Baking my way through Baking Illustrated

apricot squares

Apricot Squares, adapted from Baking Illustrated


  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed (2 1/3 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or almonds, or a combination
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 12 pieces
  • 1 cup apricot jam


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. This next part is important. (If you don’t follow the instructions, the jam will ooze out and harden along the edges of the pan, and you’ll never be able to get your bars out without breaking them). Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fold two 16-inch pieces of foil or parchment paper lengthwise to measure 9 inches wide. Fit 1 sheet in the pan, pushing it into the corners and up the sides. Leave some overhang. Fit the second sheet in the pan, perpendicular to the first. Spray the sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flour, oats, sugars, baking soda, salt, and nuts at low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. With the mixer running at low speed, add the butter pieces; continue to beat until the mixture is well blended and resembles wet sand, about 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer two thirds of the oat mixture to the prepared pan and use your hands to press the crumbs evenly into the bottom. Bake until the crust starts to brown, about 20 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, spread the jam evenly over the hot bottom crust; sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over the jam. Bake until the preserves bubble around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the squares from the pan using the foil or parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1 1/2 inch squares.


This recipe was adapted from Baking Illustrated. The original recipe called for raspberry jam and is also delicious. I’ve made it in a 9×13″ pan (it ends up being super skinny, so reduce the baking time for the bottom crust by 5 minutes or just watch until it begins to brown) but I prefer the thickness of the 9×9. You can also a 10″ round pie tin.

This entry was posted in baking, Baking Illustrated.

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