Easy and delicious almond crumble bars filled with a homemade cherry filling. Use fresh or frozen cherries, and make this recipe year round.
Four years ago I made Almond Cherry Streusel Bars. I shared them with you and told you that they were one of my favorite desserts ever. And then guess what happened? I completely forgot about them (gasp!). These fabulous bars deserve to be brought to our attention, so, here they are (again). As delicious as ever, with some new, prettier pics, and a simple plea to make and share them with everyone you know.
If you’ve never had a dessert with the flavor combo of almond and cherries, you are in for a treat! I absolutely love these flavors together. Buttery almond shortbread crust and homemade cherry pie filling topped with crunchy, buttery streusel. I mean, how could these not be good? Here’s how to make ‘em!
Almond Cherry Streusel Bars
Almond Crust & Topping: A mixture of sugar, almond paste, flour, butter, and almond extract makes up the crust and topping for this recipe. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9×9 pan to form the crust, reserving about a cup for the topping. Stir some sliced almonds into the topping portion and set it aside.
Cherry Filling: This thick and sweet cherry filling is made with a mixture of cherries (fresh or frozen), cornstarch, lemon juice, sugar, and a touch of butter. Combine on the stovetop and simmer for a couple minutes, until bubby and thickened. Pour the cherry filling over the crust and add the reserved streusel topping.
After baking, allow the bars cool so that you can cut them into neat slices. If desired, you can drizzle over a simple icing made from powdered sugar, milk, and a drop of almond extract.
These bars are easy to serve, store and pack up (much easier than pie!). You can enjoy them straight from the fridge or at room temp. Can you freeze them? I would guess yes. But the truth is, these never last long enough to test that. We consume every crumbly, cherry-filled bite before they have a chance to visit the freezer.
Almond Cherry Streusel Bars
Crust and topping:
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- ½ cup almond paste*, about 3oz
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, increase to 3 scant tablespoons if using frozen cherries
- 4 cups pitted sweet cherries, fresh or frozen (1-pound bag of frozen works well here)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- pinch salt
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons milk
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
Crust and topping;
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9 square pan with foil (leaving overhang on two sides) and grease the foil. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter, almond paste, and almond extract. Blend on medium-low speed until the butter and almond paste pieces are the size of small pebbles, and the mixture resembles wet sand. Remove 1 heaping cup for the topping, set it aside.
- Pour the remaining mixture into the prepared pan and press it evenly over the bottom. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to brown.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling:
- In a medium saucepan, whisk water, lemon juice and cornstarch. Add cherries, sugar, butter, and salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, and simmer until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Spread filling over crust. Stir sliced almonds into the reserved topping mixture, then sprinkle the topping over the cherry filling, occasionally pinching the topping together to form small clumps.
- Bake until the filling is beginning to bubble and the topping is light brown, about 25-30 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Whisk all icing ingredients, adding more milk or powdered sugar to reach your desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled bars (I place my icing in a ziptop bag, snip off the corner, and drizzle the icing straight from the bag).