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CHERRY BARS FOR A CROWD

Delicious Cherry Bars for a Crowd: Perfect for Any Occasion!

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Discover the ultimate recipe for Cherry Bars that are sure to impress a crowd! These delightful bars are a perfect blend of buttery crust, sweet cherry filling, and wholesome oats. Whether you’re hosting a gathering or simply craving a treat, these bars will become your new favorite dessert. Follow along for step-by-step instructions, tips, and variations to make them your own.

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups softened butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups oat flakes
  • 1 cup cherry spread (Double Fruit type)

Instructions

  1. Preheat and Prepare: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. Mix Wet Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, white flour, baking powder, and oat flakes.
  4. Combine and Form Dough: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stirring until just combined. The dough will be crumbly.
  5. Press into Pan: Press two-thirds of the dough mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan to form the bottom crust.
  6. Spread Cherry Filling: Spread the cherry spread evenly over the dough in the pan.
  7. Create Top Crust: Sprinkle the remaining dough mixture evenly over the cherry filling, pressing down lightly.
  8. Bake: Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  9. Cool and Serve: Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into squares and serving.

Cook Notes and Variations

Cooking Tips

  • Cherry Spread: Use a quality cherry spread for the best flavor. Ensure it’s evenly spread over the crust to avoid clumping.
  • Oats: If you prefer a finer texture, pulse the oat flakes in a food processor briefly before adding to the dough mixture.

Variations

Nutty Addition

  • Mix 1/2 cup of chopped nuts (such as almonds or walnuts) into the dough for added crunch and flavor.

Lemon Zest Twist

  • Add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon zest to the dough for a citrusy contrast to the sweet cherry filling.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

Keto Version

For those on a ketogenic diet:

  • Substitute almond flour and coconut flour for the whole wheat and white flour.
  • Use a sugar-free cherry spread sweetened with a keto-friendly sweetener.
  • Replace oat flakes with finely chopped nuts or additional almond flour.

Low-Carb Version

For a lower-carb option:

  • Reduce the amount of cherry spread to 1/2 cup and spread it thinly over the crust.
  • Use almond flour instead of whole wheat flour and reduce the total flour amount to 1 cup.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use regular white sugar instead of brown sugar?

A: Yes, you can substitute white sugar, but brown sugar adds a richer flavor to the bars.

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Q: How should I store leftover Cherry Bars?

A: Store cooled bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or refrigerate for longer freshness.

Q: Can I freeze Cherry Bars?

A: Yes, tightly wrap the cooled bars in plastic wrap and then foil before freezing for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Q: What can I use instead of cherry spread?

A: You can substitute with any other fruit spread or preserves of your choice, adjusting sweetness as needed.

These Cherry Bars are a delightful treat for any occasion, offering a perfect balance of sweetness and texture. Whether you’re catering to a crowd or enjoying a cozy evening at home, this recipe is sure to satisfy. Experiment with different variations to suit your taste preferences, and enjoy sharing these delicious bars with family and friends.

With this detailed recipe guide, you’re ready to bake up a batch of Cherry Bars that will have everyone asking for seconds. Embrace the simplicity and deliciousness of homemade treats with this crowd-pleasing dessert. Happy baking!