Imagine two crunchy, buttery oatmeal cookies sandwiching a sweet-tangy filling of dried apricot preserves. Baked in a 9x13-inch pan and cut into bars, these are great keepers and sturdy enough to be stalwart travelers.
2 cups chopped dried apricots, (10 oz.) Mediterranean preferred
1 cup sugar
1¼ cups water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup golden brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. baking soda
½ lb. (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°. Line 9 x 13” baking dish with foil leaving extra extending over ends for handles. Spray bottom and sides with non stick coating.
In a medium saucepan, bring apricots, sugar and water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil slowly, stirring often, until apricots have softened enough to coarsely mash and still have a little liquid remaining, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, mix flour, oats, brown sugar and baking soda. Stir in melted butter and vanilla. Mixture will be crumbly. Press about 4 cups into the bottom of prepared baking dish. Spoon apricot mixture over and spread to cover. Crumble remaining oat mixture over the top and press into apricots.
Bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely and then remove from pan with foil handles. Peel foil away from edges and bottom and remove. Place cookie slab on a cutting board and trim off hard edges. Cut cookies into bars.
MAKE AHEAD: Cookies will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container at room temperature or freeze for 3 months. These are the best keepers ever.
Makes about 36.