Featured Farm – Sherwood Orchards

Sherwood Orchards is one of my favorite places to pick fruit! The orchard has over 2,000 fruit trees and has been in operation for 150 years. Wowzers! The selection of fruit is impressive and includes sweet and pie cherries, peaches, plums, apples (over 80 varieties!), pears, quince, and persimmons. In the growing season, I often visit once every few weeks for a new type of fruit. September is the perfect time to pick apples. Each tree is marked with the variety and the use: eating, pies, canning, applesauce, and/or apple butter.

IMG_4550IMG_3761IMG_4574

Now a few things to note. The orchard is old-school. It’s not really a kid-friendly, have a picnic and browse the gift-shop kind of orchard. It’s a no frills, serious about picking fruit orchard. Since it’s been around for a long time, the ground squirrels have enjoyed burrowing random holes all over the paths. So I don’t recommend taking kids or anyone who has difficulty walking on uneven ground. Check out their website here for information before you go. Like all other farms on my featured farms list, the people who run Sherwood Orchards are incredibly nice. They are very willing to share recipes and tips for choosing which kind of apple you might want to pick. As a bonus, it’s really gorgeous and peaceful.

IMG_3769IMG_4579

What’s In a Name: Special Jam, Fruit Spread, Fruit Butter & Marmalade Explained

Why is Aunt Becky’s Jam called “Special Jam”?

Aunt Becky’s Special Jam does not include any secret ingredients (contrary to certain customer questions: you know who you are). My niece Anna (in the middle) named it special jam. When I first started making jam for my sister Heather, she shared it sparingly with my nieces because they eat like locusts and there weren’t very many jars. On the first day of the second grade, Anna announced that she would no longer eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in her lunch unless it was made with “Aunt Becky’s Special Jam”.

1st day of school 2010

What’s the difference between jam and fruit spread?

Jam and fruit spread are the most closely related. First, it’s unrelated to sugar content. The distinction is based on science and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Every Aunt Becky’s product is tested using a handy-dandy digital refractometer.

digital refractometer pic

This little green machine tests the soluable solids in a product and lights up a number on the Brix scale. The FDA says that most fruit (except fruit butter stone fruits and marmalade citrus fruits) must have a Brix of 65 or above to be considered jam. If you ask the FDA, the word “preserves” is the equivalent of jam. Any product with a Brix of less than 65 is a fruit spread.

Then what’s fruit butter?

Fruit butter is like jam made from stone fruits if the fruit breaks down during the cooking process. A stone fruit is a fruit with a pit and includes cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, pears, and apples. Cherries, apricots and peaches don’t break down all the way when cooking, so those fruits make jam or fruit spread. On the other hand, plums, pears and apples cook down into a creamy, buttery consistency.

apple butter

Like jam, the FDA has a say in the name fruit butter. Aunt Becky’s products made from only plums, pears or apples must have a Brix of 43 or above to be labeled fruit butter.

How about marmalade?

Marmalade is jam made with citrus fruit pulp and peel. But it’s a little more fun…Imagine an orange and peel the orange in your head. First, you have the peel which includes the zest, the orange-colored part, and the pith, the bitter white part. Second, you have the segments which includes the membrane, the white part, and the pulp and juice, the juicy orange part. Marmalade includes the zest, pulp and juice. The pith, membrane and seeds are wrapped in cheesecloth during cooking and used to naturally thicken the marmalade.

oranges cut orange pectin

Pretty cool huh! Citrus fruits have their own thickener. Makes you respect the mundane orange a little more now huh.

What about everything else?

Well our illustrious FDA has not put a label on sauces and fruit syrups. So, sauces and syrups are named based on what makes the most sense. What a relief!

Raspberry Jam with Pear Infused Brandy…and Grandma

Raspberry Jam with Pear-Infused Brandy

Hello! Yes you read that correctly! Bartlett pears are soaked in brandy for several days. The resulting brandy is included in a batch of red raspberry jam to make the most rich, delectable raspberry jam you’ve tasted! So what does raspberry jam with pear infused brandy have to do with my Grandma? I will tell you…

raspberries

Grandma Pauline

My Grandma Pauline was quite a woman. She moved to Nigeria at age 35 (considered a spinster in the 1960’s) to be a missionary with Sudan Interior Missions. My Grandpa John and his first wife Beulah were missionaries at a boarding school for missionary kids. When Beulah passed away in a tragic car accident, Pauline married my John about a year after. Beulah was the love of John’s life. While John cared about Pauline, he never forgot or stopped missing Beulah. It sounds really sad and tragic, and it is. But Pauline made the best of it. She was faithful and loving to John for over 50 years. She was also a fabulous Grandma to her 12 grandchildren.

The last few years of her life, Grandma Pauline was suffering greatly from Alzheimer’s disease. Before it got really bad, Grandma, well, messed a bit with Grandpa. I love my Grandpa, he was a bossy pants extraordinaire. After 50 years of marriage, Grandma learned to mess with him a bit. I think she did it just for fun.

My sister Heather and I visited my Grandparents a few years ago in Sebring, FL. Most people only visit that area of Florida to visit Disneyworld, an hour away. We went, we saw, we had a fabulous time! When Tinker Bell flew over the crowd from Cinderella’s castle, Heather commented, “that Tinker Bell is a man!”. We have never forgotten the argument or agreed. Tinker Bell is not a man! She is magical! Obviously!

disneyworld sisters disneyworld

After visiting the Magic Kingdom, Heather and I drove to the middle of nowhere…Sebring, FL. We experienced Grandma messing with Grandpa first hand. My Grandparents often disagreed about why the flowers in the front of their house were dying. Grandpa claimed he didn’t water enough. Grandma claimed the deer (there are deer in Florida?!?) ate the flowers. After he left the room, Grandma looked at me and Heather with a knowing look and said “Your Grandpa thinks it’s the watering, but I know it’s the deer.” When Grandpa came back into the room, she pretended they hadn’t just had the same conversation and started in again. During that trip, the following “argument” between my Grandparents ensued during dinner over a jar of raspberry jam.

Grandpa: This is good jam.

Grandma: Thank you.

Grandpa: You didn’t make this jam, I made it. You put a bunch of  raspberries in the freezer and they melted to the bottom. I scraped them off, put them in a pot and made a batch of jam.

Heather: Becky made this jam. It says very clearly on the jar “love Becky”.

Grandma and Grandpa both pretended not to hear and continued to argue about which one of them made the jam. The answer, it was ME!!!

I would bet money that Grandpa never made a jar of jam in his life. And where would they get fresh raspberries to spoil in the freezer anyway? Also, Grandma cheated wildly at Rummicubes. Heather and I figured that she let us cheat when we were kids, so we could let her cheat at the end of her life. While “sharing” our horribly uncomfortable hide-a-bed/extra-thin-mattress/too-few-blankets bed that evening, Heather and I giggled about the whole situation. (I say “sharing” because I was accused of “hogging the covers’. No matter how old siblings get, some things never change.) Saucy minx Grandma!

grandma and heather

All that to say, I usually think of Grandma when I think of raspberry jam. And she would love this jam with pear-infused brandy. I hope you love it was much as Grandma Pauline would. And be a little saucy after you eat it. Grandma would approve.

Jam and Dating

When the day I started Aunt Becky’s came around, I started referring to it as my “jam-i-versary”. My sister Heather groaned and said “this is the longest relationship you’ve had in a while”. Um, thanks? Sadly, she is right.

Disclaimer: This post is almost completely unrelated to jam. Also, some might call it an “over-share”. You’ve been warned.

I was married for 10 years, from age 19 to 29. Getting married at 19 always seems like a good idea. Needless to say, I’ve been divorced now for 10 years. The first three years after my divorce, I spent my time in intense counseling for severe childhood abuse. The next two years after that I spent my time doing the grueling, but effective, Gerson Therapy to address my multiple sclerosis. Whew! Then in moved back to Portland and declared it to be the “Summer of fun!” Once again, my sister, this time Rachel, teased me and asked me if it was the same as the “Summer of George”!?! If you haven’t seen that particular Seinfeld episode, you are missing out; I was not flattered to be compared to George Costanza. The Summer of Fun turned into the start of five years of fairly bad dating experiences.

Now, there’s something you should know before I go on. My “problem” with this whole situation is not that I don’t like men, as a male friend recently asked. It’s actually quite the opposite. I know enough really good men that I know what it looks like. Men who loved me when I was freaking out about something small. Men that have been incredibly kind and gracious. Men who are funny. Men who fix things and teach me how to fix them myself. Men who have encouraged me when I was in despair. Men who are okay with discussing, gasp, their feelings and listening to me express mine. Men who hug me appropriately like a sister rather than trying to squeeze my boobs. Let’s be honest ladies, you know what I mean. Men who say what they mean and do what they say. Men who actually return phone calls and treat me with dignity and courtesy.

Okay, now that we have the basics out of the way, I’ve really worked myself up for a good Taylor Swift style rant. I think that Facebook is helpful to stay in touch with friends and see photos and share cute videos. But it’s usually insanely positive sprinkled with crazy ranting, like uber crazy. I’ll try not to dive off the deep end here. But it’s been a very rough five years! My sisters and friends can’t keep track of the names of the men I’ve dated. It’s not that I’m “easy”, only that I keep trying when all evidence points to the futility of the whole thing. Okay, maybe I’m being a little melodramatic with the word futility, but hey, that’s where I’m at.

I read a blog today by another blogger about using faults in online dating profiles to cut to the chase. The blog is called “My Dating Profile” by Key + Arrow and you can find it here. Not only is it incredibly funny,  but it’s also poignantly accurate. The men I have dated have been brilliantly educated and blue collar workers. They are dads and single guys. They make more and less money than me. (Since I’m a CPA, people often feel compelled to tell me about their financial status and situation, even though I don’t really care.) They are funny and interesting and troubled. They have taken me to San Francisco, Nashville, and Kansas City. I learned to hike and run. There are lots of good things too. In the spirit of this rant and in order to give you a flavor of what’s I’ve been dealing with, I made a list of the deal breakers or individual traits of some of the men I’ve dated. In no particular order:

  • the alcoholic baseball fanatic
  • the angry probation server
  • the short-term marriage proposer
  • the cheap-skate pervert (who, even though I was starving, refused to order food until happy hour started at 9pm and asked me if I wore “a sexy apron” at craft shows. I responded that I was only selling jam and not by body… or my soul)
  • the bitter divorcee and runner
  • the recently fired flake
  • the enraged cult member
  • the apocalypse preparer and metal-detector
  • the incredibly nice bore
  • the hot mess
  • the hiking professor
  • the controlling creepily-small-handed addict
  • the extreme introvert
  • the friends-with-benefits commitment phobic
  • the extremely angry hater of all things including “gay people, people who live in the Hawthorne neighborhood in Portland, and (my favorite) people who ride bicycles with banana seats” (all his words)
  • the big promisor but stander-up-er
  • the narcissist
  • the unemployed dreamer

Why oh why do I keep trying?!? Well, I have the gift of faith. I believe people can change. I see the good and fuzz over the challenging. It’s strangely who I am. After years of difficulty and pain, I can only explain it by saying it’s a gift that God has given me, the gift of faith. Also, I know I am loved even if I never get married again. It’s not about one person “fixing” everything. It’s about being loved deeply by God and the people who are in my life. I am loved and Aunt Becky to seven nieces and nephews. And I’ll always have jam. Every time I have a difficult dating experience, I can always still make jam. My sister Rachel says my angst gets stirred into every jar. While at the beginning of a batch, she may be right, by the end of the canning process, I know it will be okay. I will be okay. And I’m learning to get out quickly. And who I am. And what I want and need. And maybe jam will end up being the love of my life. And I will get to pass on my “jam empire” to Chef Lily. Who knows. For today, that works.

In the interest of fairness, these are the labels I would use for myself:

  • the emotionally high-maintenance, affectionate foodie
  • the nerdy sci-fi and poetry lover
  • the gift-giving gardener
  • the spreadsheet-loving accountant
  • the child-spoiling Aunt
  • the old soul, but young antics, jam-maker

All are true. And I am okay with that. And maybe someday I’ll meet another imperfect person like myself who will fit. In the meantime, I’ll make more jam.

Late Summer

My $2 Old Navy flip flops make a sticky, sucky noise on my kitchen floor. Time to mop. Tonight’s batch of Golden Raspberry Peach Fruit Spread took 5 tries to thicken to my satisfaction. I guess I didn’t write down the recipe very accurately from last year. During the canning process, a huge clump of jam leapt onto my bare arm and made a pink spot (and I yelled a rather loud expletive before I licked the offending fruit off my arm). It’s almost 10pm and I still have 2 batches to can. It’s hot and I’m sticky and tired. And I’m happy.

Golden Raspberry Peach

My little house, aptly named Rose Cottage, is sweet and friendly. My nieces and nephews are safe. Schools started so my sister Heather gets a little rest. Labor day weekend is coming up soon. I plan to nap. A lot. And, let’s be honest, make more jam. I love my job. This time of year, my brain is tired. My hands are tired from clicking a mouse. Ironically, I’m typing more after work. My eyes are fuzzy from looking at tiny excel spreadsheets to finish annual financial statements for the non profit I work for. I sit all day but feel like I’m stretched thin trying to keep all the balls in the air. And I’m happy.

My bank account is a little lean. But my freezer is FULL of fruit for the fall, winter and spring season. My old fashioned kitchen will warm my house during the cold, rainy Portland evenings coming very soon. And my library card if free. Thank you for season 3 of Downton Abbey and the latest book in the series by Laurie King about Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell. (P.S. You can’t go wrong with a book series that’s a combo of Flavia DeLuce by Alan Bradbury and Sherlock on PBS. Ever wondered why I say I’m a nerd, look no more.) And I’m happy.

The Tualatin Farmers’ Market season comes to a close this Friday. I’ve learned a lot, a lot. I’ve sold a lot of jam. I’ve given out countless samples. I’ve spoiled many children. I love to give extras to the kids who look at me with hopeful eyes, knowing intuitively that I spoil. One small boy started to walk over for a third sample and I heard his mom say “No!”. I saw his face, laughed and smiled at her. Then I gave him two extra cookies. I put a tiny blond girl’s hair in pigtails. I handed her dad a pony holder, but he looked at it helplessly. I’m not Aunt Becky for no reason! This season, I’ve met lots of foodies and bakers and quilt-lovers and other creative vendors.  And I’m happy.

 

Jam-i-versary

One year ago, I woke up from a dream about starting my own jam business. Aunt Becky’s special jams, fruit butters, sauces and syrups was born.

times final

So much had happened in a year! New flavors and craft shows. Farmers’ market on Fridays. Front page of the local paper. Three new nephews in 6 months (baby Wyatt in Seattle and adopted 4 year old “A” and his baby brother “S” in San Diego). My sisters don’t mess around! Garden projects. Recipes for the obvious breakfast and dessert. Recipes for the unexpected appetizers, salads and meat glazes. Fruit picking. Endless jars of jam. Research to find the best organic cane sugar (Florida’s Crystals), non GMO pectin, jars and packaging made in the USA. Ribbon Reserves line of wine and spirit infused jams. Best of all, so much fun!

IMG_8266

Thank you to all my family, friends and customers! Aunt Becky’s would not be the same without you taste testers, sample eaters, idea bouncer-off-ers, marketing suggesters, logo designers, volunteer booth sellers, technology assisters, cheerleaders, quilt sewers, truth tellers, encouragers and jam lovers.

Here’s to a new year!

amaretto sour

 

Rose Petal Jelly

Jam lovers are really creative! A week ago, I received a call from Elaine asking if I made anything that was rose flavored. Well no, but I can. On the quest for a new experiment and a lovely jelly, I promised to make a batch of Rose Petal Jelly.

Roses, like many flowers, are edible. Who knew. I don’t spray my roses during the summer and only feed them with organic fertilizer so they’re safe for eating.

Early last Saturday (like 9ish for me), I picked a bowl of roses from my English rose garden. I pulled off the petals, snipped the white tips (which are bitter) and washed the petals.

rosespetals

After a few hours of soaking the petals in a syrupy mix, I strained them and was blessed with a lovely pinky red color. Yes, it smells like roses.

juice

After more simmering and a little lemon juice, the jelly was almost done. I added a few of the petals back into the jelly because they were so beautiful. The resulting Rose Petal Jelly has a light lemon flavor and a very soft, sweet rose flavor and scent.

jelly

If you want your own Rose Petal Jelly, you’ll have to get in line behind Elaine. There are still a few more weeks left of summer and my roses are blooming. You can also try a sample today at the Tualatin Farmers’ Market from 4 till 8.

Chef Lily’s Strawberry Wine Shortcake

Yes, Chef Lily is 7. Technically, she’s 7 3/4 if you’re being precise. Yes, she enjoys Strawberry Wine Sauce. No, there’s no alcohol left in the sauce after cooking. Don’t worry. I promise I’m not serving Lily or any other kids liquor. Now that your concern has been assuaged, let’s get to the food!

Chef Lily’s Strawberry Wine Shortcake is so easy and simple…not to mention delicious. Strawberry Wine Sauce is full of Hood Strawberries cut in half and flavored with a light summer rose wine. For you non-wine drinkers out there, rose wine is made from grapes, not roses. It’s a slightly bubbly, slightly sweet, pink wine that you chill before drinking. So you can breathe easy.

chef lily

Gather It

strawberry wine

  • Angel food cake or shortcake
  • Aunt Becky’s Strawberry Wine Sauce
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Whipping cream

Make It

chef lily concentrating

  • Ask a grown-up to help slice the angel food cake or shortcake
  • Put the pieces into a bowl
  • Spoon Strawberry Wine Sauce over the top
  • Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • Top with whipping cream
  • Optional: If you use the whipping cream in the can, squirt a little in your mouth after you’re done dishing up

Gobble It

hiccupp

  • Well, gobble it
  • Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

P.S. Notice her teeth. The big new tooth (top right) was named “Sven the Terrible” by her dad Matt. The little baby tooth that’s sticking straight out (top left) was named “Hiccup” after the character Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III in How to Train Your Dragon. Hiccup has since fallen out and been gifted to the tooth fairy in exchange for cold hard cash.

P.S. 2 “Sven the Terrible” is actually named “Stoic the Vast”. The new tooth is replacing Hiccup is named “Gobber”. Matt loves naming things. Lily’s stuffed elephant “Elefante” was relentlessly named “Toby” by Matt until Lily finally broke down and agreed to “Toby”.

Marionberry Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Marionberries

Marionberries are Oregon. They are beloved to all who live here and those who visit too. They’re a type of blackberry developed in Marion County, Oregon in the 1950’s.  Marionberries are referred to as the “Cabernet of Blackberries” for their complex, rich earthy flavor. 90% of the world’s Marionberries are grown in Oregon. So yeah, we love Marionberries!

marionberries

Marionberry Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Super simple Marionberry oatmeal cookie bars were greeted with “oooohhhh” and “yesssss” and “of course” at the Tualatin Farmers’ Market. Children are either big fans of free cookies or suspicious I’m a stranger offering them poison. Kids I get. Adults with the same responses which make me laugh a little. marionberry oatmeal bars

I promised to post this recipe in the morning. Obviously that didn’t happen. After picking blueberries this morning, I came home for a “little” nap. I woke up four hours later. I guess a 3 day trip to DC this week, the market on Friday, then up early for picking wiped me out. My apologies for the delay.

Adopted from A Whisk and a Prayer Marionberry Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Gather It

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cups flour
  • 1 cups oats
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 jar Aunt Becky’s Marionberry Jam

Make It

  • Combine sugar, flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a bowl
  • Cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly
  • Spray an 8×8 pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper
  • Pat half of mixture into pan
  • Spread Aunt Becky’s Marionberry Jam on top
  • Sprinkle remaining batter on top and pat down gently
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes

Gobble It

I confess that I ate these for breakfast on Friday morning. If you have a slightly increased level of self-control, they are great for dessert too. My life motto is “everything is better with ice cream”. So yeah, these are pretty awesome alone or warmed up with a scoop of ice cream.

Apricot Almond Coconut Bars

Apricot Fruit Spread

My Grandpa John’s favorite jam was apricot. The last couple years of his life, I had more conversations with him about jam than anything else. He loved jam! He used to provide instruction on how small to cut the fruit into “small, small, small pieces”. I didn’t mention that I knew he had never make a batch of jam in his life. I just listened and promised to send more, along with another tin of Almond Roca. As my Grandma would say, “Grandpa is a choco-holic”. Then she would laugh at her own joke, like every time.

Grandpa, Danny and Rachel circa 1985 ish

grandpa

It turns out that apricot jam is also my brother Danny’s favorite. When I told him I made some for Grandpa he said “Wait, you can make apricot jam?!? That’s my favorite! I’ve been buying is for years!” I was like, puh-lease, I can make any kind of jam. Why didn’t you tell me (if I’m being honest, I followed it with some comment like “you dork”).

Aunt Becky’s Apricot Fruit Spread is make with two ingredients: Robata apricots and organic cane sugar. That’s it.

LA Weekly Blogs: What’s in Season at the Farmer’s Market: Apricot Flame Wars + Tenerelli is Back describes Robata apricots perfectly. “The sun-exposed skins redden with a heavy blush, making some of the fruits almost half red and stunning. Size-wise they’re practically a handful, rivaling some nectarines we purchased earlier. But here’s where the Robada shines. Imagine getting the mouthful of flavor that you’d find in a dried apricot — a potent concentrated mouthful of sugar and well-balanced tarty zing — but in the juicy and fresh flesh of a just-picked fruit. Refractometer readings put the sugar of a ripe Robada near 20 brix. For reference, that’s nearly the sugar level of a good pineapple. Now add elderflowers and honeysuckle. And on the finish, a slightest bitterness that reminds you of juniper berries. It’s a flavor you sit with after each bite, and there are about five of them with each fruit. You have to slow down and pay attention. The size requires that you bite into it, not just pop the whole thing in your mouth. The firmness requires that you chew, slowly releasing all its nuance. The color appeals to the eye. And the scent is floral and complex.” Yup, that’s them.

20140719-093240-34360559.jpg 20140719-093238-34358802.jpg

Back to the jam. Robada apricots and organic cane sugar simmer in a big pot on the stove for at least 30 minutes. The resulting Apricot Fruit Spread is slightly less thick than flavors including pectin. Refrigerated, the apricot fruit spread is perfect on morning toast with a rich, concentrated flavor. One customer described it as tasting “like a fresh apricot”.

Apricot Almond Coconut Bars

20140719-093235-34355841.jpg

When I was a auditor, I used to bake cookies for my clients. It gave me an opportunity to try out new recipes without eating a whole batch of cookies. It also really sweetened them up. As a financial auditor, I arrived at my clients’ offices annually to check the work of their internal accountants and make sure their financial statements were correct. They were not pleased to see me or co-workers. Some of my audits lasted for weeks; weeks of endless questioning by a persistent auditor with nothing but questions! The questions took them away from their regular jobs which still needed to be done. Then I always asked for much more than originally expected, so my clients were often behind in completing requests. In order to “encourage” them, I baked cookies. I had one recipe for toffee, chocolate chip, pecan bars that were so delicious and sought-after that they would ask for more. I nick-named them “crack cookies”. Like a drug dealer, I would make a batch of cookies at the beginning of an audit or during planning to get them hooked. Later, I would promise a new batch if they provided the information I needed to do my job and finish more quickly. Like I said, those cookies really sweetened them up! (Recipe for Toffee, Chocolate Chip, Pecan Bar Cookies)

Apricot Almond Coconut Bars are my newest “crack cookies”. They highlight Aunt Becky’s Apricot Jam. I whipped up a batch on Thursday night for the Farmers’ Market on Friday. I won’t say that I received any serious marriage proposals, but I did get more than one request to come home with someone or a family to bake for them. I had to promise several customers to post the recipe ASAP so they could make their own. Normally when I share a new recipe, I take multiple pictures during the process. Due to the circumstances, I only have a photo of the remaining samples lumped together on a plate. Their form is slightly less than my best, but trust me, it doesn’t affect the flavor. I’m enjoying a cup of coffee in my Mary Poppins mug and eating these cookies for breakfast. It’s Saturday! My pond fountain and a local blue jay are providing background songs while I sit in my garden and write this post.

Recipe for Apricot Almond Coconut Bars

Gather It

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • 1 cup apricot preserves (1 jar Aunt Becky’s Apricot Fruit Spread)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut
  • 1/2 cups sliced almonds

Mix It

  • Combine flour and baking powered in a bowl
  • Cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs
  • In a small bowl, combine egg and milk
  • Stir into flour mixture
  • Grease 9×9 pan
  • Spread flour mixture into pan (flour your hands a bit if the dough is sticky)
  • Spread Aunt Becky’s Apricot Fruit Spread over crust
  • Combine egg, sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, coconut and almonds
  • Using a spoon or just your hands, drop the topping over the apricot layer
  • Optional – lick off your hands
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown

Gobble It

  • The “official” directions say to cool on a wire rack and cut into small bars. Yeah right!
  • Use a spoon to scoop a piping hot portion in to a bowl and top with vanilla ice cream. Do it right away!
  • Cool the rest until room temperature then cover and refrigerate to make the cleanest cuts

Adapted from Taste of Home Apricot Bars

Now, I guess you could make these Apricot Almond Coconut Bars from a regular store bought jar of jam. But it won’t really taste the same. You won’t get the Robata flavor and the concentrated apricot goodness. So get yourself a jar of Aunt Becky’s Apricot Fruit Spread before it sells out.