I grew up surrounded in a home where fresh fruit was typically our dessert on a daily basis. But whenever my mom did bake, the scent of rose water and orange blossom water filled the air. Apricots were a fruit that we snacked on plenty in the summer months but also used to make delicious desserts.
As apricot season is upon us, I knew my local New Seasons Market would have the most delicious ones to use for this special dessert. Apricot jam is always the staple jam in our fridge, and most Lebanese fridges. It’s our go-to with peanut butter as well as buttered toast. But besides apricot jam, I knew I had to recreate my aunt’s apricot cookies. A simple shortbread type dough that are typically sandwiched between apricot jam. They are so addictive and bring back so many memories.
The beauty of living in Portland, OR is all the fresh fruit in abundance. New Seasons Market always carries regionally sourced produce. Recently, my mom and I made my aunt’s signature recipe in bar form, creating a simple cookie that can be made in minutes with all the same incredible flavor as the original.
With fresh apricots just coming into season, it’s a perfect opportunity to make your own sticky, delicious apricot jam. I’m not a canner by any means, but making a quick freezer jam is easier than you think and comes together in minutes to use for these cookies or even slather on your morning toast.
Since these are a shortbread style cookie, butter is EXTREMELY important. New Seasons actually carries a European style butter which is the best choice for something so butter forward. European style butters have a higher butterfat content and less milk so you get that luxurious, silky, buttery taste in every bite. Worth the extra splurge if you can do it!
A quick mix of some flour, sugar and other pantry staples and you have the base for this simple bar cookie. Half of the dough actually gets grated on top of the apricot jam, it almost looks like pizza before it bakes! Truly this recipe is easy enough to do with kids and even split up into smaller trays for each kid to make their own. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do it. Simple ingredients. Delicious flavor. Classic dessert.Print
Simple wholesome ingredients create these snack bars.
- 1.5 pounds fresh apricots, sliced and skin on
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp orange blossom water*
- 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp corn starch + splash of water
- 1 pound + 4 Tbsp unsalted butter (515 grams or 4.5 sticks), softened
- 1.5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 8 cups all-purpose flour – 1000 grams (spooned and leveled)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- In a large pot, add your sliced apricots, sugar, orange blossom water and lemon juice together.
- Allow mixture to come to a boil, use a potato masher to break up the apricot pieces while cooking.
- After mixture comes to a boil, lower to a medium-low heat and cook for about 20 minutes continuing to break up the apricot pieces.
- In a small bowl add your corn starch and a splash of water to create a slurry, add to mixture. Continue cooking for another 20-25 minutes until jam is thick.
- Remove from heat and let cool, you can also refrigerate at this time and use later.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, add your butter and powdered sugar to create a creamy mixture.
- Next add your eggs and continue to blend, scraping down sides as needed.
- Finally add in your dry ingredients; flour, salt and baking powder until blend until a cohesive dough forms.
- Divide your dough in two, wrap one half in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare your tray.
- In a half sheet pan (12×17) press half of your dough into an even layer. I like to use a smooth drinking glass and roll across to flatten and even out. Finally, press sides to edge to create a crust.
** see photo below
- Next, spread your cooled apricot jam on the shortbread.
- Finally, using a cheese grater with the largest side, remove your refrigerated dough and grate on top of your apricot jam to create a sprinkle.
- Place in top 1/3 of oven and bake for 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees. You’ll want to see the top begin to turn a hint of red and the bottom to be cooked through evenly.
- Remove from oven, let cool and dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!
- Feel free to sub vanilla for orange blossom water
- You can make the full recipe and only bake half using a 1/4 sheet pan, the other half of the dough can be frozen
- I like to cut my bars into small bite sized pieces, it yields a lot but are just the perfect size
Keywords: apricot, lebanese, cookie, bar, dessert, easy, shortbread, butter