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Hey, here’s a fun fact about me…I actually need to run 3 miles a day to stave off the effects of excessive baked goods consumption! Totally worth it in my opinion. These bars were really good, this recipe was adapted from one of my favorite baking cookbooks, Good Housekeeping Great Baking. The basic idea is a simple shortbread base pre-baked and covered with a cooked dried apricot mixture and then top it all with a streusel topping, easy right?

Apricot Cookie Bars

for the filling:

1-1/4 cup dried apricots

1 cup water

3 Tbsp. sugar

for the crust:

1/2 cup vegan margarine

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup barley flour (or another 1/3 cup all purpose)

for the streusel:

1/3 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 Tbsp. all purpose flour

3 Tbsp. vegan margarine

First get your filling going, in a medium saucepan combine all filling ingredients and stir to dissolve sugar. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to simmer and cover, simmer for about 25 minutes or until very soft and there is just a little liquid left, check periodically to make sure there is still liquid in the pan, you may need to add a Tbsp. or 2 if it gets too dry while cooking. When done, mash the apricots with a fork or masher so they are still fairly chunky but no whole pieces left, then set aside.

For the crust beat the margarine and and powdered sugar until fluffy, add vanilla then add flours. This mixture will be very crumbly and dry looking but should form a nice dough when pinched. Add a Tbsp. of water if it is not sticking together. Line an 8×8 pan with foil going all the way up the sides and spray with a little cooking spray. Press the dough in the pan, if the dough is really sticky try putting a layer of plastic wrap over the dough and pressing flat with the bottom of a measuring cup or some such item, then remove the plastic wrap. Bake the crust in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes and set aside leaving it in the pan.

Make the streusel topping by combining all streusel ingredients in a small bowl and break the margarine up in little pea sized pieces with your fingers or a fork.

When the crust and filling are both done, cover crust with filling and top that with the streusel topping. Bake for 25 minutes more. When done allow to cool completely on a rack still in the pan, then carefully remove by pulling out the foil, then cut into bars.