Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cranberry Orange Apricot Bars

I have lots of dried fruits in my baking pantry, which I am trying to clear. Found two unopened packs of dried cranberries, I must have forgotten that I already have a pack when I bought the second one! Note to self : do not buy anymore dried fruits until I have finished the ones I have right now, golden raisins, black raisins, prunes, apricots, black currant, cranberries! Those are only dried fruits, there are nuts, various types of flour and other knick knacks! Much as I like my pantry to be cleared as much as possible, I really do like a well-stocked pantry. Do you buy your ingredients only when needed and enough for that one bake? Or like me, can't help myself when it comes to baking ingredients and then months later, got to find recipes to clear them off! Haha! Much as I'm always trying to clear my pantry, I have never succeeded before, and I don't think I ever will! wink!

The first thing that came to mind with these dried fruits are bars or slices. And found a really nice recipe from this lovely book, which I have been neglecting for a while now, "Bake Something Great", which has 400 bars, squares and cookies recipes, by Jill Snider.  Wonderful thing is, it uses three types of dried fruits, and what a coincidence, I have all three (ha!ha!, really!). Big grin!! 


These Cranberry Orange Apricot Bars has a buttery crust at the bottom, with a fruity-nut layer on the top.


The crust is really easy and quick to make, it is a mixture of flour, brown sugar and butter, which are processed until crumbly and then spread in the baking pan to a thin layer. It is then baked about 10 to 12 minutes until the sides are a little brown. It took mine about 15 minutes, maybe because I lined the pan with baking parchment extending over two opposite sides, for easy removal of the whole bars for easy cutting later.


To prepare the top layer, the dried fruits are chopped and bring to boil with some freshly squeezed orange juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid. 
Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until blended, add the flour and cinnamon and stir until combined. Pecans and the boiled dried fruits are stirred in, spread mixture over the baked crust. Return to oven and baked until the top layer is golden brown and set, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Remove the whole bar by lifting the two ends of the baking parchment, cut into bars to serve.


My notes : This is a lovely bar, with buttery crust and fruity-nutty topping.  I have reduced the sugar for both the crust and the topping, and believe me, you would not miss out on the sugar. Even with the reduced amount of sugar, I can definitely taste the sweetness of these bars, which comes from the dried fruits. Really nice to snack on, and wonderful with a cup of warm tea.


Cranberry Orange Apricot Bars
(adapted from "Bake Something Great', Jill Snider)
Preheat oven to 350F (180C)
9-inch square cake pan, greased (I greased and lined the pan with parchment paper, extending over opposite sides for easy removal of the whole bar)

Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (I use 1/4 cup loosely packed)
1/3 cup cold butter, cubed (I use 70gm)

Filling
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar (I use 1/2 cup loosely packed)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans

  1. Crust : In a bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, 2 knives or your fingers, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press evenly into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven until golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Filling : In a saucepan, combine raisins, cranberries, apricots and orange juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes. Liquid should be absorbed. If necessary, drain off any excess.
  3. In a bowl, whisk eggs and brown sugar until blended. Add flour and cinnamon, whisking until smooth. Stir in pecans and fruit mixture. Spread evenly over crust.
  4. Return to oven and bake until top is set and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into bars.

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This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Bake For Happy Kids, and My Little Favourite DIY, hosted by Ann of Anncoo Journal . 

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and 

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14 comments:

  1. These cookie bars look fantastic! Love that fruity topping.

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  2. Hi Joyce, WOW... can I have some of these cookie bars? Look so pretty and delicious!
    Thank you for linking to LTU.

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  3. These bars look absolutely delicious Joyce!
    This remember me I have a recipe go ling to CYB!

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  4. Lovely! I would love to bake this too if I have the ingredients now!

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  5. Love your bars with full of fruits and nuts on top, I definitely love this bar so much but not my children's ! hehe..

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  6. Great Flavors!!! All to make a delicious treat. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

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  7. I'm the same way when it comes to sugar. You will find that in most recipes not so much sugar is needed especially fruit desserts! These bars look lovely...love a nice buttery crust :)

    Thank you for visiting and for such a lovely comment.

    Toodles,
    Tammy<3

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  8. Hi Joyce! I have the same problem. I always buy more than enough and sometimes buy what I already have! These bars are a delicious solution to clear the pantry. I really have to do a stock take hah..hah...

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  9. hahaha! i'm so guilty like you! makes the two of us... as a pure bled singaporean and the kiasu-ism attitude in me, i always feel safer to buy when i see them (not realising i probably have 2 expiring bags in the store)... i mean i think we never want to encounter a situation where we want to bake something and realise we don't have it right? this looks like a nice chewy bar especially from the dried fruits. will love to own the lot so i can help you use up the rest of the spare ingredients eh? ;)

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  10. Gosh talk about dried fruits and nuts in the fridge. I got lots too and sometimes I forget that I have them, and I go to the baking supply shop thinking I've run out and then buy more. LOL!

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  11. This is perfect for breakfast or tea time...not only you, I find myself buying too many baking ingredients and never use it...

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  12. Joyce, I buy to keep stock hahahhaha... very bad habit cos will stock until forget :P

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  13. I could have these lovely bars for breakfast or tea break. Love the fruity combo.

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