As much as I love to bake, I hate fussing with a cookie recipe that has more assembly steps than a Lego creation.  Bar cookies are as lazy as you can get and still pat yourself on the back for a delicious job well done.  Cherry Almond Bars combine the glorious trifecta of sugar, butter and crunchy almonds with the sweet-tart goodness of Cherry preserves kicked up with a bit of allspice and almond extract.

These bars are fancy enough for a grown-up sweet tooth, but not so complex that the kiddos won’t love them too.  And if you are baking with the kids, I bet they would love to help spread the dough in the pan or mix the cherry filling!

Enjoy!

Here’s What You Need:

  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup packed light-brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • ¾ cup Cherry Preserves
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract

 

Here’s What to Do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8” square metal baking pan. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on medium until light and fluffy; beat in egg. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Stir on lowest setting till almost combined. Add almonds and continue mixing on lowest setting till combined.

In a small bowl, stir spices and extract into preserves. Gently press half of dough into bottom of baking pan. Spread preserves mixture over dough, leaving a ½ inch clear border all around (do not spread filling to edges of pan). Drop remaining dough in small hunks evenly over the filling. Gently press gently to slightly flatten the topping – you are not trying to make a solid top layer.

Bake until top is truly golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes; cool completely in pan.

 

Cherry Almond Bar Cookies

Buttery, nutty bars filled with sweet-tart cherry preserves
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 bars
Author Elizabeth - The Wild Olive

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter room temperature
  • ½ cup packed light-brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup toasted sliced almonds
  • ¾ cup Cherry Preserves
  • ¼ tsp. allspice
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8” square metal baking pan.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on medium until light and fluffy; beat in egg. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Stir on lowest setting till almost combined. Add almonds and continue mixing on lowest setting till combined. In a small bowl, stir allspice and extract into preserves. 
  • Gently press half of dough into bottom of baking pan. Your best tool here are your clean hands - the dough will stick to a spatula or offset spreader, but not to your hands! Spread preserves mixture over dough leaving a ½ inch clear border all around (do not spread filling to edges of pan). Drop remaining dough in small hunks evenly over the filling. Gently press to slightly flatten the topping – you are not trying to make a solid top layer. 
    Cherry Almond Bar Cookies ready to bake
  • Bake until top is golden, 25 to 30 minutes; cool completely in pan.
    Cherry Almond Bar Cookies in Pan

Notes

Variations:  I think these bars would also be delicious with apricot preserves (omit spices but keep almond extract). Or you could sub in chopped peanuts for the almonds and use strawberry or grape jam (no spices or extract) for a PBJ bar.
Tip:  As long as you're toasting some sliced almonds for this recipe, why not toast several cups so you have plenty on hand to top yogurt, salads, smoothie bowls, etc.?