We were invited over someone’s house for a party last Saturday night (okay we were riding my kid’s coattails since it was a party for the families on her travel softball team, and let’s face it I never really get invited anywhere after sunset and I’d prefer not to spend too much time thinking about why). When you have a gluten free kid and you’re invited to someone else’s house, you have a couple questions to ask yourself: 1. What will I bring for my gluten free kid to eat that is portable and doesn’t need to be heated, really, and still fabulously delicious enough that he will feel proud (and hungry) to eat it? 2. What will I bring so I don’t walk in empty-handed? The answer to Question #1 this time was these Stuffed Gluten Free Soft Breadsticks (and a pasta salad). Easy. Done. The answer to Question #2 was my standard gluten free cookie that everyone in my life at all always requests (4 dozen of them, in fact) + these gluten free apricot crumble bars. And you know what? The crumble bars went first!
Maybe it’s because apricots in the summertime are just.so.gorgeous. It could also have something to do with the fact that I stood by the dessert table eating one and going on and on about how delicious they were and did you know they only had just a few ingredients and were so so easy to make.
The crust is a simple shortbread (oh so simple!) and the topping is nothing more than shortbread dough with some cinnamon and brown sugar thrown in. The middle? Gorgeous summer apricots that bake up perfectly and would never even dream of making the shortbread soggy or the crumble topping any less perfect.
[Oh, and if you’re a long long longtime reader of this blog and you’re wondering if this is nearly deja vu all over again, you’re right!]
Gluten Free Apricot Crumble Bars
2 1/4 cups (315 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
16 tablespoons (224 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound ripe fresh apricots, rinsed and dried
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a 9-inch square pan with crisscrossed sheets of unbleached parchment paper, each overhanging two opposite sides. Set the pan aside.
In a large bowl, place 2 cups (280 g) of the flour, the xanthan gum, granulated sugar and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, and mix to combine. The mixture should come together as a soft dough. Remove about 3/4 cup (150 g) of the dough and transfer it to a medium-size bowl. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and the remaining 1/4 cup (35 g) flour to the reserved dough, and mix to combine. This is the crumble topping. Place the bowl of crumble topping in the freezer to chill. Scrape the remaining soft shortbread dough into the prepared square pan, and press into an even layer with well-floured hands. Set the pan aside.
Slice each of the apricots in half, then remove and discard the pits. With a serrated knife, carefully slice the apricots into wedges, each about 1/4-inch wide, taking care not to bruise or crush the fruit. Lay the apricot slices on top of the shortbread in 4 parallel rows, from one side of the pan to the other, overlapping them slightly in each row. Remove the crumble topping from the freezer, break it up into irregular clumps with a fork, and sprinkle it in an even layer on top of the fruit. Press down on the topping gently but evenly to help the crumble topping adhere to the fruit.
Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven, and bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is light brown in color and seems set. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool completely. Carefully remove the bars from the pan by the overhung parchment paper. With a very sharp knife, slice into 16 equal pieces. The top half of the bars will be moist and will not set up rock hard because of the moisture in the fruit, but will hold together when handled carefully.