When I glimpsed a tower of plump golden apricots at the store this week, I stopped everything to fill a bag with the first of the local harvest. Brandy and brown butter were my next two thoughts, and it wasn’t long before a pan of these brandied apricot crumb bars emerged from the oven.
I macerated the mildly sweet fruit in brandy and turbinado sugar (how delicious would a spoonful be over vanilla bean ice cream?!) before layering the slices over a brown butter shortbread crust and finishing with a generous sprinkle of streusel topping. Enjoy warm with that scoop of vanilla, or sweeten up your morning and try one for breakfast.
Brandied Apricot Crumb Bars
3/4 cup unsalted butter
5 or 6 medium apricots, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp brandy
1 Tbsp turbinado sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp water
Cook butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a deep brown, about 6 minutes. Pour browned butter into a glass measuring cup and chill in the freezer until solid, about 45 minutes. Combine apricots, brandy, and turbinado sugar in a small bowl, tossing occasionally. Macerate fruit until brown butter has solidified, then pour off excess liquid.
Preheat oven to 375°F and spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Whisk together sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in solidified brown butter, egg, and almond extract with a pastry cutter until dough is crumbly. Press 3/4 of the dough evenly into bottom of prepared baking dish. Arrange apricot slices in a single layer over crust. Toss remaining dough with 1 tablespoon water until large crumbs form; sprinkle over fruit layer.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top and edges are golden. Cool bars completely in pan on a wire rack, then cut into squares with a sharp knife. Store bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
Yield – 24 bars (serving size: 1 bar)
Calories – 135
Carbs – 18