GLAZED CHERRY PIE BARS
The cherry bars are like cherry pie but easier. There's a buttery, soft, tender crust topped with cherry pie filling before being baked and glazed. There's almond extract in both the bars and the glaze which adds the most heavenly flavor. The cherry and almond extract combination is absolutely perfect. I baked the bars using a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan and appreciate that they don't turn out overly thick. However, you could probably use a 9x13-inch pan noting the bars will be thicker and the baking time will be longer. It's a great recipe for parties and events because the recipe makes a large amount.
YIELD: one 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan PREP TIME: 10 minutes COOK TIME: about 35 minutes TOTAL TIME: about 90 minutes, for coolin
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (or 1/2 teaspoon if you love almond extract)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- two 21-ounce cans cherry pie filling
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar (sifted if yours is particularly lumpy)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 to 3 tablespoons milk, as necessary for consistency
1-Bars - Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray; set aside. Optionally, line the pan with a sheet of foil and spray with cooking spray. The advantage is you can lift the bars out by the foil and cut them more neatly on a cutting board.
2-To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl and handheld electric mixer), add the butter, sugar, salt, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3-Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4-Add the extracts and beat on medium-high speed to incorporate, about 30 seconds.
5-Gradually add the flour and beat on medium-low speed to incorporate, about 1 minute.
6-Turn about 75% of the dough out into a prepared pan and spread with a spatula to create a smooth, even, flat layer. It's sticky, tacky, and requires some patience, but just keep spreading and finessing it into the corners.
7-Add the pie filling and spread to evenly distribute leaving a 1/4-inch bare margin from edges of pan. It spreads while baking and trying to prevent filling from sticking to sides of pan is advised so it doesn't burn.
8-Drop remaining dough by 2-teaspoonfuls over pie filling. It's very sticky and I find it easiest to use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop filled about halfway. The dough will spread together somewhat as the bars bake.
9-Bake for 35 minutes, or until dough on top and around the edges is very lightly golden brown. Allow bars to cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
10-Glaze - To a medium bowl, add the confectioners' sugar, extracts, and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Evenly drizzle glaze over the bars and serve immediately. Bars will keep airtight at room temp for up to 5 days, noting crust will soften as time passes. I like the bars at room temp but my family enjoys them chilled. They will keep in the fridge airtight for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Adapted from Taste of Home