I finally got to go skiing last weekend. There is no other activity that I can think of that gets me outside in the fresh air, for a whole day, during the winter time. I can’t tell you how good I feel to be outside, in the sun and the snow, in the mountains where everything smells good, and moving. It’s such a luxury over these winter months. With skiing comes the need for snacks. Mostly the snacks are needed on the long car ride home when you finally sit down and suddenly realize that you are deeply tired, hungry and thirsty from all of that moving and fresh air. My go-to snack is granola bars. They are easy to keep in my ski jacket pocket, nutritious, filling, and have just the right balance of sweet and savory that I crave at times like those. I have been making versions of these granola bars ever since the Smitten Kitchen cookbook came out. There is a date and almond version in her book but I decided to make some apricot sunflower granola bars this time instead. I have tons of sunflower butter in my fridge and I thought it would be a nice change.
This past week at the farmer’s market I bought a five pound box of organic apricots for five dollars. What was I going to do with five pounds of apricots? Good question. All I knew was that I couldn’t pass up such a good deal. Also, there was a catch. The apricots were good for baking but not so great fresh. They were very, very soft (which I knew when I bought them) and this made my options even more limited (because I could definitely easily eat at least one or two pounds of them by the handful). The first pound and a half of apricots were a no-brainer. I made this healthy breakfast crisp, which is perfect to have hanging out in the fridge. I figured I could also freeze some for smoothies. But, I was left with figuring out what to do with the rest. When I think of apricots, I think of apricot rosemary jam right away. In fact, one of the first recipes I posted on this blog was an apricot rosemary crisp. I had apricot rosemary jam for the first time in Scotland a few years ago. The flavour combination was amazing. But, I didn’t want to make jam on it’s own. It’s hard for us to get through a whole thing of jam because we don’t really eat much bread. In looking up jam recipes online I finally came across a winner. My New Roots had sandwich cookies on her website, so I decided that apricot jam sandwich cookies was a pretty good use for the rest of my apricots.
There are a bunch of foods that are perfect blank canvases, that you can make over and over again using the same base recipe and technique and it never gets old. I am sure that applies to a lot of dishes, but when I think of that blank canvas, I think of ice cream and bread. It’s not like I have an endless supply of homemade ice cream and bread on hand, but when I am in a creative rut and I think of random flavor combinations (particularly ones that lend themselves to sweet dishes), I can usually turn them into an ice cream or bread creation. So, when I couldn’t get apricots and almonds out of my head for the past couple of weeks, I decided it was time to take the plunge and make something already. Here it is: Apricot Almond Bread.
My freezer contents ebb and flow. I find that because our freezer isn’t so big, I have to intermittently stop myself from making freezable goods so that we can actually make our way through what is already there. At the moment, I am definitely in an ebb stage so I am free to make some stuff to hide away for a lazy day. One of my favourite things to have in the freezer are scones that you can have on hand for a special weekend breakfast. They taste just as good from the freezer compared to when you bake them straight after making them and even though they take some time to bake, you get a delicious pastry breakfast without any work, other than turning on the oven, in the moment.