Well, sort of on both counts. As usual, when I get really busy I neglect the blog (but you know that already, don’t you? Thank you for coming back even when I’m a bit absent)! I’ve been working on a smallish art quilt, 18 x 33, and have posted tidbits of progress on Facebook. Because we all like pretty things, here’s a sneak peek:
A wicked tease. I’ll tell you about this quilt and what I’m doing eventually …probably in March. The tidbit for reading my blog… Quilting Arts TV tapes in March….
I also mentioned that for family dinner last night, I made some new cookies and posted about that over on FB also.
Apricot, Pistachio and Cranberry bars…YUM! Add decaf tea in winter, lemonade or something citrusy and sprightly in warmer weather.
A couple of you asked for the recipe, so I’m sharing right here. I looked at my cookbooks and decided that for once I wouldn’t fix something chocolate, and I didn’t want to trek into town, so I had to be able to use what I had on hand. I ended up using a recipe for Peach Bars from one of my favorite small cookbooks, Country Cookies: An Old-Fashioned Collection by Lisa Yockelson. Yockelson used to write about food and do recipes in The Washington Post when we lived there. The brilliant news is that this 1990 cookbook is available for a penny at Amazon! I also have her Country Pies, but didn’t get the one on cakes because really, is there a cake (other than perhaps coconut) other than chocolate?
Peach Squares (page 104) uses (duh) dried peaches, peach preserves, golden raisins and pecans. None of which I had. However, I had a lot of leftover dried apricots that I took with me for the Women’s March on Washington and apricot jam in the pantry. I had dried cranberries (great on a salad with Balsamic vinaigrette and walnut bits). And I had some hazelnuts and some walnuts, though not enough of each. THEN I spotted pistachios–bingo! Atlantic Bakery in Rockland makes an awesome oatmeal cookie with apricot and pistachio. So here is my variation,
Apricot Squares (with pistachio and cranberries) batter
- 1 1/4 c. unsifted all purpose flour
- 1/4 c. unsifted cake flour (which I didn’t have so I used regular)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/s tsp ground ginger
- 1/s tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves (scant)
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional but I love it)
- 8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temp.
- 1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1 extra-large egg, at room temp (mine was cold)
- 2 extra-large egg yolks at room temp (mine were cold)
- 1/2 c. apricot preserves, (Lisa’s recipe calls for blending with 1 tsp vanilla extract, which I totally missed, I’d do that next time)
- 1 c. chopped dried apricots
- 3/4 c. dried cranberries
- 3/4 c. chopped pecans
Makes 24 squares.
I actually made a half recipe–getting half an egg was a challenge but I managed! I used a small glass pyrex dish which made timing iffy…smaller recipe, but pan doesn’t heat/brown as well as metal. I ended up cooking longer than the recipe specifies because my apricots were quite moist.
- Lightly butter and flour a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan (I used baking spray); set aside. Preheat oven to 350.
- Sift the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves and cardamom.
- Cream the butter in the large bowl of an electric mixer on moderate speed for 2 minutes.
- Add the brown sugar and beat for 2 minutes.
- add the granulated sugar and beat for 1 minute longer.
- Beat in the egg and egg yolks, one at a time, blending well after each addition.
- Blend in the preserves.
- On low speed or by hand beat in the sifted mixture in 2 additions, beating just until the particles of flour have been absorbed.
- By hand, stir in the dried apricots, cranberries and pistachios.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it into an even layer with a spatula or flexible palette knife.
- Bake the squares on the middle-level rack of the over for 25 minutes, or until set and firm to the touch. (The cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the baking pan when done.)
- Cool the cake in the pan on a rack until it reaches room temperature. Cut into squares or long “fingers” and store in an airtight container.
There! We agreed this was definitely a make-it-again recipe. Feel free to copy this recipe into a document to print and try on your own. If you come up with some great variations, do SHARE with us all in the comments!