CHERRY PIE COOKIE BARS
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
- 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
- 1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon (about a teaspoon)
- 1 tablespoon milk, plus more as needed
- 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.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, and almond extract. Let sit while making the crust.
- 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.
- Add the flour and mix until just combined and no dry streaks remain.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Drizzle the glaze over the top of the bars. Serve the bars at room temperature or slightly warm with ice cream.
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.