Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cherry Bars

The price is right for cherries right now because they are in season so it's the perfect time to make these fresh-tasting and easy to make Cherry Bars.

Now is also the time to get extra cherries and freeze them since I have a feeling you'll want to make these Cherry Bars again. Can you imagine how cute these bright red filled bars would be to serve to your sweetie on Valentine's Day? Cherries aren't easy to come by in the winter time, and if you do find them, they're expensive. I'm planning ahead.

Here's the recipe:

Cherry Bars
(makes 24 2-inch bars)
Crumb Mixture:
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup shortening
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 cups pitted pie cherries (frozen works just fine)
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 inch pan then line the pan with greased aluminum foil or parchment paper so that after baking the whole thing can be lifted out of the pan after cooling. This makes cutting the bars much easier.

In a medium sized bowl make the crumb mixture by combining the sugar, baking powder, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add the shortening and break it into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. I like to use my fingers to do this. Add the egg, mix well and set aside.

In a sauce pan combine all the filling ingredients and mix well. Cook the mixture over medium heat until simmering and the mixture thickens. Watch it and stir it constantly. This takes about 7 minutes.
The cooked filling. Adding red food coloring in optional but it really does make the filling extra bright and pretty.

To Assemble:
Press half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the greased and lined pan. Spread the filling evenly over the bottom layer. Crumble the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the filling layer.
The first layer.

The second layer.

The third layer.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the top is slightly brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool completely before lifting out of the pan and cutting into squares.
Let it cool in the pan before cutting into bars.

Being able to lift it completely out of the pan makes cutting the bars so much easier.

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