One of my favourite treats from the bulk section of the grocery store are apricot logs. These are little tubes of apricot-y goodness rolled in coconut. I like them because they are sweet and flavourful. I’ve become a little addicted to them in a way that’s probably a bit unhealthy.
I’m sure the ones I buy in the store contain hard to identify components required to stabilize and boost flavour. After some searching around online I came up with this ingredients list for what looks like the same product I buy: sugar, dried and glace apricots (contains colour)[glace apricots are dried apricots in cane sugar glaze, also known as glacee or glazed], coconut, invert syrup [which is a sugar; a super sweet blend of fructose and sucrose], maltodextrin [essentially a wheat starch], glucose [sugar], cocoa butter [vegetable fat], citric acid [preservative], natural colour and “preservatives” [often food manufacturers use a synthetic vitamin E to preserve food, but it wasn't specified in the lists I found so I don't know what was used].
As well, when you buy these in the bulk section you pay about 1.60 / 100 grams, and each one is about 30 grams, so you get 3 logs for that price, or about $.54 each. As far as dried-fruit based snacks go, that’s not too bad, but I’m really cheap and if I can make any snacky for cheaper, I am all in. At the end of this post, I’m going to break things down mathematically, too. OH THE SUSPENSE! I KNOW, RIGHT?
I couldn’t find too many recipes online, and since apricots grow really well in Australia, it wasn’t surprising that most recipes I found were from Australia. Given I recently discovered how awesome it is to bake / cook using the metric system and using weight rather than volume, this wasn’t an issue for me. I modified the method more than the ingredients of this recipe. I really dislike buying an ingredient that is not a normal part of my pantry (such as sweetened condensed milk) and then having some left over, so I scaled my batch to use the whole 300ml container.
I’m going to pause and give you two warnings here:
Don’t attempt this if you don’t have a food processor. A processor is on my wish list for Christmas because I like making nut butters and pesto, but right now I manage well enough with a really good blender. This recipe was so thick and heavy it made my blender smoke and I had to abort part way and hand grind the rest of it. (Fortunately, my blender appears to be okay now that its had a rest.) Also: Make sure your food processor has the capacity to mix together the size of the batch you’re making. (Ask me how I know that.)
Remember, these are mainly dried fruit. Don’t eat too many in one go. No, seriously. Trust me on this one.
Remember, it’s okay to scale this smaller or bigger just use MATH! Trust me, I am skeptical of math’s usefulness, but apply it to food or money and it’s a whole new ballgame. This batch yielded about 55 logs and they are more flavourful and less sweet than the ones I buy from the store, so scale accordingly.
Weight your ingredients out using a kitchen scale.
- 300ml can of sweetened condensed milk
- 480g dried apricots
- 192 g ground almonds
- 216g unsweetened coconut (plus extra for rolling the logs in at the end)
- 72g icing sugar
Special bonus! Math!
I said I’d calculate out whether these were worth making myself or not. I used Thrifty’s currently advertised pricing because they have an online shopping component and it’s where I shop most of the time. I calculated out a per gram price for each ingredient. The almonds, apricots, and coconut are available in the bulk section and I’m likely to select bulk where I can, and I based the icing sugar on the current price for a 1kg package. I then calculated what it cost to make this total batch based on the weights.
- Ground Almonds: 192 grams at 1.49/100 grams = 2.86
- Apricots: 480 grams at .99/100 grams (on sale!) = 4.75
- Coconut: 216 grams at .59/100grams = 1.27
- Icing Sugar: 72 grams, at $3.59 for a 1kg package (per gram is .00359) = .26
- Condensed Milk (300 ml container) = 4.69
Total cost of the batch: $9.14, and the yield: 55 (let’s not try and account for non-uniform size, or the quantity of mix I lost when the blender crapped out and I had to switch it to another machine)
Cost is $0.166 or about 17 cents per log, a savings of about 60%.
Verdict: Apricot logs are worth it to make your own, provided you have a food processor.