Sour Cherry Almond Bars

Sour Cherry Almond Bars ~ these brown sugar and oatmeal cherry almond bars are officially my new favorite sweet snack!  The cherries are nice and tart, the almond scented crumble dough is chewy and butterscotch-y ~ these are a must make!

Gather ’round if you love cherries, especially sour ones…these little sour cherry almond bars are destined to become favorites.

The word ‘crumble’ features in so many of my desserts here on rvfgi.  I just love the ease of this kind of recipe, and the way it can play with so many different kinds of fruit fillings.  Here the sour cherries mingle nicely with the brown sugar and oats, which in turn make these bars extra chewy.   Once cooled they’re easy to eat right out of hand, so even though I photographed them with a fork, you won’t need one.

Because these are so sturdy, they’re ideal for grabbing and going.  Think school, work, or travel (once you’ve made these you’ll never be a slave to pricey airport food again.)  Lunch boxes, care packages…absolutely.  This recipe makes a lot ~ you’ll get 20 decent bars ~ so you’ll still have some leftover for kitchen counter snacking…my favorite kind.

Crumble recipes can be so convenient when you use the same dough for the bottom crust and the crumble topping.

The topping bakes up and spreads just enough over the jammy surface while still allowing those vibrant cherries to peek through.  Kinda perfect.

Ingredient spotlight: SOUR CHERRY JAM

You’ll need some sour cherry jam for these bars, and I’m a big fan of Stonewall Kitchen, which is the one I used today.  It’s got that extra tang that only sour cherries can give you.  And although you could certainly make these bars with regular cherry jam, the flavor won’t be the same.  The recipe calls for 12 ounces of jam, and this jar is 12.5 ounces.  It was meant to be.  Don’t throw away the jar, either, it makes a great salad dressing shaker!

What are sour cherries?

  • Sour cherries (or Montmorency) are a variety of cherry that is very tart, and has a very short growing season.  Unless you frequent a farmers market, or are part of a CSA, you probably won’t see them in their fresh form.
  • Sour cherries are usually sold dried, frozen, or juiced.  And of course you can enjoy them in jam and other preserves.
  • If you’re lucky enough to live in the right area (California, Michigan or Wisconsin for instance) you might be able to pick your own sour cherries, check for your location in the PICK YOUR OWN farm locator.
  • Sour cherries can be in season from June through August, depending on where you live.

*The View from Great Island is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program ~ Your cost is the same, but I earn a small commission from Amazon which helps keep tvfgi in the kitchen!

Try my SWEET CHERRY ALMOND BARS if you’d like to try this with fresh cherries, and feel free to sub in fresh sour cherries in that recipe if you can source them.

Are you getting the message that I like the combination of cherries and almonds??  I also have this fun RAINIER CHERRY ALMOND TART which makes use of yet another variety of cherry.

*Lightly adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

Sour Cherry Almond Bars

Category: dessert, snack

Yield: makes 20 bars

Sour Cherry Almond Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 packed cups brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 12 ounces sour cherry jam

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper with long ends. The parchment is optional, but helps with lifting out the bars for easy cutting later. If you don't line the pan, spray or butter it lightly.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Beat in the egg, baking powder, and almond extract.
  5. With the mixer on low, beat in the flour, one cup at a time, and then the oats. Finish the mixing by hand with a big spoon, and fold in the almonds.
  6. Remove 2/3 cup of the dough and set aside for the topping. Then press the rest into the bottom of your pan. I like to crumble it all over the bottom first to distribute it, and then gently press with my fingers. Make sure to get the whole bottom surface covered.
  7. Top the dough with the jam, spreading it out into an even layer, and then crumble the remaining dough in little pieces over the top.
  8. Bake for about 35 minutes, just until the topping starts to turn golden.
  9. Let cool in the pan, on a rack, and then gently lift the bars out with the ends of the parchment paper to cut them into 20 pieces.
https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/sour-cherry-almond-bars/

Make it your own ~

  • I think chopped walnuts would be a good substitute for the almonds.
  • Other jams would work, I like apricot, marmalade, or lemon curd.  Hint: you can always add a little lemon juice to jam to give it some extra zing.
  • Regular rolled oats have the best texture for these sour cherry almond bars, but if you only have quick cooking oats, use them.

 

Don’t forget to pin these Sour Cherry Almond Bars

Sour Cherry Almond Bars ~ these brown sugar and oatmeal cherry almond bars are officially my new favorite sweet snack! The cherries are nice and tart, the almond scented crumble dough is chewy and butterscotch-y ~ these are a must make! #dessert #cherries #sourcherries #cherrybars #cherrycake #sherrysquares #cherrycrumble #coffeecake #cake #sourcherryrecipe

32 Comments

  • Reply
    Mary Conti
    March 7, 2018 at 7:13 am

    I am planning to make these for a dinner party I am hosting on Friday. It is only Wednesday. Will they keep or should I wait to make them?

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 7, 2018 at 7:45 am

      I would wait as long as you can, Mary. These will keep, but the texture is so much better fresh. If you want to get a head start you could make the dough ahead, and keep it in a zip lock baggie in the fridge, then assemble and bake later.

      • Reply
        Mary Conti
        March 7, 2018 at 9:37 am

        Thank you so much! I will do at least t part ahead.

  • Reply
    Deb
    February 22, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    I made this recipe last week for a “girl’s night” and WOW all of us enjoyed them tremendously. Today I went to 3 stores to track down more jam and when I found it I bought THREE jars so that I can make these again and again. So easy, so delicious. Thank you Sue.

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 22, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      Yay!!!

  • Reply
    Adrienne
    February 14, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    This looks great, but I’d love to make it with frozen sour cherries. I hope you will let me know how to alter the recipe.

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 14, 2018 at 7:37 pm

      Depending on how sour they are, I would defrost and make a simple jam by cooking them with sugar to taste. Once they have released a little of their juice You may want to add some cornstarch to thicken it. If they aren’t terribly sour you might defrost them and use them whole.

  • Reply
    Liz
    February 12, 2018 at 5:50 am

    Just wondering, can I use less brown sugar and will it still work on the crumb? I have cut back on sugar in my diet and now everything tastes too sweet ! What is the least amount that can be used? This dessert looks so tempting !

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 12, 2018 at 7:39 am

      I haven’t tried, Liz, great question. I assume you can reduce the sugar, and I would try for cutting it in half.

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    February 11, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    There’s nothing I love more than a good crumb bar – these look incredible!

  • Reply
    Debra Jean
    February 9, 2018 at 5:27 am

    I try to stay away from using white flour when possible in recipes. Would almond meal work with this recipe and then eliminate the almond extract?
    Thanks.

  • Reply
    JoAnn Marek
    February 7, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Just finished making these bars. I couldn’t find sour cherries at the grocery store probably because I live in Canada. I had a jar of lemon curd in my pantry so I decided to give it a try. Other than changing to lemon curd, I also put in half a cup of coconut instead of the almonds. I did this only because my husband’s favorite deserts contain lemon and coconut. I made no other changes except decreased cooking time to 30 minutes. This recipe was so good with a nice sweet/tart taste. Will keep looking for the sour cherries!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 7, 2018 at 3:20 pm

      Love this combination JoAnn, those are two of my favorite flavors but for some reason I’ve never combined them on the blog, thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Candace
    February 6, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    I made these this morning, Sue. I happened to have Mr. Squash’s favorite Black Cherry preserves, so I used that and substituted Vanilla for Almond Extract and walnuts for almonds. It’s wonderful! As usual, another terrific dessert! I’ll be making it again – especially when the sour cherries come into the valley here!
    Cheers!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 6, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      Love this Candace ~ I forgot how much I love black cherries :)

  • Reply
    Traci | Vanilla And Bean
    February 6, 2018 at 6:20 am

    Oh my goodness Sue! I loooove SK sour cherry jam! What a delicious way to enjoy it too.. I mean oats, brown sugar and butter? Hello! Deliciously captured too!

  • Reply
    Terrie
    February 5, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Theses bars look great. My question is can you freeze these?

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 5, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      These would freeze beautifully ~ just wrap them nice and airtight.

  • Reply
    Lynne
    February 5, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Sue, A new recipe is one of the best ways to start a week! I didn’t have sour cherry jam but did have a jar of red currant jelly I had put up last summer. Not quite the same but I thought that the tang of the red currant would at least be similar to the sour cherry. It worked beautifully and the bars look so pretty. Though I love the almond flavor, I think next time I might cut it back so that the oatmeal comes through a bit stronger. I used a good brand (I live in Europe so McCormicks is really hard to find) and it’s possible that it’s more concentrated as I’ve noticed this also with the vanilla flavorings here.

    The bottom line though is that the bars are gorgeous and the recipe is a keeper. Thank you so much for posting this!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 5, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      You’re so welcome, Lynne, and I bet your homemade currant jelly was delish.

  • Reply
    Albert Bevia
    February 5, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    I can see why these are your new favorite snack! the sound and look so delicious! plus I love anything with almonds in it, thank you for the recipe :)

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    February 5, 2018 at 11:17 am

    We adore anything with crumble or streusel! This looks incredibly delicious and beautiful as well.

  • Reply
    Abbe@This is How I Cook
    February 5, 2018 at 11:10 am

    I buy sour cherries every year at the farmer’s market. It’s time to get some out of the freezer! Thanks Sue!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 6, 2018 at 7:48 am

      I’m going to have to look for them this year :)

  • Reply
    Debs
    February 5, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Love these bars Sue. I’m also a HUGE fan of a crumble anything! I love the way they go chunky and crumbly with that hit of buttery brown sugar. And with that sour cherry here… divine! Pinned.

  • Reply
    Brenda Whiting
    February 5, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Two tsp. of almond extract sounds like a LOT! It’s so strong! Are you sure?

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 5, 2018 at 9:07 am

      It is a lot compared to most recipes, but I love the flavor. Feel free to reduce, but I don’t find it overpowering!

      • Reply
        Sue
        February 5, 2018 at 9:24 am

        I should also say, use a good quality, mine was McCormick, I can imagine an inferior quality extract might be overpowering.

  • Reply
    Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
    February 5, 2018 at 8:09 am

    I love using cherries in baking. These would be perfect to bake for a loved one for the big V Day or for after school snacks for my kiddos!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    February 5, 2018 at 5:22 am

    Absolutely beautiful, Sue and I love the idea of using a great jam for these. Perfect!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    February 5, 2018 at 4:27 am

    Wow, I’m a huge cherry fan and these bars look amazing! Cherries and almond are a match made in heaven!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    February 5, 2018 at 3:51 am

    These are just wonderful Sue – love the almond combination with sour cherries. I’m a big fan of Stonewall Kitchen and always have something from their long line of delicious jars in my refrigerator. Try their country ketchup sometime – wow! These are wonderful bars, so pretty and no doubt delicious – you’re right … a must try recipe!

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