Chocolate Chip Apricot Bars

Wanda shared a chocolate chip apricot bar recipe with me more than a decade ago, when I made it for our SRI chili cookoff and it won best dessert! The recipe is adapted from a Gourmet 1995 recipe. I forgot about it until yesterday, when I was thinking about what dessert to take to a neighbor's barbecue. I mentioned to my dad that I thought I'd take cookies, and he said, "Chocolate chip? Those would disappear!" He's right! But this is an interesting twist on that -- with just a tweak to the butter to make it vegan, and reducing the brown sugar a bit (it's pretty sweet as is).


Ingredients
For apricot filling: 6 oz dried apricots (~1 cup packed), chopped fine
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

For chocolate chip mixture:
1 1/3 cups pecans 
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 
1/2 to 2/3 cup vegan butter (like Miyokos or Earth Balance)

confectioners' sugar for sprinkling bars

Instructions
Make apricot filling: In small saucepan combine apricots, granulated sugar, and water, and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer mixture, stirring and mashing apricots, until excess liquid is evaporated and filling is thickened. Stir in vanilla.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 11x7 or 8-inch-square baking pan.

Make chocolate chip mixture: In a shallow baking pan. toast pecans in middle of oven until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool. In a food processor, pulse pecans, flour, brown sugar, and salt until pecans are coarsely chopped. Add chocolate chips and butter and pulse until pecan mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Press about half of chocolate chip mixture onto bottom of prepared baking pan and spread evenly with apricot filling. Crumble remaining chocolate chip mixture evenly over apricot filling, pressing it down slightly, and bake confection in middle of oven 1 hour, or until golden. Cool confection completely in pan on a rack. Sprinkle confection with confectioners' sugar and cut into 16 bars.

Makes 16 bars


Cookie tray for neighbors party with Wanda's chocolate chip apricot bars bars, Elizabeth's ginger molasses crinkles, and Munira's date and nut cookies. It was a hit!

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