August 6, 2009 at 8:32 a.m.

Looking for something different? Why not give apricots a try!

Looking for something different? Why not give apricots a try!
Looking for something different? Why not give apricots a try!

Do you like fresh apricots? I do (I like them dried as well as fresh.) Dried apricots are a little spendy but their luscious flavor makes up for the expense. A little goes a long way toward flavoring coffee cakes, desserts, muffins, salads and used as a spread (as in jam or preserves.) How much equals how much? 1 lb. fresh apricots equal 12 medium or 3 c. sliced. One can (17 oz.) halves equals 10-12 halves or 1 c. fruit. One 8 oz. pkg. dried large halves equal 42-25 halves or 1-2/3 cups. And it takes 6 lbs. of fresh apricots to make 1 lb. dried.

They taste good and are good for us. They are an excellent source of vitamins A and Calcium, Phosphorus, iron and protein.

Enough talk as I have a few good recipes to share with you. This recipe uses a sugar sweetener.

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BREAKFAST APRICOT MUFFINS

1 c. flour

1/4 c. sugar sweetener, granulated

2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

1 egg

2 T. canola or vegetable oil

2 T. skim or 1 percent milk

1/2 c. sugar free apricot preserves

1/4 t. almond flavoring

Additional preserves for spreading on tops of muffins

Combine first four ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, beat together egg, oil and milk. Blend in preserves and almond flavoring. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Line six muffin cups with paper liners or spray with no-stick cooking spray. Fill muffin cups evenly with batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool. Spread tops with a thin layer of preserves just before serving.

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SPARKLING APRICOT ORANGE SCONES

Topping:

1/4 c. sugar

1-1/2 t. freshly grated orange peel

Scones:

2-1/2 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1/2 c. cold butter, cut into 8 pieces

1/2 c. sugar

3/4 c. finely chopped dried apricots (can use finely chopped dried cranberries or blueberries)

3/4 c. half-and-half or milk

1 egg

1 T. freshly grated orange peel

Almond butter:

1/2 c. butter, softened

2 T. powdered sugar

1/2 t. almond flavoring

Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender (or two dinner knives) until mixture is in crumbles about the size of a pea. Stir in sugar and chopped apricots.

In a small bowl, stir together half-and-half, egg and orange peel until smooth. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened, about 1 minute. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead 8-10 times until smooth, adding a small amount of flour if necessary.

Divide dough in half. Pat each half into a 7-inch circle. Put 2 inches apart onto a large ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle topping evenly over dough. Score each half into eight wedges; do not separate. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until scones are lightly browned. Cool 15 minutes on baking sheet. Separate scones while warm. Meanwhile, combine almond butter ingredients in a small mixer bowl. Beat a medium speed, scraping bowl often until well mixed (1-2 minutes). Serve scones with almond butter.

Note: When dough is scored into eight wedges, don't cut through bottom.

Makes 16 scones.

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APRICOT GELATIN SALAD

2-3 oz. pkgs. apricot-flavored gelatin

2 c. boiling water

1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 c. milk

1-20 oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained

1-4 oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in milk until smooth. Stir in gelatin. Add pineapple and mix well. Chill. When mixture begins to thicken, fold in topping. Pour into a 2-1/2 qt. serving bowl or 2-1/2 qt. ring mold. Chill at least 2 hours.

Makes 8-10 servings.

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QUICK APRICOT FRUIT SALAD

1-21 oz. can apricot pie filling (peaching, strawberry or cherry pie filling may be used)

2 firm bananas, sliced

2 c. strawberries, halved

1 c. green grapes

1 c. fresh blueberries

1 c. chopped crisp apple, unpeeled (Braeburn)

Combine fruit in large bowl. Fold in pie filling. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Note: You can use canned fruits, well drained, such as diced pears, peaches, apricots, fruit cocktail, etc. This is a delicious salad and leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days in a tightly covered container.

TFD: A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

Correction:

In the Easy Peach Cream Pie recipe last week add 3 cups of fresh peeled and sliced peaches

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