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The second recipe in my Downton Abbey tribute series is also from Heirloom Cooking with the Brass Sisters. It dates back to the 1920’s and seriously, this may be one of the most delicious things I’ve ever made.

These rich treats are versatile. They can be served as a breakfast bar, with tea (as their name suggests), or as dessert. If you don’t like apricots, you could use figs or dates or a can of raspberry paste for filling, which you can find with the pie fillings at your local grocer. Whatever you do though, do not substitute or leave out the pecans if you can help it-they make this recipe fabulous!

PBS

The Dowager Countess takes tea seriously. Whenever there is business to be discussed, she believes it’s best done over a table of Earl Grey with little sandwiches and sweets.

I did take one liberty-the original recipe calls for 1 ½ cups butter. I reduced it, by quite a lot. You don’t need that much butter-it tastes just as good, and sticks together just as well, with half the amount.

Ingredients
• 1 cup dried apricots
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 2 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups rolled oats
• 1 cup plain bread crumbs
• ¾ cup butter, softened to room temperature
• 2 cups packed brown sugar
• 1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Instructions
Note: To toast pecans (or any nut), just place nuts on foil-lined cookie sheet coated with cooking spray and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Try not to eat them before you have to use them!

Try not to eat them before you have to use them!

Place oven rack in middle of oven and heat to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of 9×13 inch metal pan with foil. Coat with cooking spray.

Place apricots and sugar in saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until apricots are soft and plump, about 15 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl to cool.

Plumping the apricots

Plumping the apricots

Meanwhile, combine flour, salt, oats, and bread crumbs in large bowl. Cream butter and brown sugar with mixer. Add dry ingredients and mix to combine. Fold in pecans with spatula. Spread half of mixture over bottom of prepared pan.

Half of mixture spread in pan

Half of mixture spread in pan

When cool, place apricots in food processor with lemon juice and pulse until it forms a soft paste. Spread this paste over the pecan/oat mixture as evenly as possible. Top with the rest of the pecan/oat mixture.

Pulsed and ready for spreading!

Pulsed and ready for spreading!

Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until top is light, golden brown. Cool completely. Bars will firm up as it cools. Cut into squares and serve! Enjoy!

They are tasty!

They are tasty!

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