When I was a kid growing up in Iowa, I always looked forward to tasting our Uncle Leo’s apricot bars around Christmas time. Our grandparents and him lived a couple of hundred miles from us in northwest Iowa and we would sometimes visit them around Christmas. Our uncle Leo always made candy for us when we would visit, usually his world famous fudge and apricot bars. If we didn’t visit, him and our aunt Marie would send some to our house around Christmas. She made some delicious green mint leaf marzipan type candy, too.
I still always imagine the taste of those delicious apricot bars around Christmas, and wish I had the recipe. Unfortunately, both our aunt and uncle have both been deceased for several years.
I called my father to see if maybe he had the recipe, but he did not, and he referred me to my sister Cathy. Maybe she had the recipe? Nope. Rats!
We both decided to research apricot bars online, and Cathy’s husband John sent me one that he found online that he thought looked similar. I used that recipe as a base, but made a few changes to try to mimic our uncle Leo’s recipe and came up with these.
While these are delicious and taste very similar, the texture is not quite the same. His tasted a little leathier, almost like a thick fruit roll up. If any of our Joynt cousins read this and have Leo’s recipe, by all means send it to me!
Oh well, I will enjoy these this year and experiment again next year!
Cook/Prep time – about 4 hours
Yield – 2 logs
1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
6 chopped dates
1/2 cup coconut water
1 cup golden raisins
2/3 cup sweetened desiccated (finely chopped) coconut
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
Place the apricots and dates in a saucepan. Cover them with the coconut water. Let them cook until softened and strain them, pushing as much liquid as possible out of them.
Place in a bowl and add the orange rind and golden raisins. Place the fruits in a food processor and chop them well. This will make a paste. Press the paste onto waxed paper and let it dry in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Mix the coconut together with the coconut. Chop the almonds.
Spread the coconut sugar mixture onto a counter.
When the fruit is chilled, place it on top of the coconut mixture.
Sprinkle the almonds on the mixture.
Roll up jelly roll style. Roll into a long log then cut it in half to make two logs.
Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator or freezer to chill again.
Cut and serve as needed.
That’s it! Enjoy!
Suggested music to enjoy while making the apricot logs…..
Since Keith Richards turns 76 today, and he’s likely to live to be 150, how about The Rolling Stones “Hot Rocks 1964 – 1971 ? A classic album released in December 1971.
For the past couple of years, we have been taking elderberry syrup during the flu season. It is supposed to lessen flu symptoms and boost the immune system, but the price of is almost $2.50 per ounce, Ouch! So early last spring, we bought a small elderberry bush from a local nursery. We brought it home and planted it in our front flowerbed.
The plant took off like a rocket! Over the summer, it grew to about 12 feet and flowered like crazy! The flowers turned into berries, and we netted the berries to keep the birds away. We harvested the berries in the late summer and put them in the freezer to be used during the winter to make our own elderberry syrup, so here we are…..
In the early fall, we (or I should say my wife Susan) dug the plant up and transplanted it to the backyard down by the woods because it was getting too big and quite invasive and sending suckers up around it. The good news is that it seemed to take in the backyard and can grow like crazy next summer.
Cook/Prep Time – about an hour
Yield – about 10 ounces of syrup
1 cup fresh frozen elderberries
1 tsp dried ginger
1 tsp dried orange peel
3 cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup raw honey
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cup purified water
***You can also use dried elderberries. If you do, double the amount of purified water.
Wash and rinse the elderberries and remove all stems. Add one cup of the purified water to a saucepan. Add the elderberries, cinnamon, ginger, orange peel,cloves, lemon juice and maple sugar. Turn on high until the mixture boils, then turn down and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Drain the berries and liquid into a colander and let cool. Using gloves, remove the cinnamon sticks andsmash and push all the liquid out of the berries.
Then strain the juice through a sieve or cheesecloth. Stir in the raw honey, and place in a bottle or jar. That’s it!
Take one teaspoon daily during flu season or add to hot tea or a cocktail!
Suggested music to listen to while preparing the syrup…..
The 1973 album by Elton John, “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player” which features the song “Elderberry Wine” this song was also the B-Side to the single “Crocodile Rock”