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White Chocolate & Apricot Oatmeal Cookie Bars

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White Chocolate & Apricot Oatmeal Cookie Bars
Raisins and dried cranberries are two of the most commonly used dried fruits in baked goods, but they’re not the only dried fruit that you might find in your pantry. Instead of reaching for the raisins the next time you are in the mood to bake a batch of oatmeal cookies, consider reaching for dried blueberries, pineapple or apricots instead to bring some new flavors into your cookies and give the raisins a break. These White Chocolate & Apricot Oatmeal Cookie Bars are an absolutely delicious variation on the classic oatmeal cookie, baked in bar form. Instead of using chocolate chips or raisins, they are loaded with white chocolate chips and sweet pieces of dried apricot.

The bars are thick and satisfying, with crisp edges and a chewiness that comes both from the oatmeal and from the dried apricots. The bars have a wonderfully nutty oatmeal flavor to them and don’t seem too sweet, so the pockets of sweetness that come from the white chocolate and apricots really work well here. Even if you’re not usually a white chocolate fan, these bars will win just about anyone over from the dark (chocolate) side. I recommend cutting them into medium-sized pieces because they are so hearty, but you can cut them into large bars and enjoy them as a satisfying breakfast snack, rather than as an afternoon treat.

The bars will keep well for several days after baking if they are stored in an airtight container. They can also be frozen, if you want to store them for a longer period of time. I love the combination of white chocolate and apricots, but you can use other types of dried fruits in this recipe to mix things up. Sweet tart dried cranberries and cherries both pair well with white chocolate, and dried blueberries are a good match for them, as well. If you feel like something a little more indulgent, you can heat a slice in the microwave for a few seconds and top your bar with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to make a mini sundae.

White Chocolate & Apricot Oatmeal Cookie Bars

White Chocolate & Apricot Oatmeal Cookie Bars
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups quick cooking oatmeal
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
2/3 cup diced dried apricots

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, beat together melted butter and sugars until well-combined. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture until everything is just combined, then fold in oatmeal, white chocolate chips and diced apricots. Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Dough with be thick.
Scrape dough into the prepared pan and use a spatula to press it into an even layer all the way to the sides of the pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until bars are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. .
Allow bars to cool in the pan completely before slicing.

Makes 12-16 bars.

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