Friday, August 12, 2011

Cherry & Crystallized Ginger Crumb Bars

In addition to blueberries, I had purchased fresh cherries recently at the farmer’s market. Cherries pose a little more of a challenge in that you have to pit them for use in baking. Just eating them fresh I can get away with no pitter, but I figured that I was finally going to have to invest in a cherry pitter. We’ve recently cleaned out the kitchen utensil drawers at home so I do have a little bit more room. I had wanted to buy a cherry pitter a number of years ago, but it being cherry season at the time, there were none to be found in the store. Luckily, I was able to find one this time, and was also able to use up the $1.47 that I had left on a Williams Sonoma gift card.

I wanted to make some sort of bar cookie with fresh cherries, but I noticed that most recipes used dried cherries or cherry preserves. I kept looking and found this recipe with also included crystallized ginger, which is a favorite in our household. This recipe calls for 5 cups of fresh cherries and I had about 4 cups, so I threw in a handful of dried cherries to make sure that I had enough filling. It also seemed like my cherries were on the big side, so I quartered them instead of cutting them in half. Ok, my husband cut them in quarters after I pitted them. We are a good pair in the kitchen. Oh, don’t wear nice clothes when you are pitting cherries because it is a tad messy!

When I was chopping the crystallized ginger, I measured out about 2.5 ounces and it seemed like quite a bit, so I didn’t add the entire 4 ounces. I’m glad I didn’t put in any more as the ginger flavor is quite strong in these. I still wanted to taste the cherries. I like the combination of cherry and ginger; it’s quite interesting. These took a while to cool and were fragile when I cut them. I refrigerated them overnight after cutting and they firmed up, so you may want to store these in the refrigerator. I really liked these bars and they were a big hit at work.

Cherry & Crystallized Ginger Crumb Bars

5 cups pitted cherries, cut in half
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 ounces crystallized ginger, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9” × 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine cherries, lemon juice, crystallized ginger, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a large food processor, combine sugar, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add the butter pieces and process, in short bursts, until the mixture is crumbly. Add the egg and process until combined.

Press half of the flour mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the cherry mixture over the crust. Sprinkle the rest of the flour mixture over the cherries.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is light brown. Allow the bars to cool about 30 minutes on a wire rack and then refrigerate until completely cold. Lift the bars from the pan, peel away the foil, and cut into bars.

Recipe from Cookin’ Canuck


Anonymous said...

those look wonderful. however, fresh cherry season is over now for us in maryland so how do you think these would do w/ peaches? or frozen - though picked fresh - blueberries???

Nicole said...

@Anon: You could substitute blueberries with no problem. I think peaches would be too wet and the bars wouldn't set enough. Frozen cherries would also work!

Cindy said...

I'm sure these flavors would be yummy together. I love a good fruity bar cookie.