Sweet Cherry Almond 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. The Commission oversees more than 2,500 growers in the Northwest providing us with the highest quality stone fruit. Thanks for supporting me and the brands I work with, I only bring you the best of the best!
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, 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.
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.
My first bite of one of these Sweet Cherry Almond Bars reminded me that the only way you can get this fresh cherry flavor in baking is to use fresh cherries. Frozen fruit or cherries from cans or jars just isn’t going to cut it. 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!
Recipe adapted from Just So Tasty
- about 14 ounces of pitted cherries, halved or rough chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) cold, unsalted butter cut in pieces
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- Set oven to 350F
- Lightly spray an 8x8 baking pan
- 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.
- 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.