~ Sweet Treats: Sour-Cherry-Pie Cookie Squares ~
When it comes to cherry desserts, these sweet little easy-to-make cherry treats hold their own amongst the heavy hitters. I can't lie either, this is not an original recipe of mine, it is my amped-up version of one that came straight from the pages of Taste of Home magazine, which, as most home cooks know, is one of a handful of reliable sources for good-tasting, easy-to-make, family-friendly, kitchen-tested recipes made from readily-available or on-hand ingredients.
When it comes to baking fruit pies, tarts and galettes, with few exceptions, I never consider using pre-cooked, store-bought, canned pie filling (which is what the Taste of Home version specified). Lots of people do, and, I'm not here to criticize. If the end justifies the means, there is nothing wrong with pre-cooked. In fact, it's a commonly used, kid-tested, mother-approved method. There's more. Even when I'm faced with an over-abundance of fruit, depending on the fruit, whenever it's applicable, I choose freezing the fruit or cooked fruit concoction over the more laborious option: water-bath canning. That said, when I'm baking certain confections, like fruit-filled pastries and today's sour-cherry-pie cookie bars, like everyone else, I do have a need for pre-cooked fruit filling -- but, no matter how convenient, I avoid the urge to buy a can of the store-bought stuff. Click on the Related Article link below to get my recipe for ~ Seriously Simple Stovetop Sour Cherry Pie Filling ~.
What happens when cookie crust meets pie filling?
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup salted butter, at room temperature (2 sticks)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure cherry extract (Note: I purchase this on-line from www.OliveNation.com. If you bake a lot of cherry desserts, this extract will take any recipe over-the-top. I highly recommend adding a bottle of it to your pantry, and, check out all of their other flavors too.)
1/2 teaspoon each: pure almond and pure vanilla extract
4 cups cherry pie filling, preferably my recipe for homemade ~ Seriously Simple Stovetop Sour Cherry Pie Filling ~
no-stick cooking spray, for preparing baking dish
~ Step 2. In a large bowl, starting on low speed of hand-held electric mixer and working up to high speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light-colored and fluffy, about 1 1/2-2 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl almost constantly.
Moisten your fingertips with a bit of water, then pat and press batter evenly across bottom of the dish to form a thin, even cookie crust layer.
~ Step 8. Using an ordinary teaspoon, dollop 1/2 teaspoonfuls of reserved batter strategically over the pie filling. After that, dollop around the perimeter and fill in center spaces until all batter has been used.
~ Step 10. Place pan on a rack to cool completely, 4-6 hours. For neater squares, place cooled pan of squares, uncovered, in refrigerator for 2-4 more hours. Slice into squares, and individually: dust each one with Confectioners' sugar, top with ice cream, or, glaze with the following,
1 cup Confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon cherry extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons milk
1 drop red food coloring
~ Step 1. Stir all ingredients together until smooth. Cover and set aside, at room temperature, for about 1 hour. Via a pastry bag fitted with a #4 round tip, drizzle glaze on each sliced cookie square.
Dare to be square -- sweet dreams are made of these:
Special Equipment List: hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; 13" x 9" x 2", 3-quart baking dish; ordinary teaspoon; cooling rack
Cook's Note: Cookie squares or bars are a great way to serve dessert at a large gathering -- kids and adults love them. For another one of my recipes, which is actually a great companion to sour-cherry-pie cookie squares, click into Categories 7, 20 or 26 and try this retro classic ~ Hello Dolly! The 5-6-7 Layer 'Magic' Cookie Bar! ~.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos Courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)