Sweet Cherry Bars are one of the many ways I’m celebrating #cherryseason this year— my buttery almond shortbread crust shows off juicy fresh cherries to perfection.
*This post is in association with The Washington State Fruit Commission.
I know, I know, first you’ll want to eat as many cherries as possible right out of hand…I get it. But after you’ve done that, try these sweet cherry bars, they’re fantastic. This is the first of many things I’ll make with my windfall of Northwest Cherries from Washington State. I’ve been a part of the Canbasador program for a couple of years now, helping to get the word out about Washington State stone fruit and ways to enjoy it. It’s like Christmas morning when my annual shipment of fruit arrives. This year I’m sharing their gorgeous (and ginormous!) sweet cherries.
Table of contents
I’m on a major almond kick after yesterday’s Toasted Almond Milkshake, and luckily cherries and almonds are best buds. Just like in my milkshake, I’ve added layers of almond flavor throughout this easy recipe. The shortbread dough comes together quickly in the food processor, and then part of it forms the bottom crust, and the rest gets crumbled on top of the cherries.
sweet cherry bars ingredients
- pitted sweet cherries
- lemon juice
- almond extract
- almond flour
- baking powder
- egg yolk
- almond extract
- sliced almonds
best cherries for these bars
My first bite of one of these sweet almond bars reminded me that the only way you can get this fresh cherry flavor in baking is to use fresh cherries. And while you can technically use frozen fruit or cherries from cans or jars it isn’t going to be quite the same as using fresh fruit.
Sweet cherries are in season (in the US) from May to July. The two most common types you’re likely to see in your markets are:
Bing: The undisputed king of American sweet cherries, Bings are large, heart-shaped with a glossy dark red color.
Rainier: These beautiful golden yellow cherries with a blush of red on one side are a delightful eye-catcher. They’re slightly less sweet than Bings but have a delicate floral aroma and firm texture.
how to pit cherries
And if you avoid cooking with fresh cherries because of the pitting issue, buy yourself a cherry pitter, it took me only a few minutes to pit the cherries for these bars. You can find these inexpensive gadgets on Amazon, here. I love how they shoot the pits out cleanly and quickly, it’s fun!
notes on sweet cherry bars
- These are delicious for breakfast, so I keep the leftovers loosely covered on the counter overnight.
- If you don’t like almond extract, use vanilla extract instead.
- You can make your own almond meal by grinding whole almonds in a food processor.
“Just have to tell you, I own a home-baking business, with a stall at a local Farmers market here in Vancouver. I made your Cherry Almond bars to sell at last week’s market, and were they ever a hit! Completely sold out, and people were looking for them again this week. I think they will become part of our regular rotation for sure!” ~Liz
Sweet Cherry Almond Bars
- 8×8 square baking pan
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- Set oven to 350°F.
- Lightly spray an 8×8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Stir together the cherries with the sugar, lemon juice, extract, and cornstarch. Set aside, tossing occasionally to encourage some of the juices to start flowing.
- Put the flour, almond meal, sugar, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Add the yolk, extract, and butter, and pulse or process to combine just until the dough comes together, it will be crumbly.
- Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of your pan to form the crust. Top with the cherries. Then crumble the remaining dough evenly over the cherries. Top with the sliced almonds and bake for about 40 minutes until the dough is just golden and the filling is bubbling.
- Let cool before cutting.