A friend of mine had a birthday this week. I thought and thought about what I should give her as a birthday gift. Running downstairs to my pantry closet for some almonds, I spied a jar of apricot jam she had given me. Knowing apricots are her favorite fruit, I had an inspiration! I remembered seeing a recipe made with apricot jam in one of my Norwegian cookbooks.
Running back upstairs, I grabbed a couple of my Scandinavian pastry cookbooks and flipped through them, and there it was...Apricot Almond Bars. The base of the bar was a shortbread like crust which I know she also loves so I knew it would be a winner!
I should share with you two of my favorite Scandinavian cookbooks...in case you are a little "Norway crazy" like me...ok, ok, even if you are Swedish or Danish too!
The recipe I'm sharing today came from the first one pictured above, Scandinavian Classic Baking. It is on sale right now at Amazon for $9.99...a good deal! (If you decide to purchase either cookbook and click on the links above, I get a very small Amazon affiliates link stipend for recommending it). Pat Sinclair is a food consultant from the Twin Cities in Minnesota, who formerly worked with Land O' Lakes and Pillsbury. Every recipe of hers I have tried so far has been easy to follow and turned out well so I highly recommend these cookbooks. In addition, she has added wonderful photos and commentaries or history of various Scandinavian customs so you get a little education too as you peruse her cookbooks.
The Apricot Almond bars were quite easy to make and didn't require any fancy ingredients. I imagine you could use this recipe and substitute other jam flavors like strawberry or raspberry as well. Of course I love the fact that my favorite nut is the topping...Almonds! I did substitute sliced almonds since I didn't have any slivered ones on hand.
If you are looking for a tasty way to use some special jam...besides jam and bread...I encourage you to try this recipe. These really are delicious and just melt in your mouth.
Scandinavian Apricot Almond Bars
2 cups of flour
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup apricot jam
2 egg whites
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup slivered (or sliced) almonds, toasted
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 13 X 9 baking pan with aluminum foil, extending the foil over the long sides of the pan. Lightly spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine the flour, confectioners' sugar and butter for the crust in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into the baking pan, pressing about 1/2 inch up the sides.
Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.
While the crust is baking, toast the almonds. Place the almonds on a small baking dish and bake for about 8 minutes.
Beat the egg whites with a whisk, until foamy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar and almond extract.
spread the apricot jam over the crust. Spoon the egg white mixture over the jam without covering the jam completely. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Run a metal spatula along the short sides of the pan to loosen the pastry. Cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Using the foil, lift the pastry from the pan and cut into 24 bars.
Vaer sa god as the Norwegians would say! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend as you see Spring unfolding before your eyes. I'm off to the IF Gathering at Life Point church in Lake Stevens...looking forward to it! Maybe I'll tell you all about it next week! Warmly, Gracia