I baked it all until the butter and preserves bubbled and the kitchen filled with the scent of goodness itself and then, really, there was absolutely no reason to go anywhere. So Paul and I stayed in, ate slices of apricot bars, and dreamed of spring.
Ginger Apricot Pistachio Bars
Makes about 16 bars
1 cup flour
1 ½ cups rolled oats
½ cup salted, shelled pistachios
2 teaspoons ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
¼ cup cold water
1 18-ounce jar apricot preserves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and generously grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, oats, pistachios, ginger, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into chunks, add to the processor and pulse again until it’s crumbly and well combined. Add the water, pulsing just a few more times. Scoop half of the mixture into the prepared pan, and press it neatly down. Spread the preserves over all, then crumble the remaining mixture lightly and evenly on top.
Bake until the top is golden and the preserves are bubbling, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool completely, and then refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight. Slice into squares and serve.