Chewy Cherry Almond Bars

Happy Monday everyone! Did you get a chance to watch any of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games this weekend? We have been glued to the television ever since the opening ceremony on Friday night. I love watching Team USA complete in the Olympic Games. What is your favorite event to watch? My favorites are the men’s and women’s gymnastics and swimming. Whichever events you enjoy watching, there is no denying that these men and women are absolutely amazing athletes. It makes me feel especially lazy since my usual workout routine has taken a dive ever since I got pregnant! ;)

Since I can’t join them, might as well watch them, right?! And that is exactly what I did. I made these delicious Chewy Cherry Almond Bars for the opening ceremony. Not exactly Olympic themed, but I was craving something sweet and had a ton of fresh cherries in our fridge. Let me tell you, they were incredible! And I would be lying if I said we didn’t eat a ridiculous number of them during the opening ceremony. A layer of cherry preserves and fresh chopped cherries are baked inside a hearty almond oat crust. They’re chewy, gooey and bursting with delicious cherries! If you love cherries, you need to whip up a batch of these bars before cherry season is over…trust me! ;)

Chewy Cherry Almond Bars

A layer of cherry preserves and fresh chopped cherries are baked inside a hearty almond oat crust. They’re chewy, gooey and bursting with delicious cherries!

Yield: 36 bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Bars:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup cherry preserves
3/4 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

For the Drizzle:
1/2 cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, oats, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat butter until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add egg and almond extract and mix on medium-low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add flour mixture and almonds and beat until combined. Remove 1/2 cup of the dough and set aside.
Pat the remaining dough into the prepared pan. Spread evenly with preserves. Sprinkle the chopped cherries over top of the preserves. Crumble the reserved dough evenly over chopped cherries.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into squares.
While the bars are cooling, make the drizzle by mixing the powdered sugar, and milk together until smooth. Drizzle over bars and allow the icing to dry before serving.

Source: adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

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