Monday, August 18, 2014

White Chocolate Apricot Squares

 Every summer, my fabulous friends, Ginna and Charlie, throw an amazing party. It's always a bunch of great friends, great food, and LOTS of laughs. It's a highlight of my summer!! And of course, I always like to bring a delicious home baked something to the party. Since Ginna loves all things apricot, I decided to give these apricot squares a try. They're easy to make with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Perfect!
 The recipe is my own adaptation from one that I found on a website called Living D.I.N.K. (which means double income, no kids.) It's pretty much the same basic idea as the original, but I changed a few amounts and added a couple things. I'm thrilled with how they turned out!
 Everyone at the party loved them! (Too bad they were gone even before Ginna had a chance to taste one!!!! Guess I'll have to make more!) Thanx again, guys, for another fabulous party!
I'm sure you'll love them too. Try 'em!

1 stick plus 6 tbs butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
18 oz apricot jam
1 cup white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350F.
 Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit with enough to hang over the sides of the pan. Place the parchment in the pan, smoothing it out so that it sticks to the sides of the sprayed pan. Set aside.
 In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, and sugar. Add eggs, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix well. Stir in flour. 
 Using your impeccably clean floured hands, press just slightly more than half of the dough into the bottom of your prepared pan. It helps to break off pieces of the dough, and then using your whole hand, flatten them into one even layer. Spread jam over the dough in an even layer. Sprinkle with chips making sure they're evenly spaced over the jam. Crumble the remaining dough over the chips. Bake 40-45 minutes or until slightly golden. Cool completely or chill until set.

 When it's time to cut them into squares, run a knife around the edge to make sure nothing is stuck to the sides, and then use the parchment paper as a sling to lift the whole batch out of the pan at once. Now you can place it on a cutting board and use a big knife to make perfectly even cuts without damaging your pan.

You can use almond extract instead of vanilla, but a little goes a long way. Too much almond might compete with the flavor of the apricot jam. Just sayin".
 To make it easier to crumble the dough, place the rest of the dough in the fridge while you're pressing the bottom layer, and spreading the jam and chips. It'll firm up just enough to crumble a little more easily. I like to break off TINY little pieces of dough and place them across the surface of the jam. It covers more evenly, and you still get a little jam peeking through.
 Not a fan of apricots? Use whatever kind of jam you like! Seedless raspberry goes famously with the white chocolate chips. Or how about orange marmalade for a creamsicle sort of vibe? You could also do a black forest vibe with cherry preserves and semisweet chocolate chips. It will all work!

No comments: