Desserts

Cherry Almond Bars

These scrumptious cherry almond bars have a homemade filling without the work of pitting cherries! The shortbread-style crust and topping have crunchy toasted almonds infused with almond extract that melts in your mouth. A great crowd-pleasing treat perfect for summer and all year

Im not a fan of the cherry pie filling or canned fruit filling. It’s loaded with sugar! And the thought of pitting cherries sounds daunting. Are you with me? Therefore I never made cherry bars…until I came across a recipe last year that used fresh jarred/canned cherries. So I got to work.

It’s the perfect kitchen hack! It only takes minutes, and homemade cherry pie filling tastes so much better than the store-bought canned version. And because I’m a crust gal, there has to be more crust to fruit, but it’s pretty equal with these.

These tasty treats are like a cherry pies disguised as bars. And you’ll love the almond flavors throughout these cherry bars too. Toasted almonds in the crust and topping, and almond extract in the filling and crust. Buttery, fruity, soft, and nutty! I hope you love these cherry almond bars as much as we do.
Enjoy!

xx Teri

Ingredient Notes, And Substitutions

Ingredients for the cherry almond bars

Cherries ~ my preference is the canned, fresh tart cherries in water (not syrup), which is the “juice” you use to make the filling. You can substitute fresh or frozen, but canned is a great time saver, not to mention just as healthy as fresh. Yes- I used fresh cherries in my pictures. They are more photogenic than canned or jarred 😉

Almonds ~ I used sliced. You can use slivered or chopped whole almonds. Or use any nut you prefer.

Sugar ~ for both the cherry mixture and crust/topping. Cut back on the sugar in the cherry mixture if you prefer more tartness.

Lemon ~ only a small amount goes in the filling. It adds a bright and fresh flavor and cuts through the heaviness.

Flour ~ all-purpose flour. I have yet to try this recipe with other types of flour.

Butter ~ Mostly for the crust, but the cherry filling gets a bit to create that glossy look and taste a little richer.

Almond icing ~ optional. Powdered sugar, milk, and almond extract. You can substitute the milk with heavy cream, half and half or any nut or seed milk can be used.

Almond icing being drizzled on the cherry almond bars
Can I use a different baking pan?

You bet! A 9 x 13-inch pan would require you to double the recipe. Perfect for a large crowd. Or try a 9 in spring for pan, and slice it like a pie. And you don’t need to roll out any dough, and it’s a beautiful presentation.

Would any fruit work?

Sure would. A berry medley or stone fruit such as peaches, apricots, and plums would be delicious. Get crazy and try a mixture. Blueberry and apricot come to mind.

Storing & Freezing

  • Store the baked cherry bars in an air-tight container for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Line the container with a paper towel to absorb the moisture from the filling.
  • To freeze, layer the bars with parchment paper in an air-tight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

How To Make Cherry Almond Bars

Below you will find the full printable recipe with ingredients and amounts, but here is a quick run-through.

For the filling

  1. Add the reserved cherry juice, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch to a medium size saucepan. Whisk until all the cornstarch has dissolved.
  2. Turn the heat to medium, and whisk (slowly) until the liquid becomes bubbly and thickens. Turn off the heat and remove from the stove.
  3. Add the almond extract and butter, and stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the cherries, stir, then set aside to cool. If making ahead, cool completely and store in the fridge until ready to use.

For the crust and topping

  1. Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the room-temperature butter and the almond extract. Mix the butter and flour with a pastry cutter, a fork, or fingers until the mixture is crumbly. If you squeeze it in your hand, it should hold together.
  3. Add the almonds, and stir to combine. Press 1/2 to 3/4 of the mixture into the prepared 8×8 pan.
  4. Chill the dough for about 20 minutes. Once chilled, add the cooled cherry filling and top with the remaining dough mixture.
  5. Bake @ 350 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes until the top is golden brown and the cherries are bubbly. Cool completely before cutting. I find that they cut butter when they are very chilled.
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Cherry Almond Bars


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  • Author: Teri Wallingford
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes, not including chilling the dough
  • Yield: 16 bars 1x

Description

These scrumptious cherry almond bars have a homemade filling without the work of pitting cherries! The shortbread-style crust and topping have crunchy toasted almonds infused with almond extract that melts in your mouth.


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the filling

  • 24 ounces cherries in water drained* SEE NOTES BELOW
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons PLUS 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract for your taste preference.
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter

For the crust and topping

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped or slivered almonds
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Optional

For the almond icing ** SEE NOTES BELOW

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk, half and half, or any milk alternative
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.


Instructions

For the filling

  1. Add the reserved cherry juice, sugar, salt, lemon juice, and cornstarch to a medium size saucepan. Whisk until all the cornstarch has dissolved. It will look cloudy- that’s ok. It will turn clear once cooked. Turn the heat to medium, and whisk (slowly) until the liquid becomes bubbly and thickens. Turn off the heat and remove from the stove.
  2. Add the almond extract and butter, and stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the cherries, stir, then set aside to cool. If making ahead, cool completely and store in the fridge until ready to use.

For the crust and topping

  1. Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium size mixing bowl.
  2. Add the room-temperature butter and the almond extract. Mix the butter and flour with a pastry cutter, a fork, or fingers until the mixture is crumbly. If you squeeze it in your hand, it should hold together.
  3. Add the almonds, and stir to combine.
  4. Press 1/2 to 3/4  of the mixture into the prepared 8×8 pan. (for a thicker crust, add 3/4 cup)Chill the dough for about 20 minutes. Once chilled, add the cooled cherry filling and top with the remaining dough mixture.
  5. Bake @ 350 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes until the top is golden brown and the cherries are bubbly. Cool completely before cutting. I find that they cut butter when they are very chilled.
  6. Drizzle the almond icing over the bars

Notes

* Cherries in water come in cans and jars. If you can find the 24-ounce jars -perfect. The cans are usually around 15 ounces. I used two cans for this recipe and froze the remainder juice and cherries.

**You can substitute the milk with heavy cream, half and half, or any nut or seed milk can be used. If you do not want to use the almond extract, substitute lemon juice, water, or vanilla. You can create the desired consistency by adding more powdered sugar or milk.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

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