President's Day Cherry Squares

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Recipe photo

President's Day Cherry Squares

star rating (4) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

Part bar, part fruit crumble, these tangy treats are a sweet way to commemorate, yet again, that childhood story of George Washington chopping down the cherry tree. While you can use cherry pie filling as their center, homemade cherry filling is much, MUCH tastier. Because these squares are crumbly-crisp, for easiest handling they're best served on a plate, with a fork (and with ice cream or whipped cream, just to take them totally over the top!) Warm them in the microwave briefly, if desired.

Filling
Two 14.5-ounce cans pitted sour cherries (2 1/2 to 3 cups
  drained, juice reserved, 20 ounces); or 6 cups (24 ounces) frozen pitted sour   cherries, thawed, drained, juice reserved
2/3 cup (5 3/8 ounces) reserved cherry juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
3 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Crust
1 1/2 cups (5 1/4 ounces) traditional rolled oats
1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose
  Flour or King Arthur Organic White Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) brown sugar, light or dark, packed
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (2 ounces) sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 9" pan.

To make the filling: Measure out 2/3 cup of the reserved cherry juice. In a small saucepan, combine the cherries, juice, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Whisk the sugar with the cornstarch, and stir into the cherries. Simmer the mixture, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes (if you're using canned cherries); or for 20 minutes (if you're using thawed frozen). It'll thicken and look like canned cherry pie filling (but taste a WHOLE lot better). Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the vanilla and almond extracts, and set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the crust.

To make the crust: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the oats or barley, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the melted butter, stirring till everything is well combined.

To assemble the bars: Press 2 1/2 cups (about 14 ounces) of the crust mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing it out to completely cover the bottom of the pan, with no gaps showing. Top the crust with the filling. Add the almonds to the remaining crust mixture, and sprinkle it over the filling.

Bake the squares for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove the squares from the oven, and allow them to cool before cutting into 2" squares. Yield: 16 squares.

Reviews

1
  • star rating 12/30/2011
  • Andrea from Vallejo,CA
  • This is SOOOO good! Don't even consider using the canned cherry filling. The home made version in this recipe is so delicous! Let it cool some and then top with a little vanilla ice cream.. Heaven!
  • star rating 12/20/2011
  • santone from KAF Community
  • Very yummy! I used frozen cherries from Whole Foods. The flavors are very well balanced. Mine looked just like the photo, a nice bonus!
  • star rating 10/31/2010
  • clzjjw from KAF Community
  • I did not have canned cherries, so I substituted canned pears and added some dried cherries. This recipe is amazingly good! Thanks, KAF, for inspiring me time and again.
  • star rating 02/17/2009
  • Helena Georgette from California
  • We had this for a few years now on President's Day. I reduced the brown sugar by 1/4 cup in the crust and topping. I think next year I will reduce the brown sugar by 1/3 cup. I also used half white whole wheat flour. Thanks for a very good recipe!
1