Gourmandistan

Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Carbon Copy

We could say we shared ideas with Alice Medrich at one of her famed Bay Area Cocolat stores back in the Seventies or Eighties. We would be lying. We could say we “tweaked” this recipe for Apricot Lemon Bars from Medrich’s latest cookbook, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies. We could tell you how our tweak made it so much better. Again, this would be an untruth. We did substitute walnuts for hazelnuts—only because, while Steve usually has enough nuts around to make several squirrels jealous, hazelnuts were not in our freezer. Other than that, we followed the recipe as written.

The truth is this recipe is quite good. We think it adds a new dimension to lemon squares, even though we’re usually quite fond of the traditional puckery-sweet bars. By adding a bit of apricot jam, however, Medrich softens the sour and creates a creamy bite with the color of butterscotch, making lemon bars even more beautiful to any Gourmandistani’s sweet tooth. Many of Medrich’s earlier books appear to be out of print, but are still available from various sellers on Amazon and elsewhere. We encourage you to check out her latest and see what sweet treasures you may uncover.

APRICOT LEMON BARS

(“adapted,” in the loosest possible meaning of the word, from Alice Medrich’s Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies)

Crust:
  • 3/4 c. + 2 TB flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c. toasted nuts (we used walnuts, though the original recipe called for hazelnuts)
  • 1 stick (8 TB) butter, melted
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
Topping:
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 TB flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. apricot jam (if it contains large pieces, break up in a mini processor)
  • 1/3 c. lemon juice, strained
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Position an oven rack in the lower part of the oven.  Preheat to 350°.  Line an 8 x 8″ pan with foil.

Make crust as follows:  Place flour, sugar, salt and nuts in a food processor.  Pulse until nuts are finely ground, then add melted butter and vanilla.  Continue pulsing until mixture begins to form clumps. Remove dough and press evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan.

Bake crust for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from oven and reduce heat to 300°.

While crust is baking, mix sugar and flour together in a large bowl.  Then, stir in eggs.  Add jam, then lemon juice.

Pour filling over crust.  Return to oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes longer, until filling is set.

Cool completely in pan on a cooling rack.  Then, lift out using the foil liner.  Cut into squares.  Sift powdered sugar over.

 
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30 comments

  1. I may have been looking for this recipe my whole life – don’t know until I’ve tried it, but something that improves on both apricot and lemon bars, both of which always leave me with a kind of “Is that all there is?” residue. The precision and skill of the cookie baking in Gourmandistan is awe-inspiring.

    • Oh, thanks so much, Rona! I’ve always loved baking, though I don’t do much of it anymore (probably looks here as if I do it much more often than what the reality is, but such is the nature of blogging). I actually love even the most boring of lemon squares. But these were a particularly nice variation.

  2. So very pretty! I just love lemons. They are so vibrant, so fragrant, so beautiful to look at. I wish we got large lemons like the ones in your picture in Mumbai. We get the tiny ones and when I go shopping I have to dig throgh the whole basket to find medium-sized ones to take home.

    • Thanks lots, but wait a minute. You’re ruining our visions of south Asia (where we’ve never visited, but would love to do so). We’d have thought you had huge lemons growing on beautiful trees everywhere. Not so?

      • Well, not in India…we get these small lemons called nimbu…the only large version of a lemon I have come across is the long green Assamese nimbu. I think I ought to find out more about Indian lemons!

  3. Pingback: Perfect Picnic Foods for National Picnic Day! | Yummly

  4. These apricot lemon bars look fantastic!!! They must be so soft and with a buttery base, unbeatable!
    Can’t wait to see more from your blog and thanks for subscribing to mine :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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