CHERRY PIE COOKIE BARS


INGREDIENTS
CHERRY PIE FILLING:
  • 5 cups fresh Bing/sweet cherries, pitted and halved (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds) - see note
  • 1/3 cup (2.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1-2 drops almond extract
COOKIE DOUGH:
  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons, 8 ounces) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (7.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 1/4 cups (11.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
GLAZE:
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about a teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon milk, plus more as needed
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For easier cleanup, line a 9X13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly grease the foil with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, and almond extract. Let sit while making the crust.
  3. For the cookie dough, with an electric mixer (handheld or stand mixer), cream together the butter, sugar, milk (or buttermilk), baking powder, baking soda, and salt until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk. Mix until well-combined.
  4. Add the flour and mix until just combined and no dry streaks remain.
  5. Take 2/3 of the dough (more or less) and press into the bottom of the pan. It helps to drop pieces relatively evenly across the bottom before spreading into an even layer. I use my hands - makes it super easy.
  6. Give the cherry filling a good stir and pour over the top of the bottom crust. Pinch off quoter-size pieces of the remaining dough and drop on top. It won't cover the cherry filling all the way but will puff and spread while baking.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cherry filling is bubbling and the edges of the dough are lightly golden. Let the bars cool completely.
  8. For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon zest and milk until thick and pourable (add milk a little at a time if needed to thin the consistency).
  9. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the bars. Serve the bars at room temperature or slightly warm with ice cream.

NOTES
With cherry season upon us, I highly recommend using fresh sweet cherries for this recipe, however, I think it would work fine with frozen cherries. If it were me, I'd thaw completely and drain excess liquid before using in the recipe.

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