Day 6 of The 12 Days of Cookies brings a recipe featured in the September 1966 issue of Gourmet magazine. In 1966, I was in the 4th grade at John F. Farragut School in Rota, Spain where my father was stationed. It was our second year there of a four year assignment and the first that we lived on base. Days were full of playtime outside after school until we were called in for dinner, and weather very much like what we enjoy here in San Diego. I’d have another year with my best childhood friend who lived three houses up the street, and two to enjoy some of the most pleasantly memorable years of my life.
Apricots have always been something special to me, and although I prefer them ripe from the tree, I grew up loving them right from the can. This recipe calls for dried apricots simmered in a simple syrup spiked with a bit of liqueur. Regardless of the form they take, apricots will always be something I enjoy — especially baked between layers of a brown sugar crumble. Nothing compares to their perfectly sweet tartness.
Apricot Cookie Tarts
Here’s the recipe as printed at Gourmet.
ADAPTED FROM MRS. HYMAN CHERENSON, DORCHESTER, MASSACHUSETTS
We have a particular fondness for cookies that are actually other things in disguise. These chews are little apricot tarts with a lot less fuss and fanfare. The recipe employs dried fruit, so you don’t have to wait until apricots are in season to enjoy their tart sweetness. Use a food processor to puree the apricots, and be sure to line the pan with parchment or wax paper.
This is just one of Gourmet‘s Favorite Cookies: 1941-2008. Although we’ve retested the recipes, in the interest of authenticity we’ve left them unchanged: The instructions below are still exactly as
they were originally printed.
Melt 3/4 cup butter, add 1 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups
each of flour and oatmeal, and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Mix the
ingredients thoroughly and press half the mixture into a greased baking
pan about 9 inches square. In a saucepan, simmer 3/4 pound dried
apricots with 1 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar for 30 minutes, or until
the apricots are soft. Add 1 tablespoon apricot liqueur after the
mixture has been cooking for 20 minutes. Spoon the apricots over the
crumb mixture in the baking pan, sprinkle them with 1/4 cup grated
coconut, if desired, and cover them with the rest of the crumbs. Bake
the mixture in a moderate oven (350° F.) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until
it is golden. Cut the mixture into squares while it is still warm and
turn out the chews from the pan when they are cold and set.
My Usual Notes:
- I made half this recipe and decided to use a standard 12-cup muffin pan to bake separate little “cookies.”
- I liked not having to cut these into bars like I would have had to do if I’d used a pan as recommended. I’m thinking the squares may not have been as perfect as I want them to be. It’s a Martha problem. You understand, right?
- I didn’t have apricot liqueur but did have Luscious Peachtree Schnaaps, so used that instead.
- Lightly spray the muffin cups before loading them.
- The dried apricots never quite softened enough to spread, so I used my kitchen scissors to snip through the mixture making very small pieces in the syrup. It was easy to spoon over the pressed crumb mixture in the muffin cups.
- I baked them in a convection oven for 20 minutes, but I think they’d be great at 18 minutes, but they’d need to cool a bit longer to set.
- About 1 minute out of the oven, carefully insert a small offset spatula around the edge of each cookie to make sure it’s not attached to the pan, and then let cool about 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
- Sprinkle over a bit of powdered sugar if you want.
- They are great warm, and are definitely chewy, with a nice crunch from the oatmeal, and a pleasant sweet tartness from the apricots.
- I can only imagine what these cute little things would taste like with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Oh my!
Don’t forget to visit the rest of our cookie crew testing Gourmet’s favorite cookies: Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes, Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench, Courtney of Coco Cooks, Judy of No Fear Entertaining, and Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants. I know they’ve got something delicious just waiting for you!