Finished chocolate apricot bars just out of the oven. (Photo by Patty Schied)

Finished chocolate apricot bars just out of the oven. (Photo by Patty Schied)

Cooking for Pleasure: Decadent chocolate apricot bars

I love apricots. I prefer fresh to dried, but I am happy to eat them either way. I purchase the large bag of dried ones from Costco, but after a while I really want to do something with them besides just eat them out of the bag.

This recipe is easy and delicious. The nuts and fruit are good for your health, and everyone knows that chocolate makes you feel great. So you could probably call these health food bars if it weren’t for the rum. You can substitute fresh-squeezed orange juice for the rum if you feel you must, but it adds a little something special to these bars. They also freeze very well and are great for taking on long hikes.

The key ingredient for chocolate apricot bars ready for preparation. (Photo by Patty Schied)

The key ingredient for chocolate apricot bars ready for preparation. (Photo by Patty Schied)

Step one (The night before): Using a food processor or very sharp knife, coarsely chop 1½ cups of dried apricots. Place in glass or porcelain bowl and soak them overnight in ½ cup light rum.

Step Two (the next day): Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together in a large bowl:

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup white sugar

½ pound unsalted butter (2 cubes) softened

Grated zest of one orange

Step Three: Add and mix thoroughly:

2 eggs

Then add and mix:

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

Step Four: Stir in:

Apricots and soaking liquid

1 12 oz package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1½ cups chopped walnuts or pecans

Step Five: Spread dough in greased 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the center of the pan comes out with crumbs but not wet.

Cool on rack before cutting.

• Patty Schied is a longtime Juneau resident who studied at the Cordon Bleu in London, has cooked meals for both AWARE and the Glory Hall, and has written a cookbook. Cooking For Pleasure appears every other week in Capital City Weekly.

Chocolate apricot bars ready for serving. (Photo by Patty Schied)

Chocolate apricot bars ready for serving. (Photo by Patty Schied)

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