The moment I laid eyes on this Triple-Cherry Streusel Bar recipe from the upcoming Bon Appetit Desserts: The Cookbook for All Things Sweet and Wonderful by Barbara Fairchild, I knew it was the perfect sweet for this month’s Eat My Blog charity bake sale. Cherries are one of my favorite summertime treats, and this bar captures their fruity profile using a combination of dried Bing cherries, tart cherry preserves, and cherry brandy.
I tested the recipe with two different streusel toppings—The Astronomer loved the cinnamon-laced one from the original recipe, but I ultimately preferred a topping recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. The mounds of buttery streusel flecked with almonds and brown sugar rounded out the flavors just right. I invite you to eat my blog on June 19.
- 1 cup dried Bing (sweet) cherries
- 1 cup tart red cherry preserves
- 2 tablespoon kirsch (clear cherry brandy)
For crust and streusel
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 18 pieces and softened
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
For the filling, combine cherries, cherry preserves, and kirsch in a food processor; blend to chunky puree. The filling can be made one day ahead. Transfer to bowl; cover and refrigerate.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with a foil sling and grease the foil. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Beat in 16 tablespoons of butter with an electric mixer at low speed until the mixture resembles wet sand, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Reserve 1 1/4 cups of the mixture for the topping.
Sprinkle the remaining mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake the crust until fragrant and the edges begin to brown, 14 to 18 minutes.
Mix the reserved flour mixture, oats, and brown sugar together in a medium bowl. Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter and pinch the mixture between your fingers into hazelnut-nut size clumps of streusel. Lastly, add in the nuts.
Spread the cherry filling over the baked crust. Sprinkle streusel topping over. Bake the bars until cherry filling is bubbling and streusel topping is golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
Let the bars cool completely in the pan, set on a wire rack, about two hours. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil, cut into squares and serve.
Makes 24 bars.
Triple-cherry filling recipe from Bon Appetit Desserts: The Cookbook for All Things Sweet and Wonderful. Crust and streusel recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.