Sweet cherries are here and they are irresistible. These summer cherry shortbread bars a must make if you are a cookie/bar lover like I am. Effortless in preparation, these bars bake up in no time and feel like the perfect cross between a cookie and a pie. Best part, they are not nearly as timing consuming as pie making.
This recipe is not mine, it is from another blogger I adore. Sue, and her blog, The View from Great Island, are the brains behind the lovely fruit bar recipe that never disappoints. I have adapted the recipe only slightly, the original one can be seen here.
The only hard rule with making these cherry shortbread bars is using fresh cherries. Frozen fruit or cherries that have been canned or jared will not do it, so no shortcuts. Truthfully, pitting cherries is nothing anyone loves to do, but it’s not as time consuming as one would think. Like many things, there is a gadget to help you if you need one, but personally, I just use my finger tip to split the cherry and pull out the pit. You only need 2 1/2 cups of cherries, so you’re talking about 10 minutes to pit the cherries once you get the hang of it.
Health Benefits of Cherries:
Cherries, a small stone fruit, are loaded with goodness and come in a variety of colors and flavors. There are two major categories — tart and sweet cherries. Their colors can vary from yellow to deep blackish-red.All varieties of cherries are highly nutritious and packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
One cup of sweet, raw, pitted cherries provides the following:
- Calories: 97
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbs: 25 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin C: 18% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Potassium: 10% of the DV
- Copper: 5% of the DV
- Manganese: 5% of the DV
Variety-wise, there are many types of cherries to choose from. And you may prefer one kind more than the other. Below is a breakdown of the cherries you typically see. For this recipe I used fresh farmers market Bing cherries, which are my younger sons favorite.
Types of Cherries:
- Bing Cherries: The most common type of dark sweet cherry you’ll find at the grocery store, fresh and frozen form. Firm, juicy, and sweet, heart-shaped cherries.
- Ranier Cherries: Named for the highest peak in Washington State, Rainier cherries are easy to identify, thanks to their distinctive yellow-and-red flesh. They’re slightly sweeter than Bing cherries.
- Chelan Cherries: Known also as black cherries, Chelan cherries resemble Bing cherries in appearance but have a milder taste.
- Montmorency Cherries: Michigan, Montmorency cherries are the most popular sour cherries in the U.S. You can typically find them frozen or canned, rather than fresh. Classic sour cherry pies are typically made with this variety.
- English Morello Cherries: The other popular type of sour cherry is the English Morello. You can usually find this variety jarred in light syrup at the grocery store.
- Maraschino Cherries: Chewy, bright red cherries that top Shirley Temples aren’t a cherry variety, they are sweet cherries that have been preserved in brine, sweetened, and dyed with food coloring.
- Amarena Cherries: These dark sour cherries are native to Italy and typically come bottled or jarred in syrup. These are ideal for cocktails.
So my cherry loving friends, if you’ve got some fresh cherries give this lovely, simple recipe a go and treat yourself to these seasonal buttery berry bars before summer (and cherry season) slips away.
Cherry Shortbread Bars
- For the Fruit Filling:
- 2 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- For the Shortbread Dough:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup almond almond flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut in pieces
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Step 2 Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with oil.
- Step 3 In a medium size mixing bowl, add the the cherries, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Use a large rubber tip spatula and lightly toss to coat. Set aside.
- Step 4 In the bowl of a kitchen mixer, such as a KitchenAid, fitted with a paddle attachment, add the flour, almond flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder and pulse on/off to blend.
- Step 5 Add the yolk, extract, and butter, and pulse to combine just until the dough comes together, it will look very crumbly.
- Step 6 Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of your prepared pan to form the crust. Top with the cherries. Then crumble the remaining dough evenly over the cherries. Top with the sliced almonds. Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until the dough is just the top is just beginning to turn little golden and the filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting.
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