June 1, 2016

cherry almond bars + a tiny kitchen tour

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My favorite coffee shop in Fletcher Place [Calvin Fletcher's Coffee Company] carries sweets baked by local company Circle City Sweets. CF sells a beautiful Cherry Almond Bar that I've been demolishing as frequently as possible. I've been wanting to create my own version, so I did.

It's not exactly the same, but it's a dang good bar if I do say so myself.

And I do.
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Can I recommend making iced coffee to go with your cherry almond bars?
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Welcome to my tiny kitchen. If you remember the floor layout, technically I've taken over the "dining room" for kitchen things.
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This is pretty much how it looks when I'm baking/creating recipes/blogging. Computer out. Camera out. Squeezed onto the tiny countertop that is totally working for me.
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The actual kitchen has enough counter-space to the left of the sink for a dish rack. Soooo...that's why I needed to take over the dining room. Like I did in my last closet kitchen, I make a pot rack for less than $10 using a closet rack across my upper cabinets.
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Also, I have a Pyrex problem. And by "problem" I mean, I love it and I want every piece and I have this book, Pyrex Passion, so I can learn all the things. Go ahead, snatch up your Grandma's Pyrex so I can have it. (-;
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For example: the Balloons is the 444 Cinderella Bowl from a 1958 chip and dip set and was from Grandma Betty [my Uncle's mother]; and the Olives casserole dish under it is the 063 is part of the Verdé collection and was gifted from Natalie [Sarah N's mom]; the gravy server with underplate is from a Pyrex collection to match the Corelle Spring Blossom Green pattern and I inherited it from my Grandma Joan.

I get all kinds of nerdy about Pyrex.
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CHERRY ALMOND BARS

Crust
1 1/4 cups butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp salt
2 cup ap flour
1 1/4 cup almond meal [I got mine at TJ's, but Bob's Red Mill makes it too]

Preheat your oven to 325. Prepare a quarter sheet pan with a sheet of parchment lining the bottom, I used this one. Combine all ingredients and press into a half sheet pan [or if you don't have one, you can throw it in a 9x13].  Bake for 15 min until very lightly browned. Cool slightly.
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Cherry Layer
16 oz tart cherry jam
2 tsp almond extract

TART CHERRY JAM. If you make this with a sweet cherry jam, it's still good, BUT it's SO SWEET. And this is me, the queen of all things sugar saying this. Find some tart jam. Mix the jam and almond extract and spread over your crust.
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Crumble Topping
3/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup AP flour
Optional: 1/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped (and toasted if you're feeling ambitious)
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Combine the ingredients in the crumble and sprinkle over the cherry layer. Press slightly so it sticks together. Bake bars at 325 for 30 minutes until jam begins to bubble.
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Let cool completely and remove from pan using the parchment paper. Cut into bars and store in refrigerator.
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