Sour Cherry Almond Bars

cherry almond bars, with fork

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!

Sour cherry almond bars with knife

These little sour cherry almond bars are bound to become your favorites too

These bars are delicious, and so convenient to make using pantry ingredients and a jar of jam. For this crumble recipe you’ll use the same dough for the bottom crust and the crumble topping, so they’re super simple to throw together. The topping bakes up and spreads just enough over the jammy surface while still allowing those vibrant cherries to peek through. Kinda perfect.

The word ‘crumble’ features in so many of my desserts here on tvfgi. 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.

A sour cherry almond bar with fork

The difference between sour (Montmorency) cherries and regular cherries

  • Sour cherries are a variety of cherry that happens to be quite tart, and have 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.
  • They’re used in cooking rather than for eating out of hand, like sweet cherries.
  • Like so many tart fruits, sour cherries have an intensely wonderful flavor when baked, and so have a cult following among their fans.
  • You can find sour cherries in your supermarket juiced, frozen, dried, or canned.
  • 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.
Sour Cherry Almond Bar with fork on parchment paper

My sour cherry bars make great grab and go snacks

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.

cherry almond bars, with fork

I love the combination of cherries and almonds

The classic combination really shines in these bars, I use a heavy amount of almond extract in the dough. If you aren’t a fan you can substitute vanilla extract.

Try my sweet cherry almond bars for a fresh cherry version.

Sour almond cherry bars in a pan with parchment paper

Ingredient spotlight: SOUR CHERRY JAM

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!

an empty jar of jam for Sour Cherry Bars

“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.”

Deb

cherry almond bars, with fork
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3.65 from 144 votes

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!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 20 bars
Calories 244kcal
Author Sue Moran

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

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Line a 9×13 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.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Beat in the egg, baking powder, and almond extract.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes, just until the topping starts to turn golden.
  • 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.

Cook’s notes

  • 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.
*Lightly adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 296IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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81 Comments

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  • Reply
    Laura Adams
    September 2, 2022 at 9:26 am

    5 stars
    Sue, I made these yesterday as a “thank you!” to two neighbors for helping my husband to wrangle a new fridge into the house, and the old one out. They were a hit! I did substitute 1 teaspoon of vanilla for 1 of the teaspoons of almond extract. The 35-minute baking time was perfect! Golden brown, with a very slight jiggle in the center, which disappeared as they cooled. I sliced them into 1″x3″ bars, and got 39 bars from the recipe. Thanks so much for a great recipe. Sour cherries are our fave for pies, but I’d never heard of sour cherry preserves. Another new fave!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      September 2, 2022 at 1:43 pm

      Glad it was a hit, thanks Laura!

  • Reply
    Julia
    August 15, 2022 at 1:55 pm

    5 stars
    New favorite recipe, and great to share with a crowd. I have already made these bars twice in the past 2 weeks, and my co-workers begged for the recipe! My huge cherry tree produces tiny but tasty sour cherries, and after picking and laboriously processing them into jam, I wanted a recipe that would let the jam be the star. The strong almond flavor of the crust highlights the tart cherry flavor beautifully, and the crunchy crust and topping is divine. The second time I made these, I had fresh blackberries to use up (it’s summer in the PNW), so I used a thin layer of the cherry jam (about 3/4 cup) and added 2 cups of blackberries tossed with 1 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp cornstarch. I like the original recipe a bit better, but it’s a great way to highlight fresh fruit or a favorite jam.

    My only issue is that these bars took much longer to bake than the recipe called for—about 50 minutes in my glass 9×13” pan. The dough topping in the middle was still uncooked and soft at 35 minutes. Same issue when I used 2 smaller pans the second time. Maybe it’s my oven? But I think the extra cooking time allowed for more caramelization of the crust and jam, so the result was worth the wait.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      August 15, 2022 at 7:28 pm

      I love your variation Julia ~ the combination of berries sounds so good. And baking time is always an estimate, even for me, using the same pans and oven, times are always a bit different. Possibly the blackberries made your filling wetter?

  • Reply
    Carolyn
    June 28, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    5 stars
    I just posted a comment but forgot to rate the recipe! It’s 5 stars from me!

  • Reply
    Carolyn
    June 28, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    My son picked up sour cherries by mistake so l made these bars! They were delicious. I pitted and halved the cherries to yield 2 cups. I sprinkled the flaked almonds on the top rather than incorporating into the batter so I could leave a little nut free. Next time I make this recipe I’ll experiment with shredded coconut. It’s a keeper!

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