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~ Sweet Treats: Sour-Cherry-Pie Cookie Squares ~

IMG_9636When it comes to cherry desserts, these sweet little easy-to-make cherry treats hold their own amongst the heavy hitters.  I can't lie either, this is not an original recipe of mine, it is my amped-up version of one that came straight from the pages of Taste of Home magazine, which, as most home cooks know, is one of a handful of reliable sources for good-tasting, easy-to-make, family-friendly, kitchen-tested recipes made from readily-available or on-hand ingredients.

IMG_9457When it comes to baking fruit pies, tarts and galettes, with few exceptions, I never consider using pre-cooked, store-bought, canned pie filling (which is what the Taste of Home version specified).  Lots of people do, and, I'm not here to criticize.  If the end justifies the means, there is nothing wrong with pre-cooked.  In fact, it's a commonly used, kid-tested, mother-approved method.  There's more.  Even when I'm faced with an over-abundance of fruit, depending on the fruit, whenever it's applicable, I choose IMG_9497freezing the fruit or cooked fruit concoction over the more laborious option:  water-bath canning.  That said, when I'm baking certain confections, like fruit-filled pastries and today's sour-cherry-pie cookie bars, like everyone else, I do have a need for pre-cooked fruit filling -- but, no matter how convenient, I avoid the urge to buy a can of the store-bought stuff.  Click on the Related Article link below to get my recipe for ~ Seriously Simple Stovetop Sour Cherry Pie Filling ~.

What happens when cookie crust meets pie filling?

IMG_9649Pie OH MY domestic-goddess-of-cookies goodness!!!

IMG_95033  cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2  teaspoons baking powder

3/4  teaspoon salt

1 3/4  cups sugar

1  cup salted butter, at room temperature (2 sticks)

3  large eggs, at room temperature

2  teaspoons pure cherry extract (Note:  I purchase this on-line from  If you bake a lot of cherry desserts, this extract will take any recipe over-the-top.  I highly recommend adding a bottle of it to your pantry, and, check out all of their other flavors too.)

1/2  teaspoon each:  pure almond and pure vanilla extract

4  cups cherry pie filling, preferably my recipe for homemade ~ Seriously Simple Stovetop Sour Cherry Pie Filling ~

no-stick cooking spray, for preparing baking dish

IMG_9514 IMG_9509~ Step 1.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In a very small mini-measure or a small bowl, place the extracts and set aside. 

~ Step 2.  In a large bowl, starting on low speed of hand-held electric mixer and working up to high speed, cream together the butter IMG_9525and sugar until light-colored and fluffy, about 1 1/2-2 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl almost constantly.

IMG_9517~ Step 3. Lower mixer speed to low.  One-at-a-time beat in the eggs, followed by all of the extracts. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat about 1 more minute.

IMG_9529 IMG_9527~ Step 4. Begin adding the dry ingredients IMG_9535(the flour mixture), in three parts, and, continue to beat until thoroughly combined.  There will be 4+ cups of smooth, thick, cookie batter.

IMG_9543~ Step 5.  Remove a scant two cups of the batter from the bowl and set it aside (for the topping).  

IMG_9536~ Step 6. Transfer the rest of the batter to a 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish that has been sprayed with no-stick spray.  

Moisten your fingertips with a bit of water, then pat and press batter evenly across bottom of the dish to form a thin, even cookie crust layer.

IMG_9562 IMG_9546                                          ~ Step 7. Spoon and spread the cherry pie filling, over the top of the crust layer.

IMG_9550~ Step 8. Using an ordinary teaspoon, dollop 1/2 teaspoonfuls of reserved batter strategically over the pie filling.  After that, dollop around the perimeter and fill in center spaces until all batter has been used.

IMG_9559~ Step 9.  Place on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven and bake about 25-30 minutes, or until pie filling is bubbling around the edges and cobbled-looking top is a nice golden brown.  

IMG_9569~ Step 10.  Place pan on a rack to cool completely, 4-6 hours.  For neater squares, place cooled pan of squares, uncovered, in refrigerator for 2-4 more hours.  Slice into squares, and individually:  dust each one with Confectioners' sugar, top with ice cream, or, glaze with the following,

IMG_9585Pretty in Pink Cherry Glaze:

1  cup Confectioners' sugar

1  teaspoon cherry extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

3  tablespoons milk

1 drop red food coloring

~ Step 1.  Stir all ingredients together until smooth. Cover and set aside, at room temperature, for about 1 hour.  Via a pastry bag fitted with a #4 round tip, drizzle glaze on each sliced cookie square. 

Dare to be square -- sweet dreams are made of these:

IMG_9616Sweet Treats:  Sour-Cherry-Pie Cookie Squares:  Recipe yields 15 cookie squares, or more if cut smaller.

Special Equipment List: hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; 13" x 9" x 2", 3-quart baking dish; ordinary teaspoon; cooling rack

IMG_3472Cook's Note:  Cookie squares or bars are a great way to serve dessert at a large gathering -- kids and adults love them.  For another one of my recipes, which is actually a great companion to sour-cherry-pie cookie squares, click into Categories 7, 20 or 26 and try this retro classic ~ Hello Dolly!  The 5-6-7 Layer 'Magic' Cookie Bar! ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos Courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)


I knew you would explain this to me! I think cherries are my favorite berry.
Thanks! There is an engagement party for my son and his financee, in August. I will have a houseful, and this would be great for breakfast or as a dessert!
I'll try them this weekend to be sure I can make them like you!
Hope you are enjoying your summer!

Marilyn -- this dessert is VERY similar, in texture and taste, to Italian Crostata (which my husband Joe's family makes). In this recipe, the 'dough' is actually the texture of a drop-cookie batter, so it's patted and pressed into the bottom of the dish, and, dolloped on top. Crostata dough, which when baked is cookie-like, is the texture of a short crust, and it is rolled and placed into the bottom of the dish (more often than not a tart pan), and, lattice is placed across the top. Ground almonds are often worked into crostata dough as well. From my point of view, these squares are rustic, crostata is refined. My husband Joe loves crostata and claims these much easier-to-make cookie squares to be just as good!

Mel! These look fabulous. They remind me of cookie/fruit bars made by my ex mother-in-law and her sisters. They were VERY Italian! They didn't have icing on them, nor did I ever see them made with cherries. They made blueberry and pineapple fillings, and were frequently brought to picnics and bridal showers.
I haven't had them in 40 years, so I'm going to make yours, (with your easy cherry filling)! That's my story. Thanks!
P. S. I guess you didn't make cherry gin for your tonic?! LMAO!

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