Life is a Plate of Cherry Bars

Sometimes I like a little something sweet with my coffee in the morning, especially just after brunch. Other times, I get a little peckish in the afternoon and a bar is just right with tea. Still other times, I'm looking for some dessert. And if I've made these Cherry-Plum Bars, I have the perfect solution to all of these cravings.

Now, if you aren't a fan of cherries and/or plums, you could easily opt for preserves that suit your tastes. You could also work in different nuts in the crust and topping — although the almonds really are quite lovely. If you don't have almond extract on hand, vanilla or even lemon extract will also work. Note that the flavor profile of the crumb mixture will change with different extracts and/or nuts.

So take a bit of time and whip up a batch of these beauties, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and find a good book to enjoy while you spend a little time letting life get calm, quiet, and downright delicious.

Cherry-Plum Bars

  • 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 c. rolled oats
  • ½ c. sliced almonds
  • 8 ounces cherry preserves
  • 4 ounces plum preserves

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with baking spray. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together with a mixer until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you mix it.

Beat in the egg, baking powder, and almond extract.

With the mixer on low, beat in the flour, one cup at a time, and then the oats. Finish the mixing by hand with a big spoon; fold in the almonds.

Remove ¾ cup of the dough and set aside for the topping. Press the rest into the bottom of your pan.

Mix the preserves together and then top the dough with the preserves, spreading it out into an even layer. Crumble the remaining dough in little pieces over the top.

Bake for about 35 minutes or just until the topping starts to turn golden.

Allow the bars to cool in the pan, on a rack. Cut them into bars before serving.

  • Yields: 20 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes