[86] Easy Apricot Squares

The Complete Book of Cookies, edited by Deborah Grey

One night I decided dessert sounded like a good thing. I also decided that the ice cream in the freezer, going out to buy dessert and going out to buy ingredients for dessert all sounded like bad things. So I was stuck with what I had in the house, but not in the freezer.

What I had in the house was a bunch of ingredients, but nothing that could be immediately eaten and rightfully called “dessert”. Oh, sure, a spoonful of honey sounded “tasty” but not “dessert”. So I whipped out this cookbook to see what I could find.

The first thing I found that I had basically all the ingredients for were these apricot bars. What I didn’t have, I felt I could fake reasonably well. Furthermore, it seemed like a quick dessert to throw together, and not long in the oven. I could whip up the recipe and then bake it while watching an episode of Futurama with Bill. That would certainly make the time fly!

So that’s what I did. It did not go quite according to plan, thoughh2. Ingredients

1/4 c lightly salted butter, softened
3 tbsp creamed honey (We used regular honey.)

3 tbsp corn syrup

3/4 c ready to eat dried apricots, halved

2 2/3 c muesli or granola (I just used rolled oats.)

h2. Instructions

Preheat oven to 325F and grease and base-line an 8″ x 8″ pan.

Beat the butter until light, then beat in the honey and syrup. Stir in the remaining ingredients thoroughly, and press into the pan. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into nine squares. Leave to cool completely before removing from the pan. Store in an airtight container.

h2. Cooking and Consumption Notes

h3. Cooking

Well, this was a perfect example of why, in a time long since past, I didn’t tackle recipes until I was prepared to make them exactly as described. Back then, I figured the worst that could happen was total cooking failure. These days, I figure the worst that could happen is total cooking failure.

The difference is that total cooking failure doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it used to.

And, frankly, this was a near-total kitchen failure. What I cannot tell is if my substitutions did it, or if it was a bad recipe from the start. I’ve had a couple out of this cookbook that needed tweaking before being good, and a couple that just worked.

In this case, the mix just never came together. I effectively made an oddball version of granola, rather than bars. I can see that creamed honey is whipped in such a way to force crystallization, but I can’t tell what that would do to the chemistry of the baking (if anything). Since it is whipped, I presume it is less honey per unit measure than “normal” honey, but I would have expected that extra honey to make the mix more cohesive, not less.

I do wonder if using a slightly less sticky “base” in rolled oats versus granola makes a difference. That said, I don’t think of muesli as terribly sticky, and it is the other option for this recipe.

h3. Consumption

What prevents this recipe from being a complete failure is that it was pretty tasty. I kept it in a baggie and Bill and I had handfuls from time to time. It kept for a surprisingly long time, maybe a week and a half before we finished it. We definitely finished it off; it did not go bad.

Still, next time I want granola, I’ll just make granola. This failed utterly as a cookie variant, and wasn’t the best variant on granola I’ve had.