Chocolate Apricot Squares

11/3 to 2 c chopped dried apricots
1 to 11/2 c water
11/2 c rolled oats
11/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 c butter or margarine
11/2 to 2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

If your dried apricots are very dry and hard, use the lower amount of apricots and the greater amount of water; if the dried apricots are soft, use the greater amount of apricots and the lower amount of water. Simmer the apricots in the water, in a saucepan or in a container in a microwave oven, until the water is absorbed. Depending on how dry the apricots are to start with, this might take anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour (or more).

Combine the rolled oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar. Mix in butter or margarine with a pastry blender, or with your fingers, until well-mixed and crumbly. Reserve 1 cup, moderately packed, of the mixture. Press the rest into an ungreased 13" x 9" pan.

Spread the apricot mixture over the crumb mixture, then top with the chocolate chips, then with the reserved crumb mixture. Press down gently. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned.

Copyright (C) 1998 by Joel Polowin. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this material in any non-profit medium provided that its content is not altered and that this notice is appended. I would appreciate receiving a copy of any publication in which it appears: Joel Polowin / 18 Norice St. / Nepean, Ont. / CANADA / K2G 2X5 but remove the XYZZy it's a little magic to baffle the spambots.

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