Apricot Squares (DF, GF, Refined Sugar Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Raw options)

There’s something so peaceful about being out on an acreage. If I’d had a choice I would have chosen to spend time at my sister’s acreage during the harvest season to be able to help can and preserve the season’s bounty. However I lucked out and they still have a few things to use up in their freezer from last year.

The only thing better than canning and preserving this year’s bounty, is finding fun and delicious ways of using up last year’s fruits and vegetables before the new harvest starts.

That is where the pureed pumpkin comes in. We decided to dig through the freezer and pull out things that needed to be used up. We pulled up a big bag of pureed pumpkin. I thought we could make a soup or gnocchi. After it had time to thaw we discovered that the pureed pumpkin was indeed pureed apricots.

I wasn’t too confident in trying my hand at apricot soup or gnocchi so a new plan was required!

This is what I came up with and they are quite delightful.

If you’re new to whole foods, this recipe might not be sweet enough for you, but don’t dismay, getting it sweeter is easy. I don’t normally advocate adding more sugar, honey or other sweeteners to recipes, but if you’re transitioning to new foods it’s important to introduce new foods and flavors in a gentle fashion so that your taste buds can adjust slowly, making the transition more enjoyable and most likely more successful. Processed foods had a ton of sugar and salt added. As a result, a newbie to whole foods may need to add more sugar and salt than the recipe indicates, to make it more palatable.

This is an easy recipe to make sugar adjustments and a good one to try if you’re just starting to reduce your sugar intake. The trick to reducing sugar intake is to first start by only using whole food sweeteners, so unprocessed sugars like honey, maple syrup, etc. Second, adjust the sweetness to the least amount of sweetness you think you can tolerate and still enjoy the item you’re making. Eventually, you’ll reduce the sugar more and more, little bit by little bit. Your taste buds will eventually become more sensitive to sweetness and you’ll enjoy less sweetened desserts than those found in restaurants or grocery stores.

Hemp seeds might be too far of a leap if whole foods are new to you. I’ve included some info on making changes, substitutions and additions to make the transitions to whole foods easier.

Are you looking for a step-by-step guide to making delicious whole food meals?  The Whole Food Revelation & The Whole Food Jump Start, my two eCookbooks, are designed to exactly that. And until July 21st, you’ll get my two eCookbooks for the price of one! Check it out right here.

Apricot Squares

Base

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup honey (vegans, use maple syrup or alternate sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Process until almonds are ground and the dough starts to clump together, scraping the sides down with a spatula if need be. Put the mixture into a 9×9 pan. Using your hands, parchment paper or plastic wrap, press the crumb mixture down to get an even packed down surface.

Note: Taste the crumb mixture before pressing it into the baking pan. If it is not quite sweet enough, add another 1/8 cup -1/4 cup of honey or an alternate sweetener like maple syrup, palm sugar or a few drops of stevia. Pulse the food processor long enough to incorporate the addition sweetener. Taste and adjust again if required. Remember, it’s easy to add, but much more challenging to take it away if you’ve added too much.

Filling

3 cups pureed apricots

Spread the pureed apricots over the base in an even layer.

Note: The recipe only makes 2 cups of puree. Use 3 1/2 – 4 lbs of fresh apricots to get 3 cups of pureed apricots. Our pureed apricots had no added sweeteners. But the recipe linked above does use a few Tablespoons which will ease the transition to less processed foods. If you’ve already reduced your taste for sweetness and your apricots are quite sweet, forgo the honey altogether, as my sister did.

Crumble Topping

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds (read below for possible substitutions)
  • 1/4 cup flax meal (read below for possible substitutions)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey (vegans, use maple syrup or alternate sweetener)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Place all the ingredients and pulse until crumbly. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the apricot layer.

Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes. Allow the squares to cool. Refrigerate the squares. Because we are using coconut oil, and the inside temperature is often above 74 degrees, the coconut oil will melt and the squares won’t hold their shape at that temperature.

Note: To replace the hemp seeds, feel free to use almond meal, chia seeds or roughly ground nuts. Instead of flax meal, substitute a whole grain flour such as spelt, kamut, buckwheat (GF) or even almond meal. I’m pretty sure coconut flour, corn meal or even tapioca starch would work, but I have not tried it.

RAW: Baking this dish is not necessary and can be enjoying as is. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving to allow the coconut oil to solidify before slicing.

What are you going to make next with apricots?

 

I’m sharing this with Mangia Monday, Monday Mania, My Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, A Little Birdie Told Me, Fat Tuesday, This Chick Cooks, Cast Party Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, The Tasty Alternative, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, and Foodie Friday.

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17 Responses to Apricot Squares (DF, GF, Refined Sugar Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Raw options)

  1. Amber H July 9, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    Wow and wow, France.  These are so awesome.  First of all, your ingredients ROCK and second, how easy is this!?  This would make a fantastic breakfast (or afternoon snack).  And I love how user friendly you made this recipe, catering to those new to whole foods.  So great.  I can’t wait to make this recipe.  I have all the ingredients, well almost  all of them, need some more fresh apricots.  :-)

    Hugs,
    –Amber 

    • beyondthepeel July 9, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

      Thanks Amber. You always say the nicest things. I have enjoyed these as a snack and for breakfast. They really do the treat nicely when a snack attck happens :)

  2. Koko July 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    What a wonderful treat…LOVE the ingredients! And I bet you could experiment with other fruits, too. I am eating an apricot as I type right now…but there are only two left. Looks like I will have to stock up because this healthy treat is a must!

    • beyondthepeel July 9, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

      I bet cherries would be divine in this….maybe I’ll try that next. Cherry pie bars anyone?

  3. inspirededibles July 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    Your apricot squares look gorgeous France – and
    I love all the goodness that you’ve incorporated with the almond,
    oatmeal and the gorgeous seeds. How scrumptious! I must say the pureed apricot
    is very enticing. How nice that you had a chance to visit your sister in a
    peaceful setting – and that it inspired this delightful creation!  Lucky us :).

    http://www.inspirededibles.ca

  4. Rachel July 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Those look delicious! I love apricots, so I’m definitely going to have to try these! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Miz Helen July 16, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    Apricot is one of my favorite fruits. Your Apricot Squares are just awesome, wish I had one right now.  Hope you are having a fantastic week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  6. Brandis Roush July 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    …This makes me really wish I had some pureed apricots to use up!  I have been dying to plant some apricot trees, but we are RIGHT on the line, where the trees will probably not freeze to death in the winter, but most summers the blossoms would probably succumb to frost:(  But I just love them so much I’m pretty sure I’m going to plant some dwarfs near the house where they will be out of the frost pocket and where I can cover them if need be.  I’ll save this recipe in the mean time- thanks!

  7. Thedarkempress23 July 26, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    for the GF oats…do you have to use steel cut or will Bob’s Redmill rolled oats do?????

  8. Liliane Styan April 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    Can you make this puree with dried apricots? What would be the measurements approx?

    • beyondthepeel April 6, 2013 at 3:07 am #

      I think about 4 cups of dried apricots soaked in hot water for about an hour, drained and put through the food processor should do the trick.

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