Well, we got snow! 13 inches here on Chincoteague Island to be exact. I know that may not sound like much to many of you, but for our coastal area – it’s quite a bit. Have spent time outside playing in the snow with the boys, making batches of vanilla snow cream, and of course – baking!
These cherry streusel bars are a twist on one of my favorite go-to recipes. My favorite lunch spot here on the island, Sea Star Cafe, serves a very similar bar – usually in the raspberry or apricot variety. I can never resist adding one to my order when I see them in the case…So, with all this snow on the ground…I was really craving one with a cup of my Earl Grey. Sea Star is closed until the spring (as with most things around here). So, it’s not so easy to get my fix. What else is a girl to do, but get into the kitchen and make them for herself?
I must have been thinking ahead, because when I came across a jar of sour cherry jam – during my last pilgrimage to my nearest Whole Foods (“across the Bay”), I couldn’t resist putting it in my cart. I knew it would be just perfect for these bars!
And guys, I was totes right. The sweet-tart cherry jam, blanketing a layer of shortbread crust – and topped with a crunchy, nut-filled, buttery streusel topping. Heaven.
It’s going to be all you can do not to consume the whole pan, trust me…
Cherry Almond Crumble Bars
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 oz sour cherry jam
2/3 cup good granola (without dried fruit)
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed just until combined. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla.
In a medium bowl whisk the flour and salt together. With the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter mixture, mixing until it almost comes together in a ball.
Turn the dough out on a board. Lightly pat two-thirds of the dough evenly on the bottom of a 8-inch square baking pan and about 1/4-inch up the sides. Spread with the jam, leaving a 1/4-inch border.
Mix the granola, walnuts and pecans into the remaining dough with your hands. Break the dough into small bits and distribute it on top of the jam, covering most of the surface. Sprinkle the almonds on top.
Bake the bars for 45 minutes, until lightly browned.
Cool completely and cut into 9 or 12 bars. Store in airtight container.
Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten