Happy Happy Summer! Time to relax and starting doing some summer bucket list things. I always look at my list in mid August and realize I haven’t done most of the things I set out to do. I get ambitious and put some things down that I realistically know I can’t get around to do with everyone’s schedules. We are all going separate ways a bit this summer. One kid off to a west coast adventure exploring Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California. Another at overnight camp and I am off to Israel in a few weeks. And the husband? Well, he doesn’t get an exciting summer this time around. He will be holding down the fort, visiting Florida for a few days and taking care of the dog.
We started with an easy bucket list item. Cherry picking. I love fresh cherries and the orchard that we go to for apple picking in the fall (and cider donuts…mmm) also has other fruits for the picking, including cherries. Cherry picking season is a short one. It’s about 2 weeks. My daughter and I took a drive up to PA on a quiet Saturday to get some cherries. I also stuck her behind the wheel to get some driving practice in on some quiet winding back roads.
We were a little disappointed to learn that there were no sour cherry trees this year. I like to get some of those, as they are best for baking pies and cobblers Just the sweet red ones. So, we made due with those. It was definitely work to climb the ladders to get to the fruit that no one picked off yet.
After picking 3 pounds or so, we got back home and I got to work to make something with the cherries. Sure, we can eat them as is, the healthy way…but fruit is always better with some butter and sugar involved.
Honestly, the most laborious part of the recipe is pitting and halving the cherries. That took a bit of time cause I had to do them one by one. I’m not sure if there is anything else out there that can pit cherries more efficiently, but if there is, let me know. At the end of the process, I had 2 cups of cherries and my counter top looked like a crime scene.
Take the cherries and mix with lemon juice and cornstarch.
Take some flour, sugar, butter, baking powder and baking soda and make some coarse crumbs that will clump together when you press it together, like wet sand.
Take about half of the mixture and press it into a 8×8 pan.
Top with the cherry mixture and then sprinkle to rest of the mixture on top of the fruit in big clumps. I add some sprinkles of sanding sugar to the top of the bars.
Bake it until the top is golden brown. Let cool and cut into 9 squares.
CHERRY CRUMB BARS
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter melted , cooled to room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups fresh cherries , pitted, each sliced in half
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- sanding sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Line a square 8″ baking pan with parchment paper. Butter the sides and bottom of lined pan. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together cherries, cornstarch and lemon juice.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together melted butter and sugar. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles crumbs.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of mixture.
- Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of prepared pan.
- Spread cherry filling over the crust.
- Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over cherries.
- Sprinkle sanding sugar over crumb topping.
- Bake bars for 23 to 25 minutes OR until the top is golden.
- Cool completely before cutting.