If you love the flavor of a traditional cherry pie but prefer the simplicity of a cookie bar, then this is the recipe for you! This luscious sweet treat has a shortbread base, cherry preserves in the center, and sliced almonds on top. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to bake!
I recently posted a recipe for Pecan Pie Bars. It has a lovely shortbread crust. I got to thinking about how I might like to vary that recipe.
A quick glance in my refrigerator revealed three jars of preserves I purchased at a specialty shop in a small town in Central Texas. The one that jumped out at me was the jar of cherry preserves.
I don’t know about you, but I love cherries. They’re sweet. . .but not too sweet. Tart. . .but not too tart. And, because they’re sticky and thick, I felt they would be perfect for the filling on these bars.
Cherry and Almonds Go Together
My pecan pie bars are topped with pecans, of course. But for these cherry bars I wanted something that might be a better fit with the cherries. I got to thinking about how much I love the combination of cherry and almond.
That’s how I came up with the idea to top this recipe with sliced almonds. I just happened to have half a cup left from my Almond Tea Cakes recipe that I baked a few weeks back.
I also opted to add 1/2 a teaspoon of almond extract to the shortbread crust in place of the usual vanilla extract. It just made sense, with the almonds on top.
Ingredients for Cherry Almond Bars
You will find a full printable recipe at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’re going to need.
FOR THE CRUST
Check out these simple crust ingredients!
- all-purpose flour
- powdered sugar
- room temperature butter (salted or unsalted butter, your choice)
- almond extract
FOR THE FILLING
- a full jar of cherry preserves (you can opt for a different flavor if you prefer)
FOR THE TOPPING
- sliced almonds
Simple, right? And putting this together is just as simple!
How to Make these Easy Cherry Almond Bars
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spray a 7 x 11-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add a piece of parchment paper (sideways, leaving extra on each side).
Note: You can make this recipe in a 9 x 11-inch pan but the bars will be thinner.
Mix up your crust. Place flour, room temperature butter, powdered sugar, and almond extract in a bowl. Mix with an electric hand mixer or stir by hand with a wooden spoon. (You could even use a pastry cutter if you prefer.)
I’ve mentioned before that I use a large serving fork for projects like these.
Once your dough starts to come together, dump it into the baking dish. (Check out those coarse crumbs!)
Press down with your fingertips or use the bottom of a cup or measuring cup to pat the dough into place. (This is such an easy shortbread crust!)
Place in preheated oven and bake crust for 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the very edges.
While it’s baking, soften the cherry preserves. Empty them into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for a minute or until you’re able to stir them with no difficulty.
Pour the preserves on the hot crust and spread evenly.
Cover with almonds and place back in the oven.
Continue to bake for 30 minutes or until the almonds begin to crisp up.
Remove from oven and place baking dish on a wire rack to cool.
Once you can handle the dish, cover and place in the refrigerator for a full hour.
Remove from refrigerator and loosen from the sides of the pan with a sharp knife. Lift from the pan using the parchment paper.
Place on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 squares. They are sticky, so handle carefully!
If you prefer, you can serve with clotted cream. (I happen to be making some tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes!)
What to Expect from these Gooey Cherry Almond Bars
First of all, you’re welcome. You’re welcome for the idea. You’re welcome for the swooning. You’re welcome for the ease.
You’re welcome for the buttery shortbread crust.
These were perfect. Just the right combination of sticky and crunchy. Just the right amount of sweetness, balanced with the tartness of the cherries. Just the correct balance of almond to cherry.
I don’t know if I’m just relieved to have created something that actually worked (ahem) or if I’m tickled that it came together so easily. Regardless, you’re welcome.
These will be ideal for a church gathering, a family get-together, your Bible study group, or even a holiday event, like the 4th of July, Christmas Dinner, or Thanksgiving dessert. I can even picture these for a Valentine’s Day treat.
I love the fact that they’re easy to handle and don’t require a fork to eat. (Call me lazy, I don’t care.) They’ve got the flavor of a cherry pie but without the mess. Okay, they’re a little sticky but that’s not a bad thing, trust me. And that added crunch on top is just perfect with the sweet shortbread crust.
(If you’ve made my Cut-Out Sugar Cookies you know that I’m a huge fan of shortbread!)
How to Store these Yummy Cherry Bars
I wasn’t sure if these would need to be refrigerated or not, to be honest! I did a bit of research and ended up at ehow.com where I read this:
In most cases, you can safely store cookies made with fruit preserves at room temperature for up to five days. Although the fruit in the preserves will eventually spoil at room temperature, its high sugar content acts as a temporary preservative.
As always, you need to store these sweet treats in an airtight container. You will need to place them side-by-side because they’ll stick together if you stack them. I ended up putting mine back into the baking dish and covering it with plastic wrap.
See this recipe at
Variations on this Recipe
I love this recipe and highly recommend it.
Because it was so easy to make, I think I can change it up and make it half a dozen different ways! Here are some things I might try in place of cherry preserves and almonds:
Lemon Blueberry Bars:
Add lemon extract to the crust and use blueberry preserves. Top with the nuts of your choice or skip the nuts and serve with a scoop of ice cream.
Strawberry Shortcake Bars:
Use the same base crust but add strawberry preserves in place of cherry. Skip the topping and (once thoroughly cooled and chilled) add a dollop of whipped cream on top of each bar.
Chocolate Pudding Bars:
Use this shortbread recipe to make pudding bars. Bake crust for 30 minutes or until golden (times may vary). Cool and top with chocolate pudding and then a layer of whipped cream.
Other Cookies and Bars
- If you enjoyed this recipe you’re going to love my Simple Pecan Pie Bars. They’re simple and loaded with flavor!
- My Easy Thumbprint Cookies have a preserves base. They’re so tasty!
- If you love baking with preserves you’re also going to love my Cake Mix Kolaches. You can add the preserves of your choice. (I went with strawberry.)
- I found a tasty-looking recipe for Cherry Almond Granola Bars over at the Minimalist Baker site. These look like something I would love!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this yummy recipe! I can hardly wait to share these with my family and friends. In the meantime, let me leave you with one of my favorite verses.
The Lord will finish the work He started for me. O Lord, Your loving-kindness lasts forever. Do not turn away from the works of Your hands.
Psalm 138:8 NLV
About the Author
Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 1 cup plus two tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup room temperature butter (salted or unsalted, your choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 1 full jar cherry preserves (16 oz)
- FOR THE TOPPING:
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Prepare 11 x 7 inch baking dish by spraying with non-stick spray. Add a piece of parchment paper, leaving the excess on the sides to assist with lifting after the bars cool.
- Combine flour, powdered sugar, butter and almond extract and mix until it comes together. (You can use an electric mixer or mix by hand, your choice.)
- Press dough into the bottom of the pan (on top of the parchment paper).
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Place preserves in a microwave safe bowl and soften in the microwave for a minute or until they can easily be stirred.
- Place the preserves on the warm-from-the-oven crust.
- Cover in sliced almonds.
- Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until bubbly and set. Almonds will start to crisp up.
- Remove the dish from the oven and place on wire rack to cool.
- When you can handle the pan, cover and place in the refrigerator for a full hour to chill.
- Remove from refrigerator and lift from pan using the parchment paper.
- Place on a chopping board.
- Cut into 15 squares.
- Serve with a dollop of clotted cream if you like.
- Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to five days.