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Best Ever Cherry Bars

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Whenever we have unexpected company, or just want a last-minute dessert for a meal, we pull out this never-fail recipe. I first found it in a Quick Cooking magazine when I was probably ten, and over time and much use I’ve adapted it by changing the fruit filling. Besides the classic cherry, we like peach and blueberry flavors best. Sometimes we use store-bought cherry pie filling, like the right side of the pan in the photo above, but what puts this recipe over the top is when we make the filling from scratch. We pulled the peach version from our favorite peach cobbler recipe, and the blueberry version is an adaption of a cherry pie filling that we sometimes make for it, too. Each of the filling recipes below will make enough filling for half of a 15″ x 10″ pan, so be sure to choose two fillings, or double one of them.

If that makes sense to you, please explain it to me. Thank you.

Cherry Bars

Cherry Filling:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 cups fresh or frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed, halved
1/8 tsp. almond extract

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water, cornstarch, and lemon juice until smooth. Add cherries. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in extract. Set aside to cool.

Blueberry Filling:

Follow ingredients and directions for Cherry Filling, substituting blueberries for the cherries, and vanilla extract for the almond extract.

Peach Filling:
2 cans (15 oz. each) sliced peaches, with syrup
1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Combine peaches, sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch in saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; set aside to cool.

Dough:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 to 3 Tbsp. milk

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the extracts. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture just until combined. Spread 3 cups of batter into a greased or parchment-lined 15″ x 10″ baking pan. Spread with fillings of your choice, half on one side and half on the other. Drop the remaining batter by teasponfuls over the filling. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30-35 minutes, or until dough tests done with a toothpick. Cool on a wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over bars. Yield: 5 dozen.

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin

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Piano, Roses, and Food

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Each fall, our piano teacher organizes a piano recital for all of her students. Although we love music, the recital isn’t our favorite part of playing the piano. Anyway, on Saturday we all dressed up and performed!

Gabrielle played a piece by Bach called Toccata in D minor. Elisabeth performed the original Voices of Spring by Johann Strauss. Kerstin’s piece was Rachmaninoff’s 18th Variation on a Theme of Paganini. A little bit later Elisabeth and Kerstin played a duet by Anton Arensky called Theme on a Russian Fugue. Since Kerstin is a senior this year and this is her last recital, she took a lovely bouquet of pink roses as a gift for our teacher.

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They are so pretty!

 

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Each family brings something sweet to share during the intermission. We chose to make fruit “cobbler” style bars, using a favorite recipe which we will feature here on the blog sometime. This time we made half of the pan cherry and half peach. In the photo above, we had yet to add the topping and bake them, but I promise that they looked more delicious after those steps. 🙂 Both flavors were very popular, because none of the bars were left after the intermission!

 

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And here is a photo of all three of us girls with the Steinway piano.

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle