A delicious sugar cookie-like crust with cherry pie filling and then dollops of crust all over the top and finished off with a glaze-this is a sugar cookie sweet cherry pie bars recipe!
I’ve resisted posting any sugar cookie sweet cherry pie bars recipes for almost 12 years now. It’s not that I don’t like them, who doesn’t like a cherry pie anything? But it’s more that I have always felt it’s unnecessary. I mean, sure you might not have a perfect chili recipe, that’s something crazy people like me test 100 billion times, but most people do have a slab cherry pie bars recipe.
Or so I thought.
Lately it seems that some of those classic recipes we grew up on are being lost in the wind of time. So what kind of family recipe blogger would Cade and I be if we didn’t hop on here and say, “WAIT!!! DON’T FORGET THE CLASSICS FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD!!”
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Oh my gosh, we were laughing so hard at all of the funny memories like slap on bracelets and rolling our tube socks.
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Sugar Cookie Sweet Cherry Pie Bars Recipe
How to make cherry pie bars starts first with the filling.
Start with homemade cherry pie filling if possible, but as that’s not something we have posted a recipe for yet the next best thing is to doctor up canned cherry pie filling.
- Dump cherry pie filling into a bowl.
- Add lemon zest and a touch of cinnamon.
- Stir to combine.
Cherry Pie Bar Crust
- In a standing mixer, mix together the wet ingredients, adding the eggs after the sugar and butter has been combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix again until smooth.
- Press a portion of the dough into the bottom of a pan. There’s no need to pre-bake the crust so move on to step 4.
- Spread the filling all over the dough and add dollops of the remaining crust dough all over the top, spreading just a little with your fingers or a spatula.
- Bake and cool.
- Now drizzle the glaze all over the top and serve!
Canned Cherry Pie Filling
Like I mentioned, we haven’t posted a homemade cherry pie filling but if I did here’s a bonus recipe for you!
- 5 to 6 cups fresh pitted cherries, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
- 1/2 cup water
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cherries, water, zest, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until thickened.
- Cool and place into sealed containers.
Don’t Miss THIS Tip!
Cherries can be tart or sour depending on the kind you buy. If your cherries are sour you’ll need to adjust the amount of sugar used in the homemade pie filling recipe. Sampling as you go will help you decide if they are sweet enough.
Sugar Cookie Bars
These really aren’t sugar cookie bars.
But it’s not pie crust or tart crust either.
So what do you call it?
I mean, it tastes more like a sugar cookie to me, so that’s what we went with.
If you want to try a true sugar cookie bar recipe we’ve got one!
Why use almond extract and not vanilla?
Almond flavoring goes really well with cherries. In fact, you could throw some sliced almonds on top after the glaze (so they stick) and that would be really good too.
Many recipes call for almond extract in the glaze as well as the bars, but we feel that’s a bit much and you don’t get as much of the other flavors, so it’s up to you, but we skip it.
Are Pie Cherries And Tart Cherries the Same?
Not all cherry trees are the same, so while they look alike you could end up with totally different tasting cherries.
While sweet cherries are sold in grocery stores and eaten straight, sour cherries are hard to eat on their own and not usually sold fresh in grocery stores.
Which Cherries for Pie?
It’s actually not a sweet cherry that you want for pie baking.
These sweet cherries are great for snacking but break down in a more unpleasant way for baking. Keep them in the kids’ lunches and let’s move on to another cherry for dessert.
Sweet Cherry Varieties include Rainier or Bing. These are available may through August.
Sour cherries are made for pies. They have the right texture after baking and while you have to add sugar to sweeten them these are the cherries that will end up with the right balance of sweetness for desserts.
Sour cherry varieties are available in mid-June.
How to Store Cherries
Keep cherries, unwashed and stems attached so they don’t start to mold, in a paper bag, loosely-covered container, or loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat.
Where to Buy Sour Cherries
Unfortunately it’s a lot more difficult to buy sour cherries than it should be. I swear the canned pie filling companies signed a pact to make it difficult to make your own, haha!
So here’s the deal, you’re going to have to look for local stands or shipments only in June in your stores. Other than that there’s no finding sour cherries.
Do Cherry Pie Bars Need To Be Refrigerated?
Cherry pie bars are fine to be on the counter but they will last longer if you store them in the fridge.
How Long Will Cherry Pie Bars Keep?
Cherry pie bars will last for a few days on the counter or up to 5-6 days in the refrigerator.
Can You Freeze Cherry Pie Bars?
You can freeze cherry pie bars but it’s best to add the glaze upon serving.
Other Cherry Desserts to Love
More Fruit Bar Desserts
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Sugar Cookie Sweet Cherry Pie Bars
- 2 cans Cherry Pie Filling 21 ounces each
- Lemon Zest of one lemon
- 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
For the Crust
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter Softened
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract
- 4 Eggs Large
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 3 Cups Flour
For the Glaze
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Milk
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
- In a bowl, fold together the cherries, zest and cinnamon
Crust and Topping
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- In a standing mixer, mix the butter and sugar until smooth.
- Add the extracts and eggs and mix again until smooth.
- Dump in 2 cups of the flour and the salt. Mix slowly until almost combined and then add the remaining flour.
- Grease a 12x17" jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with a 1" edge)
- Carefully spread 3 cups of the dough all over the bottom of the pan.
- Evenly pour the cherry filling over the crust.
- Add tablespoon sized dollops of the remaining crust all over the top of the bars.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Allow to cool.
- In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Drizzle all over the top of the bars.
- Serve immediately.