Sunday, June 19, 2011


 Its Fathers Day today and somebody asked me the question , what is the best thing ur Dad taught u , without battling an eyelid or thinking , i replied "" Love , to love . And he taught me that by loving me immensely , unconditionally , always .....till i was brimming ...and im till date..."".
Love sure makes the world go round and fills me with a positive energy like nothing else can , its lends a bounce to my step and makes me give my best ...always...

When i think of him today , my heart swells and my eyes fill ...i love when someone see's a lot of him in me .....
I havent seen him in a long time , a very v longgg time and it feels like a longer time.....but i have the hope of seeing him someday soon, in heaven, when we meet again.
I wonder how he would be today , i would have so loved to bake and cook and go for long drives with him today , with me behind the wheel...
Miss u dad, lods n love ya forever...with all my being...
Not jus today , but 365 days , coz dats the real meaning of love the thought behind these special days.

Moving on to these bars , these have nothing to do with dad , infact i never baked these for him , i dont know if u would have loved them ,for besides the fact that i baked them.
I wish i had .....
Never  miss to spread the love by wishing ur pals and family who are dads , a fantastic Fathers day * 365...
They are the most special people for the children for whom they make rocking dads!!

 I want to go thru building these bars step by step ,not to make it seem lengthy or difficult which they are surely not but coz each layer is pure joy to make as much as fast and easy to put together.

I used Lavender instead of Rosemary coz its not everyday that we find rosemary here and i LOVE lavender with VANILLA...
Add a little zest and u have all my fav flavours in one bar....

First lets begin with the apricot filling coz if you have it on the fire you can leave it there and it tends well for itself ,specially using the pressure cooker method while you can get going with the short dough base and crumb topping.

I used normal peachy orange apricots coz thats what we find here.
Add the sugar honey brandy water with a pinch of salt and blob of salted butter and pressure cook on low fire for a good 20 to 30 mins.
My addition to the filling was some lemon zest , I wanted to add a slight tang there and knew lemon zest was a good option.

And since I can never keep my hands off vanilla , I added vanilla sugar + a nice whole beans in there with the insides scrapped in too. 
 Once the pressure eases off you need to cook it a bit more till the liquid dries a bit and the apricots are squisy soft.
Dont dry off all the liquid let it thicken a bit, thats it.
Now keep some some apricots aside and using a stick blender right in the pot is a good idea coz its so wonderfully quicker than having to pull out your food processor.

Now while the apricots send you senses in A tizzy with all the aroma that wafts your way you can begin getting the short dough together .
No rosemary happenning here guys but we have something pretty interesting and ie gorgeously pretty lavender.

Using a stand mixer  All you need to do is beat the butter with the icing sugar , another vanilla bean scrapped in and some more zest till light and fluffy and slowly mix in the flour salt and lavender.
Thats it.

Press it into the prepared pan (i actually dont own a 9 inch square pan you know ) and refrigerate for atleast half an hour.i did over night coz I wanted all those buttery lavender flavours to deepen and develop well.

The crumb topping is exciting coz I love crumb toppings and this one has peacans while my favourite hazelnuts and macadamia seemed like very wonderful options and were so calling out to me I stuck to peacans and added another vanilla bean to the flour dark brown sugar and peacans and a pinch of salt.

The Dough blender cut the cold salted butter well into the flour and we soon had sandy crumbs.
Perfecto .

Since we have the short dough sitting overnight , the rest goes into overnight refrigeration too and you can begin baking first thing in the morning or after gym class is even better.
And then you can nibble on these and catch up with some hip hop , jazz or ballroom to burn off any extras if need be.
Now thats a note only for those counting calories not every one :-D

When you are ready to bake
As you bake the base the warm comforting  knowing aroma of shortbread fill the air and you are in love already.
Cooling the golden brown shortbread on the rack you really cant wait to get started on adding the apricot  jam and sprinkling with the crumble rather generously.
  As u bite into these , they have a lot to offer , in ways of deliciousness , the crunchy buttery lavendery  base holds the Apricot filling beautifully and deliciously.
And the crumble topping with jus the right amount of pecans melts in ur mouth...

The 3 layers together make an absolutely delightful combo which ur sure to fall in love with.

Bdw thats a big blog of Nutella atop to keep the jimmies and lavender in place :-)
a recipe from the Baked boys
For the Rosemary Short Dough
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tsp lavender flowers or buds
12 tablespoons salted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, at room temperature
½ cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 whole vanilla bean

For the Apricot Filling
2 cups dried California apricots 
½ cup vanilla sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brandy
lemon zest (optional)
1 whole bean scrapped
pinch salt

For the Crumb Topping
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
⅓ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 whole vanilla bean (optional)
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
Make the rosemary shortdough
Lightly spray a 9 inch square baking pan or a pie plate with nonstick cooking spray and line it with parchment paper, allowing the parchment to just overhang on two sides.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and lavender. 
 In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the confectioners' sugar and vanilla at medium speed until fluffy, approximately 2 minutes. 
 Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and stream in the flour mixture. 
 Scrape the dough into the prepared pan, lightly flour your clean hands, and press it into an even layer. Place the pan in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight as i did .

Preheat the oven to 350ºF when ur ready to bake.
Bake the short crust  until it is golden 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Cool the pan on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

Make the apricot filling
Place the apricots, sugar, honey, brandy, vanilla bean and salt in a medium saucepan with 1½ cups water and simmer over low heat in a pressure cooker ,for 30 to 40 minutes.
 After the pressure valve is off , simmer a bit longer till the liquid thickens and  the apricots are fork-tender    Stir well and using a hand blender , puree it right in the pot .
If u want some whole pieces of Apricots , place some aside , and add them later.

Make the crumb topping
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, pecans , caviar of a vanilla bean and salt. Mix on low speed for 15 seconds. Add the butter and mix until a sandy crumb begins to form, about 1 minute. (At this point, the crumb topping can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use.)
Or use a Dough blender cut the butter into the flour.

Assemble the rosemary apricot bars
Spread the apricot filling over the shortbread, then sprinkle the crumb topping over the filling.
 Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crumb has browned. 
Let the pastry cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan, then lift it out usingthe parchment paper overhang and cut it into bars or use a cookie cutter for really pretty shapes.
The bars can be stored in refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 days(i doubt they will last so long anyway).

The recipe might look longggg , but it comes together pretty quick and before u know it , u'll be drowned in all sorts of yummy aromas and soon will have some bars to indulge in.

Till i catch u again.....
Lods of XOXO,
Mia & Jenna Lyse....