Eight months. It is hard to believe I have been living in California for 8 months. Time has flown so quickly; the transition seems like yesterday. The whole experience has been exciting, productive, and…if I am being completely honest, therapeutic.
Professionally, I am right where I am supposed to be. It’s as though all the roads I have taken throughout the last twenty years were leading to San Jose. Or, maybe Dionne Warwick was really just singing in my ear all these years.
Personally, I am happy, too! There have been life tests, relationships from both coasts that have come and gone, and several health issues/weight gains. Even so, I am riding the wave and remaining on two feet. I know who I am, and I am in a good place. Whatever transpired in the universe to bring me here, I would like to give it thanks! So, cheers to the stars aligning….Let’s toast with a few spiked apricot bars.
Last week, I was fortunate to receive several bags of freshly dried apricots after attending meetings at the Packard Foundation‘s Taaffe House. The Taaffe House is the former Packard family home and was remodeled as a meeting and conference facility. Nestled in the Los Altos Hills, the property is b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!
While I ate several apricots as they were, I also rehydrated the lovely sun kissed fruits in sugar water that I spiked with Crown Royal® Maple. Adding the extra spirit into the liquid is not necessary, but it sure makes for a good-time dessert!
These bars make for a such a good-time dessert that I believe they are appropriate for my graceful exit. After (almost) 8 years wonderful years, I am moving on from Mele Cotte. The site will remain up, and the Mele Cotte Facebook page will continue serve as an outlet for future food adventures I’d like to share. However, I don’t foresee any more posts here. It is time.
So, I would like to extend my gratitude for all those who visit, and continue to do so. Thank you. I truly appreciate your company and support! Good food, good friends, good times – It’s what life is about.
Grazie per tutto il tuo amore e sostegno in questo periodo. Sono tanto grata per te e per il tuo amore.
Spiked Apricot Squares
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups water
½ – 1 cup Crown Royal® Maple (optional)
12 oz. dried California apricots
1 cup butter (divided – ¾ room temperature, ¼ melted)
1 cup sugar
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour
1 cup finely chopped pistachios, divided
Spiked Sugar Glaze
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2-6 Tbsp. reserved sugar liquid
½ tsp. vanilla or almond extract
Place the water, sugar, and whiskey in a large saucepan and stir to combine. Add apricots, making sure they are fully submerged. (If not add water.) Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes or until apricots are tender. Drain and reserve the sugar liquid. Set aside to cool while preparing the crust.
In a bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda and ½ cup nuts; set aside. Cream ¾ butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer to make a crumbly, sand-like mixture. Set aside about 1 ½ cups of the crust mixture.
Add the ¼ cup melted butter to the remaining crust mixture and mix until blended. Transfer into parchment lined 9 x 13 inch baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
While the crust is baking, chop apricots and set aside.
Remove crust from oven and carefully place the chopped apricots evenly over it. The crust will appear to deflate a bit as the apricots are placed on top. Sprinkle with reserved crust mixture over the apricots, then top with remaining ½ cup nuts. Return to the oven to bake for an additional 25-30 minutes or until a light, golden brown.
While baking, mix glaze. Place the confectioner’s sugar into a bowl. Add the sugar liquid and extract. Stir until it forms a thick, creamy paste. If too thick, add additional liquid (1 tsp at a time) to thin the frosting.
Remove apricot bars from oven to cool completely in the pan. Cut into squares. Drizzle with glaze. Yields about 20-24 squares.
- Left over glaze can be sealed and refrigerated for up to a week. Makes about 1 cup of frosting.
- Nuts can be changed to a preferred type, or omitted completely.