Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cherry-Almond Bars

Do you have any of those friends that are "like Martha"? Their houses are perfect, they throw great dinner parties, and they always bring a terrific dessert to the annual department Christmas lunch?

This recipe is from my Martha-like friend. I made them to give as part of my end-of-the-year teachers gifts and (how handy!) I was able to use up the cherry preserves I bought for the Opera Cake.

I forgot how de-lish these are. Honestly, of all of the baked goods I've made since starting this blog, these might be the absolute best. Thank goodness I'm giving them away, I can hardly stay out of them.

Almond-Cherry Bars

1/2 C. butter
10-12 oz. white chocolate chips (*I used real white chocolate since that's what I had on hand)
2 eggs
1/2 C. sugar
1 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. coconut
1/2 C. cherry jam (*I used cherry preserves)
1/2 C. sliced almonds (*I used slivered almonds chopped up a bit)
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 deg. F. Grease and flour an 8" square glass pan (*I used metal.) Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup of chips. Let stand and do not stir.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Add sugar slowly. Stir in chip mix. Add flour, salt, and almond extract. Mix just until blended. Spread half the batter in pan. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden (*I baked for more like 30 minutes - I don't know why it took longer, maybe the metal pan? just make sure they're starting to brown a bit on top).

Meanwhile, stir remaining chips and coconut into remaining batter. Set aside.

Heat cherry preserves in microwave for 30 seconds. Spread over warm crust. Gently spoon batter over jam, spreading to edges. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake for 20-25 minutes until light brown (*I baked for 35-ish minutes. Again, bake until you start to see some browning on top and at the edges).

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