Is there anything better than a dessert that tastes amazing, yet comes together easily and consists of just three components – one of which is store-bought pie filling, mind you…these cheery cherry bars are lip-smackingly good and we can’t get enough of them! All you need to do here is make a tasty dough (that’s going to work as both the crust and the top crumble of your bars) and an almond-tinged glaze that’s going to coat your cherry filling and top crumble deliciously. Let’s get into it!
While you’re more than welcome to make a from-scratch fruit filling for these bars, we have to say, we unabashedly love a plain, ol’ can of cherry pie filling and think it’s a great way to save time and get these bars on the table even faster. When that sweet tooth craving hits, you want to have a whole arsenal of recipes to choose from that will satiate it as soon as possible! So you’ve got your pie filling, now it’s just a matter of making the dough, which is a breeze to make. As you would with a cake, you’ll mix together your dry ingredients, then cream together your butter and sugar in a separate bowl. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, then mix in the dry ingredients – that’s it! Two thirds of the dough get pressed into a baking sheet – just keep pressing, it’ll fit to the edges of the pan in time – then the cherry filling goes on, then you just have to crumble the remaining dough on top and you’re all set.
It goes into the oven and bakes for about half an hour, and you’ll take it out and let it cool before adding the glaze. Speaking of which, the glaze is super simple and is just a matter of whisking together powdered sugar, milk and almond extract. The almond extract is the secret ingredient here that really ties everything together and perfectly complements the cherry filling; you could use vanilla extract instead, but trust us when we say the almond extract adds a little something special. Pour that baby over your cherry bars and you’ve got yourself a dessert to write home about!
Serves 8-10; 40 minutes
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350º F and lightly grease a 13x17-inch jelly roll pan with butter or non-stick spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes, or until fluffy and lightened in color.
- Beat in eggs one at a time, then mix in vanilla extract.
- Gradually beat in flour mixture until just incorporated, then spread 2/3 dough mixture into greased baking sheet.
- Spread cherry pie filling into an even layer on top of dough, then crumble or drop remaining dough on top of pie filling.
- Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 33-35 minutes, or until edges of crust are just golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- To make glaze: whisk milk and almond extract into powdered sugar, adding 1/2-1 tablespoon more milk in if needed.
- Drizzle glaze on top of cooled cherry bars, then let set before slicing and serving.
Recipe adapted from Lil' Luna