Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Let the celebration begin

Photo: http://www.bhg.com/

Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching--and in our household that means "birthday". My dear husband's birthday falls near the end of the month. Lucky guy. While most of us get just one day of recognition, he always gets an entire weekend (and a guaranteed extra day off of work too!).

Since there will be more than one birthday gathering, I need to line up several options for main dishes, sides, salads, and (best of all) desserts. Bill loves the taste of cherries. Sure, I could make a cherry pie but that's so common-place. I found a recipe for cherry bar cookies on the Better Homes and Gardens website (http://www.bhg.com) that I think will fit the bill (pun intended):

Chewy Cherry-Almond Bars
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (I reduced this from the original 2 cups)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1 tsp. almond extract (not imitation)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups regular rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 sliced almonds
1 12-oz jar (1 cup) cherry preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Grease foil; set pan aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and almond extract until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour, the oats, and almonds.

Remove 1/2 cup of the dough and set aside. Press the remaining dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Spread with preserves. Crumble the remaining dough evenly over preserves layer.

Bake in the preheated oven about 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut cookies out of the pan. Cut into bars. Makes 36 bars.

To Store: To Store: Place bars in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

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