Are they a dessert? Are they a healthy breakfast bar? Our recipe for Apricot Oatmeal Bars straddles the line between the two kinds of food. They are sweet and tangy enough to be a dessert, but not so sugary that you wouldn’t be able to eat them for breakfast or take them to a potluck brunch, accompanied by a piping hot cup of rich coffee.
Our recipe for Apricot Oatmeal bars has only seven ingredients. If you keep a jar of apricot preserves on hand, you will be able to whip up this treat in just a few minutes using other ingredients that almost everyone keeps around in their kitchen. Even people who are not fans of cooking will enjoy this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a nine-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray the aluminum foil with cooking spray.
Measure the oats, sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda into a medium-sized bowl. Stir these dry ingredients together using a fork until they are thoroughly mixed. Use a pastry blender or a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Continue cutting in the butter until the mixture is uniform in texture and the butter has been chopped into tiny bits. The mixture will be somewhat dry and crumbly.
Measure out two cups of the butter, sugar, and oatmeal mixture and press this firmly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Reserve the remainder of the crust mixture to be used as the top layer of the Apricot Oatmeal Bars. Using the bottom of a measuring cup or a flat-bottomed bowl can make this go very quickly.
Use a spoon to scoop the apricot preserves over the bottom layer of crust. Use a spatula to spread the preserves over the bottom crust. Stop about ¼ of an inch from the edges of the pan.
Sprinkle the rest of the crust mixture over the top of the apricot preserves in an even layer.
Place the pan in the center of your preheated oven and bake it for 30 to 35 minutes or until the crumble topping is lightly browned.
Allow the bars to cool for about half an hour before you cut them into squares and serve them.
It takes very little specialized equipment and no special skills to create this three-layered snack. One thing that is very nice about our recipe is that the bottom crust and the top crumbly layer of the treatment are made from the very same mixture. That is one reason that it comes together so quickly.With a cheerful orange color, apricots are fruits that are members of the rose family which also includes fruits like peaches, nectarines, and plums. These fruits are available almost year-round in stores in the United States. During the warmer months, the available apricots are generally from the Northwestern states, like Oregon or Washington.During the colder months, most grocers import their apricots from South America. Apricots are a great snack for everyone. They are loaded with Vitamins A and C and include plenty of fiber. They are also very low in calories.For this recipe, you could cook fresh apricots down with sugar and mash them into a thick, sweet pulp to use as the filling. However, most cooks like having some shortcuts in the kitchen, and this recipe uses the shortcut of buying apricot jam to use as the filling for the bars.Of course, if you do not have apricot jam on hand and want to use another kind of jam, your oatmeal bars will taste just as good. Strawberry or raspberry would make these bars delicious too, as would blackberry or peach jam.Excellent cooks know how to take advantage of every shortcut that they can in the kitchen. After all, even those who like to cook often feel a little ambivalent about cleaning up, considering it the “price of admission” for getting the fun of making something delicious. This recipe uses the classic clean-up shortcut of lining the baking pan in aluminum foil.This means that you won’t have to scrub the baking pan. Simply wiping it out with a damp cloth may be sufficient to clean up the mess. At the very most, a quick dunking in soapy dishwater, swiping it with a dishcloth, should be the most that you’ll have to do to clean the baking pan. However, do not make the mistake of forgetting to spray the aluminum foil with baking spray. You will still need a light layer of grease to get the bars out of the foil easily.If you have never lined a pan with aluminum foil, the easiest way to do it is to turn the pan upside down, pressing your sheet of aluminum foil around the bottom of the pan. Gently ease the molded foil from the pan. Flip the pan over, right side up, and place the molded foil into the baking pan. You will have to do a little adjusting to get the foil in the pan just right, but this shortcut is a great start.