For Mother’s Day: Grandma’s Apricot Bars

Though I didn’t spend much time in the kitchen with either of my grandmothers, I enjoy remembering them by making the recipes that they left behind. For Mother’s Day this year, I wanted something sweet and brightly flavored, so I pulled out Apricot Bars from Grandma Bertie. Her typewritten recipe isn’t attributed to anyone, nor does it list a cookbook as its source, so perhaps she developed it herself. Its shortbread base reminds me of lemon bars but its apricot topping adds an unexpected flavor. The fruit is sandwiched between a crunchy, buttery bottom and a golden, egg-and-sugar laced top. This one is a keeper. Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Grandma Bertie’s Apricot Bars (circa 1960)

Makes 16 squares

For the base:

1 cup flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

For the filling:

1 cup cooked apricots

1/3 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. To make the base: Sift the flour and sugar together. Cut in the butter. Pat down quickly into an 8 or 9 inch square pan (ungreased). Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.
  2. To make the filling: Wash the apricots well, cut into slivers with scissors, and cook 5 minutes with 3-4 tablespoons water. [Alternately, use dried apricots. Cut into slivers, place in a pot, and add water to cover. Simmer 5-10 minutes until soft.] With either method, set aside to cool before continuing the recipe.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Add the sugar gradually and beat until thick. Add the vanilla and apricots.
  5. Add the sifted dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, cutting through quickly so that the apricots will be well distributed throughout the batter.
  6. Pour onto the cooled base and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until golden brown and set in the center.
  7. When cool, cut into squares. Dust with icing [confectioner’s] sugar, optional.

About heritagerecipebox

I am named after my great-grandmother, who only prepared two dishes, according to anyone who remembers. Somehow I ended up with a cooking gene that I brought with me from Richmond, Virginia to my current home in Boston, Massachusetts. I have worked as a journalist and published three cookbooks plus a memoir and a novel. This blog gives me a chance to share family recipes and other American recipes with a past.
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6 Responses to For Mother’s Day: Grandma’s Apricot Bars

  1. Irene says:

    I love apricots, I will try this recipe for the next bake sale at my church, thank you for sharing your recipe!


  2. Thanks! I hope you like it. It should work with dried apricots (which I used) or fresh ones depending on the season.


  3. Sheryl says:

    This recipe sounds wonderful. Apricots are in season, and this recipe would be fun to try.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. greg says:

    I’m so late in catching up with blogger comments, but I loved this posting…they look delicious! I’m glad I finally got back to your posting, because it reminded me that I’m definitely going to make this! Thanks for sharing them Clara!


  5. Dee Turner says:

    I found this exact recipe in a newspaper’s regular recipe column in 1960. I had learned baking techniques from my gramma beginning at age 3, began baking by myself at 8, and by 10–in 1960, I had collected so many, i had two 14-inch long boxes for them. It’s still one of my Christmas baking favorites. It’s a shame we don’t have newspapers with regular recipe columns anymore.


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