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These Cherry Crumb Bars may just be the best way to use fresh cherries! Made with a buttery crust and crumb topping, then filled with a sweet cherry middle, these bars are easy to make and so delicious!
Hello fresh cherry season, and hello to these cherry crumb bars!
If I had to use one word to describe these bars, it would be "addicting". Or, perhaps fruity. Either way, you're going to want to make them, especially if you're a fan of cherries.
- Delicious bars that taste like cherry pie!
- Can easily be made vegan and gluten free.
- They're incredibly versatile: if it's not cherry season, use a different kind of fruit, like blueberries or strawberries.
- Much easier to bring to a party or cookout than actual pie.
Flour - I used all purpose flour, but if you want to make these gluten free, simply use gluten free 1:1 baking flour. I don't recommend using any other gluten free flour, since the only flour I tested these with is all purpose.
Sugar - Cane sugar is best, but if you want these bars to be less sweet tasting, use coconut sugar instead.
Butter - Unsalted butter is preferred; if you're using salted butter, omit the ¼ teaspoon of salt from the dry ingredients.
Egg - The egg is going bind the dry ingredients together; if you want these to be egg-free, try using a flax egg. To do so, stir 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 2.5 tablespoons of water together, then let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes.
Milk - Any kind. The milk is going to ensure the crumb mixture isn't too dry or crumb-y.
Cherries - Fresh cherries are best and ensure the middle filling isn't too wet. However, you can use frozen cherries (see "FAQ" section below).
Cornstarch - Cornstarch is going to help absorb some of the moisture from the filling. A good substitution is all purpose flour.
Step 1: Make the crust. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Then, grate the butter directly into the bowl and use your hands to mix together until the butter resembles small pebbles. Stir in the egg and milk until the mixture easily holds together when you pinch it.
Step 2: Make the cherry pie filling. Place the pitted cherries in a medium bowl, then use a potato masher to mash the cherries and place them into a fine mesh strainer to drain any excess liquid. Place them back in the bowl, then stir in the sugar and cornstarch.
Step 3: Form into bars. Press ⅔ of the dry mixture into the bottom of a square baking dish with your hands. Spoon the cherries on top, then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture overtop.
Step 4: Bake. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake the bars at 375° for 32-36 minutes, or until the edges and top are slightly golden brown.
Tips and FAQs
- The first time I made these cherry crumble bars, I didn't include milk in the crumb crust; however, the milk really helps to hold everything together, so I do recommend using it. Plus, otherwise, the bars will be very crumb-y when you slice them.
- The cherry mixture is going to seem clumpy at first, and that's ok. The cherries will cook down in the oven and when the bars are done, the filling will resemble cherry jam.
- Remember to line your baking dish with parchment paper with an overhang for easy removal.
- Wait for the bars to cool completely before slicing them to avoid them falling apart.
Can I use frozen cherries instead?
Yes! If you're not in the mood to pit fresh cherries, I get it. Or, perhaps it isn't cherry season. Either way, you can use frozen cherries. To do so, thaw the cherries completely, then mash then and drain as much liquid from them as possible before adding them to a bowl and adding sugar and cornstarch.
You don't want the cherry mixture to be too wet, so draining the liquid is important.
Refrigerator: Store bars in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one week.
Freezer: Wait for the bars to cool completely, then transfer them to a freezer-safe container, placing layers of parchment or wax paper in between to prevent the bars from sticking to one another.
More summer desserts
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Cherry Crumb Bars
- Preheat the oven to 375° and line a square 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 1" overhang and spray the sides with nonstick spray; set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Then, grate the butter directly into the bowl, then use your hands to combine until the butter resembles small pebbles. Last, pour in the egg and milk and stir to combine. The dough should hold together when you pinch it.
- Place ⅔ of the dry mixture into the baking dish, using your hands to press it down.
- Next, use a potato masher or a fork to mash the cherries in a medium bowl. It's ok if they're still chunky, but you don't want any whole cherries. Pour the cherries through a fine mesh strainer to remove any liquid, then place the cherries back into the original bowl and stir in the sugar and cornstarch.
- Scoop the cherry mixture on top of the crust, then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture overtop.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake the bars for 32-36 minutes until the edges and tops are slightly golden brown.
- Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan at room temperature or in the refrigerator (the refrigerator will speed this up). Slice and enjoy!