Rosemary Apricot Bars

Makes 24
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted Irish butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (kosher or Maldon salt preferred), plus extra
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla
  • - zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 ½ tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 ¼ cups flour, divided
  • 2 cups California dried apricots
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. spiced rum
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
  • 3 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together 12 tbsp. butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy; mix in 1/2 tsp. salt, vanilla, zest and rosemary. Slowly incorporate 1 ¾ cups flour. Using lightly floured hands, press dough into a 9x13" baking pan lined with foil and greased with butter; refrigerate 30 min. Bake in a preheated 350° oven until lightly brown (25-30 min.). Set aside; cool to room temperature. Combine apricots, water, granulated sugar, honey, rum and a pinch of salt in a heavy-bottomed pan; simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed into the apricots (about 1 hr.). Cool; purée in a food processor until smooth. Spread cooled apricot mixture on the cooled shortbread. Combine last three ingredients with remaining 1/2 cup flour and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a stand mixer; mix until it all starts to clump together. Top the apricot layer with the crumb topping. Bake in a preheated 350° oven until topping is browned (20-25 min.). Let completely cool in the pan before slicing and serving.

Recipe courtesy of food blogger Kelli Abrahamian of Winning recipes from the 2011 Minnesota Food Blogger Bake-Off.