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Apricot and Tart Cherry-Filled Shortbread Bars

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Active Time:  40 Minutes
Total Time:  4 Hours 25 Minutes
  Makes 24
Tender-crusted bar cookies with a sweet-tart filling make an easy dessert - to guild the lily, you could always serve ice cream, too. The cookies are crisper when you eat them the same day, and more tender after being refrigerated.
For Filling:
1 cup chopped dried apricots (about 5 ounces)
1/2 cup apricot nectar
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup dried tart cherries (about 4-1/2 ounces)

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
For Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Powdered sugar
TO MAKE FILLING: Combine apricots, apricot nectar, water and 6 tablespoons sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover tightly and simmer until apricots are just tender, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat; mix in cherries. Cover and let stand until filling is cool, at least 3 hours (cherries will soften). (Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Keep covered and refrigerate.)

Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Draw 13x9-inch rectangle on sheet of waxed paper. Spray rectangle with nonstick spray.

TO MAKE DOUGH: Combine flour, salt and remaining 3/4 cup sugar in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter and process, using on/off turns, until coarse meal forms. Add eggs and vanilla and process until dough comes together in moist clumps, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Gather dough into ball. Using floured fingertips, press slightly more than half of dough evenly over bottom of prepared pan.

Spread filling evenly over dough. Press remaining dough evenly over outlined rectangle. Using paper as aid, lift dough rectangle and turn over onto filling; peel off paper. Press dough top to adhere to filling.

Bake cookies until top is golden brown and crisp to touch, about 45 minutes. Transfer pan to cooling rack. Cool completely. Cut cookies lengthwise into 4 strips and crosswise into 6 strips, making 24 bars.

Sift powdered sugar over cookies. Transfer to platter and serve.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Cookies can be made 1 day ahead. Cover pan with foil and refrigerate. Sift powdered sugar over cookies just before serving.

Recipe created exclusively for by Selma Elaine Brown.

Recipe reprinted by permission of . All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Makes 24
Calories: 162
Fat. Total: 6g
Protein: 2g
Carbohydrates, Total: 25g
Sodium: 55mg
% Cal. from Fat: 33%
Cholesterol: 33mg
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