Apricot Gold Bar Cookies and a Lady Cardinal

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No, I am not an alchemist who can change dross into gold bars suitable for depositing into Fort Knox. (If only!) I’m just a baker presenting these delicious Apricot Gold Bars, suitable for munching on. Anyway, some would say a really good cookie recipe is worth it’s weight in gold, and these are really, really good. A tender, melt-in-the mouth bar cookie veined with golden apricot jam, crunchy with walnuts, and tasting of butter–almost with a shortbread flavor–these merit an A++. I will definitely be thinking of these come Christmas. Dusted with powdered sugar, and presented in little paper cups, they would be suitable for the richest holiday table. Here is the recipe. By the way, the golden pears in the above photo are from my friend Susan, from the pear tree in her backyard. Thank you, Susan!

Apricot Gold Bars

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-3/4 cups flour
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped walnuts (see Baking Note)
1/2 cup apricot jam

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9″ square pan, and line with parchment paper. Grease again.

Thoroughly beat together the sugar and softened butter. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until totally incorporated. Add the flour and pinch of salt (mix together beforehand), and mix thoroughly. (This is most quickly accomplished by using your impeccably clean hands.) Then stir in the nuts. The dough will be a bit stiff. Pat half of the dough into the bottom of the pan. Stir the apricot jam until smooth, and spread it across the dough. Drop blobs of the dough over the top, covering as best you can–the dough will spread and cover the bare spots. Bake for 50 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.

Baking notes: The dough will seem stiff, but it bakes up tender and crunchy. I only used 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, since they are becoming almost as expensive as gold themselves. This worked fine. Be sure your butter is well softened. I do this in the microwave, microwaving them on a very low power for a minute.

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The birds have been flocking to the feeder, getting ready for the winter. I love this female cardinal, whose sweetness of expression is so endearing. Again, I wonder–what is she thinking?

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It was very windy when I took this picture, and the wind is ruffling her feathers!

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Glamour shot!

Just wanted to share a picture of these “flowers” with you. My sister-in-law Leah brought them over for Jim’s birthday. I thought they were real roses, just for a moment, before realizing that they are an ornamental kale! I will definitely be seeking out more of these next fall!

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This little fellow is getting ready for winter, too. Peace to you. Fran

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