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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Sour Cherry Almond Bars
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Questions and Reviews
Hello, I’m going to try your sour cherry receipe but what do you mean by 2 sticks of butter.
Hey Diana, 2 sticks is 1 cup or 226 grams.
Awesome recipe. Easy to make esp because of the same batter for the bottom and top. I have homemade sour plum preserves (“povidla”) that needed to get used, which was nice paired with the almond flavor. I made the whole 9×13 recipe and gave away some to 2 friends who raved.
Made these bars yesterday. Absolutely delicious. Didn’t have almonds so used walnuts. Couldn’t find Stonewall Kitchen sour cherry jam locally so ordered on Amazon. It was delivered next day.
Love all Stonewall products. A visit to their amazing Flagship Store in Maine is a must for anyone visiting that area. Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Sue
This recipe is simple and delicious. I halved it and wish I would have made the 9×13 – a hit with everyone in my family. I used cherry preserves on half and sliced peeled peaches on the other. The peach portion was perfectly cooked through in the suggested time.
Love the combo you came up with!
Sue, I live for this recipe! But I find myself and family dipping the bars in tea or milk as they go really dry. I live in a really hot and dry city in Canada, and due to our climate. I typically add oil or butter to my recipe cause I know that lots of my food will turn dry if I don’t.
Is there anything I could add to this recipe to make it more moist?
Hannah if you’re still checking in, I’ve lived in Canada ( Metro Vancouver BC ) for over 75 years and am ever so curious as to what really hot and dry city and climate in Canada you live that most Canadians don’t know of, because I’d love to move there rather than be thinking of joining the Canadian snowbirds who head south to a warm place to spend the winter months.
Also, I can only guess you must have missed the ingredient list for this recipes that states 1 cup of butter is needed, as that would take care of your worry about the bars being really dry.
can I substitute fresh frozen sour cherries for the jam?
Sue l am completely obsessed with these sour cherry almond bars! I live in Canada and found a local fruit/vegetable store that sells sour cherries frozen and already pitted. I have made these bars and taken them in to work and l was told this is the best dessert l have ever brought in! I look so forward to trying your other recipes! Thanks again.
What a great resource you have for sour cherries! Enjoy Teri, and hope you find lots more to try here 🙂
have you tried this recipe with gluten free flour?
I haven’t but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. The texture will be different, but if you eat gluten free you’ll know what to expect.
Sue, l was given some sour cherries and would like to try these bars but dont have the jam. Can l just use sour cherries instead?
You can, but you’re going to want to briefly cook them down with some sugar and maybe a little liquid to make a jam-like consistency.
If l have about 2-3 cups of sour cherries do you know how much sugar and liquid (water?) I should add? Thank you for your response!
Pit and give them a rough chop, then just add enough water to get them started cooking and breaking down into a jam. Add sugar to taste. Cook until the mixture is thick, you may want to puree or use an immersion blender to blend to a smoother consistency, then let cool, then chill before using. The jam will thicken further as it chills.
Thank you! I can’t wait to try these!!
Well Sue l made my jam and the bars. They are sooo good! This is definately a keeper recipe. Now l will have to wait until sour cherries are in season again. I am from Canada and my boss gave me some and said to do whatever l want with them. Thanks for posting.
I am looking for a way to use jars of sourcherries in juice. How do I turn these into sour jam?
You’d need to chop and then cook down on the stove until thick Evie. You will probably want to puree or use an immersion blender to blend them up. Sweeten to taste. Cook until they are thick, then cool, then chill overnight.