Sep 2009

Rosemary Apricot Bars


For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with a suitable gift for my brother and his girlfriend to thank them for allowing The Astronomer and me to crash at their Lower East Side apartment. Cookbooks and restaurant certificates are usually my go-to gifts, but my brother’s the kind of guy who has everything, so this situation called for something more unique.

I decided to whip up a batch of Rosemary Apricot Squares because home baked goods have an awesome way of speaking louder than words. Plus, the clever combination of rosemary and apricot sounded intriguingly different and outrageously good. The recipe is from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito of Baked, an innovative bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I previously made their Root Beer Bundt Cake and Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bars. This one is my favorite of the three.

  • 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons minced rosemary
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature plus 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups dried California apricots
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper, allowing the parchment to hang over the edge.


In a small bowl, whisk 1 3/4 cups of the flour with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the rosemary. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the 1 1/2 sticks of butter with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla at medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan; with lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.


Bake the crust for 30 minutes, until light golden. Transfer to rack and let cool, about 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the apricots, water, granulated sugar, honey, brandy and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderate heat until the apricots are very tender and the liquid has thickened, about 45 minutes.


Scraped into a food processor and puree until smooth.


In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of flour with the chilled butter, dark brown sugar, pecans and a pinch of salt. Beat at medium speed until the mixture resembles sand, about 1 minute.


Evenly spread the apricot mixture over the crust. Sprinkle the pecan topping over the filling; bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top. Transfer to a rack and let cool. Using the parchment overhang, transfer to surface. Slice and serve.

Makes 16 bars.


Recipe from Food & Wine Best of the Best Cookbook 2009.

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24 thoughts on “Rosemary Apricot Bars

  1. You can sleep on our sofa…if you’re baking. It’s not New York, but it’s…well, it’s Kentucky. Not so urban. But pretty! And lots of horses!

  2. Did I read that you have a new camera? The depth of field looks magnificent… and since I have an out of control rosemary bush that really needs trimming I’m always looking out for good recipes.

  3. Hey, Gastronomer, you’re going to put Smitten Kitchen, et all to shame with these hot shots! Those bars look absurdly delicious for something that does not contain chocolate.

  4. These bars look great. I love making bars and this will be on my to do list. Thanks for sharing this great recipe. By the way, beautiful pictures.

  5. wow…i’ve got this bookmarked and will be def. giving this a shot sometime real soon once i get some free time. what brand of brandy do you use?

  6. You gave me a great idea for when I give my daughter in law a recipe. She has always commented on how pictures help along when making a new recipe.

  7. Your recipe for Rosemary Apricot Bars sounds heavenly. Would like to include in my Christmas cookie baking this year. Can they be frozen?

  8. I had already made these twice (from the cookbook) and had been asked for the recipe several times, so thanks for posting it.

    It takes longer than any other cookie recipe I know, but it’s worth it!

  9. Oh, and do try to find California dried apricots rather than the Turkish ones. They have a brighter flavor.

  10. Hey!

    This bars do sound intriguing- quite delicious and unique. I was wondering though, since I’m under 21 and I bake for college students at my school in the cafe what I can use instead of brandy. What exactly is the brandy for- texture/flavor/color wise? Do you have a suggestion?

    Thanks C:

  11. Pingback: Apricot Spice Bars « Cookbook Archaeology
  12. I’ve had these. They are the most amazing bar cookie I have come across in a long, long time!

  13. I just made these and they are FANTASTIC!! I used the same proportions of rosemary, except it was dry, so the flavor was maybe a bit strong. However, I love rosemary, so it was no problem to me at all. 🙂


  14. Wow! These were worth the work. Thanks for sharing! Awesome that you post photos of the steps, helps to see what you’re supposed to be working with along the way.

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