Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cherry Almond Bars

Friday afternoon, I got around to making my recipe for the week (yummy cherry almond bars that are perfect for Saturday afternoon tailgating ...).  After I got the oven preheating and finished my prep, I started looking for the camera.


It took me a good 20 minutes to find the camera ... which was sitting smack in the middle of my dresser, in plain sight..

And then, when I finally found the camera, I clicked it on, and the little orange "help me" light started blinking:  the battery was on the brink of death.   Awesome.

We have two batteries for the camera, so we used to keep one in the camera and one in the charger, plugged in and ready to go.  But then we ripped apart the den (where the charger lived) ... and, well, you can see where this is going.

I looked.  Honest, I did.  I pulled the baskets out from the TV stand and searched through the wires and cables stashed there.  I sifted through the stacks of stuff on the dining room table.  I went back to my dresser and checked behind my jewelry box ... thinking, foolishly, that the charger might have been close to the camera.  Finally, I gave up.

When Mr. Wendy got home, I asked if he knew where the charger had landed.  Big sigh.  No.  No, he did not.  But he would find it.

He searched through the cables and wires, sifted through the stacks, checked behind every box and bag and book in sight.  Finally, after about half an hour, he came into the den, the charger raised above his head in triumph.

"Where was it?" I asked.

He shook his head.  "You don't want to know."


"It was in the battery drawer, wasn't it?"

Yes, that's what our life has come to.  Combined, we spent nearly an hour looking for a battery.  Without checking the drawer specifically dedicated to batteries.

The story provides a good context for this week's recipe.  Today, I'm tailgating with a group of friends.  I was tasked with bringing dessert.  I wanted to do something other than the usual chocolate chip cookie/brownie thing, but I wasn't sure what.  I turned to a stack of recipes I recently brought from my mom's house.  They're all culled from my mom's recipe box, some of them handed down from my grandmothers or passed along from neighbors long gone.

I settled on a recipe for cherry almond bars from my Grandma Mary Ellen's collection.  It's dated 1980, and the note in the corner says she got it from the Columbus Dispatch.  I figured it would be like a bar cookie, perfect for tailgating.  Alas, the finished product is more like a crumble.  Definitely something you eat with a fork.  But I really didn't have time to make anything else (either for the blog or for the tailgating).

The bars required a fork, but that didn't really slow us down ...

Thankfully, the bars are tasty as all heck, a perfect blend of buttery, sweet, and tart.  I'm hoping that my tailgating buddies won't mind crumbs and cherry juice dribbling down their shirts.  As for you, my friends, grab your forks and dig in ...

Cherry Almond Bars

Crumb Topping
2 - 14.5 oz cans tart red cherries (in water or juice)
2 Tbs. cornstarch
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract
a few drops red food coloring

2 c. flour (I used half all-purpose, half white whole wheat)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. sugar
1 c. margarine, softened
1 c. flaked coconut
3/4 c. slivered or sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 400.

Drain cherries, reserving juice.  Combine cornstarch, 3/4 c. sugar, and reserved juice in a saucepan.  Whisk to remove lumps.  Bring to a boil.  Add cherries, almond extract, and red food coloring.  Bring to a boil again, remove from heat, and cool.

Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Cut in margarine until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in coconut and almonds.  Pack 3 cups of the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and reduce temp to 350.  Spread cherry mixture on top of the baked base.  Sprinkle remaining crumbs over the top.  Return to oven and bake 25 - 30 minutes.

Allow bars to cool before you cut them.  Yum!


Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook.


  1. This looks delicious! And I love crumbly stuff to eat with a fork. :) And you made me laugh with your battery story. I do stuff like that ALL the time!!

  2. Wendy, this looks just like something my mom used to make for her bridge night gals. Cherries on the bottom, white cake mix (*only the floury mix) poured on top, drizzle a cube of butter, and sprinkle with almonds. It was so easy. Now I know how to make it from scratch. Yay!


  3. Hmmm. I like the cake mix idea ... I'm all about easy.

    And I'm so glad I'm not the only one to live in utter chaos. I often feel like everyone else in the world has a better hold on their life than I do. :)

  4. Thanks for the chuckle, Wendy! I am glad I'm not the only one who wouldn't have looked in that drawer. It could be worse: like me, you could have forgotten the entire camera with food photos on an island a couple of hours from your home. At any rate, this is a terrific recipe and the crumbs are proof!

  5. Wendy, this sounds delicious. I wouldn't have expected the coconut. No wonder that plate is empty!

    I hate to admit that I'm glad I'm not the only one who has days like that. It really is the worst, though, when I find the missing item exactly where it was supposed to be.

    ~ Krista