Apricot, Cashew, and Coconut Bars
Recipe created by Heidi Johansen
Servings: Makes 24 bars
  • 2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 cups lightly salted and roasted cashews
  • 1/4 cup and 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar and 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 24 Tbsp. (3 sticks) unsalted butter , chilled, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 12 ripe apricots , each sliced into 8 pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/4 lemon)
  • 1 tsp. corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
To make crust: Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 13" x 9" baking pan that is at least 3" deep; line with parchment and grease again; set aside.

On a sheet tray with sides, toast 1 1/2 cups coconut in oven, stirring every 4 minutes, until golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside and cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put cashews in the bowl of a 10- or 12-cup food processor and pulse until finely ground.

Stir together sugars, flour, lemon peel, and salt in a bowl; add to the ground cashews in the food processor. Pulse 5 to 6 times to combine all dry ingredients, then add chilled butter and vanilla and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer dough to a bowl and knead in toasted coconut and oats.

Reserve 1 1/4 cups dough. Press remaining dough evenly into prepared pan. Bake until set and golden, 20 to 24 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely, about 40 minutes.

To make filling: Combine apricots, sugar, and lemon juice in a large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Spread apricots evenly over cooled crust. Crumble reserved dough over apricots and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup untoasted coconut. Bake until golden and set, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan after 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.

To make caramel drizzle: Combine sugar, 3 tablespoons water, lemon juice, and corn syrup in a small saucepan; stir until combined. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. When parts of mixture begin to turn the color of a copper penny, quickly and gently swirl pan until the whole mixture is a copper color. Remove from heat and whisk in cream, butter, and salt. Set aside to cool and thicken.

Drizzle caramel over cooled bars. Slice and serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 3 days.