Chele at Chocolate Teapot. If you would like to join in the challenge of using a specified ingredient in a chocolate product, then the rules can be found on Chocolate Log Blog.
After a rather disastrous attempt at combining apricots and chocolate into a cake, earlier in the month, I had a rethink about the kind of thing I wanted to bake and I decided to make a bar cookie. None of my recipe books, nor an online search, gave me a satisfactory result, and it didn't seem easy to incorporate dark chocolate either. In the end I amalgamated two recipes from 'The Ultimate Cookie Book' by Catherine Atkinson (currently out of print) - one for a shortbread base and one for an apricot filling - and added chocolate chips to the shortbread and an Amaretti crumb topping to the apricots, instead of the nuts used originally. I think that gives me a new recipe, so I'll write it all out here:
150g plain flour
90g unsalted butter
50g icing sugar
50g plain chocolate (85% cocoa solids) finely chopped
175g dried apricots
grated rind of 1 lemon
75g caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
75g crisp Amaretti biscuits, crushed to fine crumbs
Line the base of an 8" square shallow cake tin with baking parchment. If the tin is not non-stick, grease the sides with a little butter.
Preheat the oven to 180C
For the shortbread - either process the cold butter, flour and icing sugar until the mixture begins to come together as a dough, or rub the butter into the flour and sugar mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs and can be squeezed into a dough. Add the chopped chocolate at the end of whichever process you choose and mix in. Tip the mixture into the baking tin, spread evenly and press down firmly with the back of a spoon. Bake for 15 minutes until firm and just beginning to change colour. Remove from the oven, but leave the oven on for the next stage. Allow the shortbread to cool for a few minutes before adding the topping.
Apricot filling - while the shortbread is cooking, put the apricots and water in a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain, reserving any excess liquid. Chop the apricots in a food processor - they need to be quite finely chopped, but not a purée. Return the apricots to the pan and add the lemon rind, sugar, cornflour and 4 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid. Cook for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly.
To assemble the bars - spread the apricot mixture over the shortbread and sprinkle evenly with the Amaretti crumbs, pressing them lightly into the apricot mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes, making sure the crumb topping doesn't get to darkly browned. Cool in the tin before cutting into bars. I cut into 18 bars, but they were very small!