Apricot Macadamia Nut Cookie Bars: Perfect for Potlucks!

These bars are nothing short of perfection.

apricot macadamia nut bars

They’re incredibly easy to make and take nearly no time; but the result is a light-tasting cookie (well, it’s technically a bar) that has just the right level of sweetness.

I baked these last week for my co-workers to enjoy…and enjoy they did!  They were gone in no time!   I had intended to bake a blueberry tart to share, but I forgot to buy half the ingredients (imagine that!)…so I turned to my favorite–quick–recipe.

I had these bars put together and baked within 30 minutes; which was good because I was running late (hence the not so fabulous photos…).

I love this recipe because all the ingredients are very common things found in nearly everyone’s pantry.  Sure, I add a little cardamom powder–just to give the cookie crust a little “flair”–but this can easily be omitted, and it won’t affect the taste too much.

I use apricot preserves, but I have tried making the bars with other fruit preserves…and they’re equally delicious!

This is the important part though.  Because the preserves are the key ingredient, you want to use something tasty and not overly sweet.

I make my own preserves, but there is no need to worry if you don’t.  Simply “dress” the store-bought preserves up with a little citrus zest (I like lime) and vanilla bean…no one will ever know you didn’t make it yourself!

not so secret ingredients: vanilla beans and citrus

I made these preserves last year, and they were so delicious that I (seriously) hoarded all the apricots I came across; just so I could make a few more batches.  I think I ended up with like 50 jars of the stuff…so I needed to find ways to use them.

That’s when I got the idea to make bars.  I absolutely love lemon bars, and they were my inspiration for this dessert.

**Edited to add some new photos…and a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to my baby sister!  She is a college graduate today…and already accepted into the Mayo School Of Medicine!  Whoa!

I made this batch today for my sister’s graduation…with almonds instead of macadamia nuts

 

Apricot Macadamia Nut Cookie Bars:

CRUST:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom powder (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar.  Using a pastry blender or fork cut in butter and shortening.  Once everything is combined, pat crust onto the bottom of an ungreased pan (I use a 1/4 sheet).  Poke holes all over the dough using a fork–this will keep the crust from bubbling up.
Bake until the cookie crust begins to lightly brown–about 17 minutes.
TOPPING:
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. macadamia nuts–cut into small chunks (or whichever nut you prefer, almonds are also a great choice!)

In a large bowl (I use the same one I used for making the crust), whisk together egg, sugar, and preserves.  Add butter and vanilla and continue whisking until everything is combined.  Spread the mixture over the hot cookie crust and sprinkle with macadamia nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes–until the topping is set but not browned or dry.  Allow to cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Cut bars into squares (a plastic knife works best!).

I cut the bars relatively small, and can get approximately 30-36 bars from one batch.

printer friendly version

 

Oh…I had to share this too!  So I made these bars for my sister’s graduation party tonight…I didn’t have time to make her a proper cake, so I went to Target to purchase one.   I asked the guy working in the bakery if he could write on it for me using purple frosting.  He agreed.

I asked him to write, “Congratulations on Your Graduation, Michelle” …this is what I got (sorry for the harsh lighting!):

sorry for the harsh lighting!!!

How funny is that?  Grduation–haha! I thought it was funny so I didn’t even say anything.  Spelling “graduation” wrong on a cake for someone graduating from college.  It just made me laugh!

I wonder how long it will take for my dad to comment on it…

I’m guessing about 4 seconds!

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5 thoughts on “Apricot Macadamia Nut Cookie Bars: Perfect for Potlucks!

  1. Desi Chick

    Those look amazing. Totally making these tomorrow. I have an apricot tree (those pits in the grass are a pain to mow over) so I’m always making preserves or chutneys or dried apricots to have on hand. Thanks for the great recipe! mmmmm!

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Honey-soy Vegetables and Recipe Roundup « The Heavy Table – Minneapolis-St. Paul and Upper Midwest Food Magazine and Blog

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