I was intending to make the Sweet and Salty Chocolate cake this weekend along side the Jasmine cupcakes. Bought all of the ingredients and started off making the salted caramel first, as the recipe states. Everything was going fine, the sugar was boiling away into a syrup and the cream was heating up nicely. Just as the timer was coming up to the allotted 10 minutes the sugar mixture looked a little too dark in colour to me. I wasn't sure if it has burnt a little or if that was right so added the hot cream to it to see how it turned out. Had a little taste and it was disgusting! Obviously I had burnt it, was on the hob for 30 seconds too long and so that went straight in the bin. Didn't have enough cream left over to make up a second batch and to be honest I was really 100% invested in making this cake now so decided to put it on hold and make something else. This is where the Apricot Crunchies come in.
Has most of the items needed to make these bars. Just had to pop out and grab some orange juice, apricots, sultanas and wholemeal flour. The first step is to soak the fruit in the juice whilst you mix the chilled butter with the flour and oats. This is done with your hands, rubbing it together until it becomes crumb like. It took me ages as the butter was harder than what I usually use in the batters and in the end it become more of a dough than crumb like. Did a few double takes of the cook book to make sure I hadn't misread the butter quantity. That done you add in the two types of sugar, the soft dark and light brown and stir that in well. This again took me a while due to the consistency of the mixture. Hubby was watching me the whole time, reassuring me that once the fruit had been added it will be fine he was sure.
So as you have guessed it the next stage was to mix in the fruit, after the juice had been drained from it first. That wasn't so difficult to stir in as it just needed to be incorporated enough that it was spread evenly throughout. Tipped it into the greaseproof paper lined tray and used my hands to make sure it was spread out well and level.
Into the oven for 30 minutes until it was a golden brown colour. It still felt a little springy when touched. Left it on the side for a few hours to cool whilst I sorted out the little Missy with her dinner and bath, then took it out of the tray and off the greaseproof paper so Hubby could have a slice to tide him over whilst we waited for out pizza delivery. It was crunchy on top but then chew underneath and the fruit added another softness to it as well as the main flavours. Without the fruit the dough is a little plain and savoury. Not my favourite bars to make, I think the Coconut Jam Sandwich ones are still top of our list.