Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Apricot Kumquat Crumb Bars

These are gratifying, tasty addictive little things that are very easy to share (though not as easy to consume your self). Totally OT but I am so clueless as to why I have writer's block when it comes to food... I have no shortage of things to say about food, and no shortage of things to type about.. But when it comes to writing about food... it just.. Sigh. Anyway. START OVER!

These are tasty little treats you could pretend ... Oh wait, I just solved the problem... I just need to have the tasty, tasty little thing on hand to be thoughtfully chewing on as I write about them!

Take three! These whole grainy bars are a pleasing combination of crunchy, chewy, fruity, earthy, juicy tender morsels that ... that... *takes another one*, *chomp.* The apricot-kumquat filling is sandwiched by a pleasingly textured crust that holds the filling together, bursting out with each bite and mixing with the crust. Really they are a full bodied dessert suitable after lunch, or dinner, yet substantiated with enough fruit that you can pretend they are good for you and justify them as a breakfast treat on the way to work... Just make sure to slather them with a white sugar frosting, before hand.

*reaches for another bite... and finds out she already had the last morsel*

WARNING. As I just found out, running out of this quirky-combo bar can result in a full bodied pout, with an extremely jutted out lip.

These, like many desserts, were based only loosely on a recipe.. It was neither vegan, nor based on apricots and kumquats (rather, it was based on raspberries)... However, I happened to have apricots and kumquats on hand, which seemed like when combined they could echo the tart, tangy, characteristics one gets in raspberry... The apricots giving their body, the kumquats bringing out the tart flavor as well as contributing something funky on their own. As far as labor goes, not so bad. Could be less with having to prepare the apricots, but ripe apricots should fall right off their pits.

Needless to say, enjoy. But really, I wasn't kidding about last-bite sadness.

Apricot Kumquat Crumb Bars

For the Crust and Crumb
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C firmly packed dark brown sugar (I used muscovado)
  • 1 1/4 C rolled oats
  • 3/4 t salt*
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 3/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 c shortening, chilled and cubed
  • 1/4 c butter sub, chilled, cubed

*closer to 1 t if using a nice mild fleur de sel or pink himalayan

For the Apricot Kumquat filling
  • 1/2 c dark brown sugar (re: muscovado)
  • 2 T grated orange or lemon zest
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 4 T All-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds pitted and quartered apricots
  • 1 small handful of kumquats, chopped and seeded *
  • 1/2 C lemon juice
  • 3 T coconut butter, softened and liquidy
  • 1 T water
  • 1/4 c almond extract
  • 2 T amaretto

*I used what I had! If you like it sharper, use more, if you have sweet lovely apricots with flavor that can stand up on its own, use less.

Directions: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch glass baking pan OR line it with parchment paper, which creeps all the way up the sides (this will make removing the bars incredibly easy, when they are cooled).

Put the crumb's dry ingredients into the food processor and pulse a few times, until just mixed. Add the fats, and pulse until loose crumbs form.

Put aside half a cup of the crumb mixture. Pour the rest of the mix into the prepared pan and flatten it into an even layer. The crust should touch the sides of the pan but should not edge up above. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool. Leave the oven on and prepare the apricot filling.


In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, lemon zest, flour, and cinnamon together. Add the apricots, kumquats, liquids, and fat (re: coconut oil). Gently mix with your hands until everything is evenly coated.

Spread the mix over the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserves atop.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan at 20 minutes. Bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Cut up into squares (or triangles, or diamonds) and serve. This can also be frozen, or kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days.

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