Apricots are one of those fruits, like plums, that I never like to eat just on their own. I’d much rather cook them down into a jammy compote and use them like that, these apricot hazelnut streusel bars being the perfect example!
The inspiration for these bars in particular came from the Honey & Co cookbook* where they bake up strawberry hazelnut ‘breakfast’ bars. I tweaked the recipe a bit by using wholemeal flour, oat flour, less butter & sugar for something a bit less dessert-y and more snack-y. Oh and obviously switched the strawberries for apricots – I just really don’t enjoy baked strawberries in pie/streusel-y things.. Go ahead and change up the fruit if you want though, or even just spread a layer of your favourite jam in the centre for something even easier (if you go the jam route, I’d halve the sugar in the crust otherwise things could get sickly sweet v fast).
This is my ideal tea time food but they’re also good for lunch boxes or, in my boyfriend’s case, for bribing the nurses at work.
For the apricot centre:
- 300 g (2 cups) stoned, quartered apricots (measured after stones removed)
- 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 100 ml (scant 1/2 cup) water
For the dough:
- 130 g (1 cup) hazelnuts
- 50 g (1/2 cup) rolled oats (quick cooking oats)
- 100 g (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) wholemeal (whole wheat) pastry flour or plain (all purpose) flour
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 130 g (9 1/2 tbsp) unsalted butter*, cubed
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 medium egg yolk
- Preheat the oven to 180oC (350oF) / 160oC (320oF) fan. Line a 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8-inch) square or 17 x 21 cm (7 x 9-inch) rectangular tin with a piece of baking paper.
Make the apricot centre
- Place the apricots into a small pot with the cornflour (cornstarch), sugar and water. Place over a medium low heat and stir together. Let the mixture come to a bubble then cover with a lid. Turn the heat down to low and leave to cook for 20 minutes to soften the apricots, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from the heat then set aside, lid off, to cool.
Make the dough:
- Place 100g (3/4 cup) of the hazelnuts into a food processor along with the oats. Blitz until quite a fine mealy texture is achieved. Add the flour, sugar, butter, salt and egg yolk. Pulse until the mixture starts to come together into a moist but crumbly dough.
- Tip 2/3 of the dough into the prepared pan. Press down so it covers the whole base of the tin to make the base layer. Top with the cooled, cooked apricots in an even layer. Crumble the rest of the dough over the top of the top.
- Roughly chop the remaining hazelnuts (30g / 1/4 cup) and scatter over the bars. Bake for 25-30 minutes until starting to brown on top. Leave to cool and then slice into 12 bars.
- To make these vegan: use vegan butter instead of unsalted butter. Use 1 tbsp vegan yoghurt in place of the egg yolk