Sour Cherry Pie Bars

5004110

Remember how I was telling you about how it has become something of a tradition for me to bring baked goods into work on Friday mornings for the office staff to enjoy? Well recently there has been some hot debate among my colleagues over which treat has been the best out of everything that I have brought in so far. Based on the opinions I have heard, the top two vote getters’ so far have probably been my Blueberry Oatmeal Crumb Bars and the White Chocolate Raspberry Sweet Rolls.

My boss is of the opinion that the Blueberry Oatmeal Crumb Bars were the absolute best and over the past couple of weeks he has been not so subtly hinting that he would like me to make another batch. Last week he came up to me and said “You know what was good? Those blueberry bars you made a few weeks ago… we should bring some of those back into the office. “ Super subtle right? (Not.) Never the less, I aim to please and decided that the next thing I bring in for Friday treat day would be a nod to his favourite Blueberry Oatmeal Crumb Bars.

1408684755

Now while I too LOVE those Blueberry Oatmeal Crumb Bars as much as my boss does -(okay, maybe he loves them a bit more) – I didn’t want to just bring in an exact replica of them into the office again for our weekly baked good because thus far I have had way too much fun trying out a new recipe every week. Thus, I decided I would bring in a treat that used the same basic ideas, with a few flavour changes to keep things fresh & exciting.

So because Cole and I had recently made a trip up to the Okanagan to purchase cornucopias amounts of fresh fruit, I happened to have a ton of leftover cherries, which I hadn’t yet established a plan for (besides just eating them all.) Thus, I figured I could swap out the blueberry filling in the bars for an irresistible Okanagan cherry filling instead – ohhhh yes!

Okay- before I continue, I just need to take a moment to talk about these cherries because they really were showstoppers. I had recently bought some cherries a few weeks before our little fruit road trip at the grocery store and they just didn’t even compare to the ones we got from Keremeos. These cherries were absolutely true to their Okanagan goodness, and were so incredibly sweet and flavourful. They were so good that Cole and I successfully managed to make a sizable dent in the box just from eating them on the car ride home from Keremeos fruit stands. So if you find yourself coming or going to the Okanagan any time soon, you MUST take the scenic route through Princeton, Keremeos, Penticton and Peachland so that you can stop to get some. Yes, this route will add some time to your trip, but you will then have delicious fruits to munch on for the rest of your drive – Yes Please!

Okay – back to the baking…
So as I was dreaming up these cherry crumb bars in my mind, I decided it would be fun to add some fresh lime to their mix to play off of just how deliciously sweet they were, and create an irresistible sour cherry filling – drool. Next, I had to decide what to do with the crust and the crumb topping and although I am sure that just replicating the Oatmeal Crumb crust from the Blueberry Oatmeal Crumb Bars would have been delicious, I wanted to change up the crumble crust/ topping a little bit to better suite the flavour combination with the new cherry filling. After a bit of contemplation, I thought that a sweet and buttery shortbread crust would pair absolutely beautifully with the sour cherry filling and voila! – I had myself a new recipe for Sour Cherry Pie Bars… mhmm!

Seriously this name alone is enough to make my mouth water…. must compose myself. If you are a cherry lover -or even if you aren’t- these Sour Cherry Pie Bars are sure to have you swooning! The natural sweetness of the cherries combined with the fresh, tart lime juice is such a divine flavour combination and when you cook these ingredients to ooey-gooey perfection with a flakey, buttery shortbread crust… I don’t think I need to say more. These bars were absolutely perfect and such a great way to use fresh cherries while they are in season. I won’t keep the recipe from you any longer – Here it is!

1408684882

Sour Cherry Pie Bars

Things you need… 

Sour Cherry Filling
4 cups Fresh Cherries, pitted and cut into quarters
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
3 tbsp Lime Juice
1/2 tsp Vanilla
3 tbsp cornstarch

Shortbread Crust & Crumble Topping
3/4 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 tbsp Lime Zest
2 cups Flour
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Salt

3/4 cup Sliced Almonds
1 tbsp butter

How to make… 

Sour Cherry Filling
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, mix the cherries, lime juice, vanilla and granulated sugar; bring to boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer to 10-15 minutes or until the cherries are completely broken down. To speed the process along, you can mash the cherries with a potato masher as well. Once the cherries are broken down, mix the cornstarch with 3 tbsp of cold water to dissolve- add to the cherries. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook for another 5 minutes until the mixture thickens.

Remove the sauce pan from heat and transfer filling into a heat-proof bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling and place in the fridge. Allow the filling to cool completely – this should take about 1 hour. Alternatively you can make this filling a few hours or the night before you assemble your crust, (that way you aren’t stuck impatiently waiting on the filling to cool.)

Shortbread Crust & Crumble Topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9″x11″ baking pan with butter and parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy.

Press half of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the pan, being sure to press into all of the corners. Next, remove your filling from the fridge, and pour on top of the shortbread crust; Spread the filling evenly over the crust using a spatula.

Mix remaining shortbread crumble mixture with the sliced almonds and melted butter until crumbly. Sprinkle the remaining shortbread crumble on top of the cherry filling, covering the top completely.

Bake in the center of your oven for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cherry filling begins to bubble.

Allow to cool on a rack for 2 hours before serving. Use the overhang of the parchment paper, lift your bar out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into 12 equal parts for large bars or 16 smaller bars.

1408685029

You can serve these bars warm with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream (sooo delicious) or they make the perfect on-the-go breakfast, morning or afternoon snack after they have cooled! No matter how you eat them, they are sure to be delicious and have you returning to the pan to cut yourself another piece – Yeahh…. these bars definitely caused a case of the … oh I will just take another little sliver, but then when you repeat this process ten times over it really just amounts to you consuming half the pan.

Not only are these Sour Cherry Bars absolutely divine, the recipe is also a great example of how you can modify one of your existing recipes quite easily and achieve amazing results! Don’t be afraid to take a good recipe that you already have and put your own flavour spin on it! It is really quite simple to just swap out ingredients here and there to create an end product that it truly your own creation, (and it is so much fun to do!)

Cole and I are headed up to Kelowna for the next week so it will be a couple weeks until my next post! So until then….

Happy Baking!!!

KP xoxox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *