I hope you weren't looking for macarons. You know, the adorable, bite-size, come-in-all-colors-and-flavors, French cookies that seem to be all the rage right now. Because I have yet to tackle them. It's not that I don't want to. It's just that I haven't.
What I've got here are some good ol' American macaroons, in bar form. What they lack in precious pastel color and petite size, they make up for in flavor. Yum, yum, yum. This combination of flavors worked out beautifully, though I'd be wiling to say you could use just about any combination of dried fruits and liquors you'd like.
Macaroon Bars with Apricots and Cherries
adapted from The Cookie Book
For the crust:
non-stick baking spray
3/4 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. vanilla sugar (regular will work here too)
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 c. unsweetened flaked coconut
For the filling:
2 c. dried apricots, chopped
1 c. dried cherries, chopped
1 c. water
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 TBSP bourbon (optional)
3/4 c. sweetened shredded coconut
1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Line a 13 x 9 pan with foil, leaving excess overhang as handles, and spray with non-stick baking spray.
2. For the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high for 30 seconds. Add the sugars and beat on medium-high for two minutes, until mixture become light and fluffy. Turn the mixer down to medium-low and beat in the eggs and almond extract.
3. Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour and salt in two additions, stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between. Add in the coconut.
4. Spread the batter into the prepared pan (it will be slightly sticky) and bake for 25 minutes.
5. For the filling: While the crust is baking, combine the apricots, cherries, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, the reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for approximately eight minutes, or until the apricots are tender. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring until dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and bourbon.
6. Spread the fruit mixture over the hot crust and bake ten minutes more, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Turn the oven to broil. Sprinkle sweetened coconut over the top of the bars and return to the oven. Watch very carefully and remove the bars as soon as the coconut is lightly toasted.