Cherry Almond Crumb Bars and New Horizons

Yesterday I was making blueberry crumb bars for Babble when I decided I needed use up some of the produce in the fridge. We were headed up to the Boundary Waters, and I had, well, a lot of produce that wasn’t scheduled to be packed in the cooler and carted up there with us. As I stared at the cherries that had sadly been neglected as life took over and deadlines loomed, I decided they would work perfectly in the crumb bar recipe I’d just tossed into the oven.

The cherries had originally been purchased to finish off the last two rounds of galette dough that had been sitting in the freezer ever since June. I had dreams of frangipane topped with cherries and slivered almonds. I’ll leave that for a different time. Instead, this is the crumb bar interpretation.

Start by gathering your ingredients.

Mix together flour, sugar, almond paste, an egg, a bit of baking powder, salt and, of course, cold, unsalted butter.

Next, pit your cherries. By Cherry #3 I was praying that the clouds would part and a cherry pitter would fall from the heavens into my kitchen to save my fingers from both the cherry juice and the severe poking I was giving myself with the knife.

Then I started eating the cherries to take my mind off it. Instantly better. What deep red cherry stains? And it’s a lot easier to pop the pits out with your thumb. You know, in case you were wondering. Toss the cherries with a bit of sugar and cornstarch to soak up some of the juice while they’re cooking.

Mix up your flour mix and separate into halves. Press the first half in a 9×13 pan.

Spread your cherries into the pan.

To the second half of the crumb mixture add a few slivered almonds.

Pour the rest of the crumb mixture over the top and pop it in the oven.

I packed these for our trip to the big woods, where internet access is scarce. But if you miss me, I’ve got posts going up daily on Babble’s Family Kitchen. There’s always Cascadian Farm or Lifetime Moms, and please do check out my hello over on Smithfield, a brand new venture for me, where I’ll be sharing tips on gardening, meal planning, recipes and more. I’m really excited to be a part of a great team of bloggers there.

inspired by Smitten Kitchen
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
8 ounces almond paste
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter
½ cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
4 cups cherries
½ cup sliced almonds

Mix together 1 cup of sugar, the flour, baking powder, salt, egg, almond extract and almond paste. Using a pastry cutter or a food processor on pulse, cut butter chunks into the mix. It should be crumbly. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, cornstarch, cherries.

In a 9×13” pan press half of the crumb mixture in the bottom. Top with the cherry mixture. Spread into an even layer. Mix the sliced almonds into the remaining crumb mixture. Top the fruit with the crumb mixture in an even layer. Bake at 375º F for 45 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly before eating. Serve warm (with ice cream) or store in the refrigerator and serve cold. They are delightful both ways.

Food for My Family


  1. Ack, I can’t believe you had the patience to pit all of those cherries. I’d have given up by cherry #5. Looks like your determination paid off–those look delectable!

  2. These look great! My cherry pitter is my favorite tool in the summertime.

  3. This looks like a fabulous way to use summer cherries. I love cherries and almond together! I, too, love my cherry pitter!

  4. Beautiful and delicious! Next time, get a cherry pitter!

  5. Those look so delicious. We have a bounty of cherries right now. I’m going to have to keep this recipe in mind!

  6. Those are delish! A perfect change from Blueberry Bars!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  7. love your step by step photographs, they’re so luscious with gorgeous cherries. We want those now, they look amazing!

  8. I made these last night for a family gathering we are attending today…..well, if they last that long. I order Michigan cherries from Applejacks (in Delano, MN) and I used tart cherries for this recipe. I added a little more sugar. The bars are outstanding! I realized, after I had made them, that I forgot to add the lemon juice but then realized they weren’t on the list of ingredients. How much do you use? Anyways…thanks for the great recipe. Your recipes are always a hit with my family.

  9. Yep, photos are looking awesome, girl. Cherries still cost an arm and a leg up here. Sigh.

  10. The ten dollars I spent on the cherry pitter was the best investment all summer! Love the Boundary Waters-I go every year!

  11. This looks yummy! I don’t think I would have the patience for the cherries though! 🙂

  12. Jenny G says:

    I made these last night with frozen cherries and splenda/sugar blend. They were delicious.

  13. I have made apricot (jam) crumble bars with a very similar dough and people went crazy for them! It was one of my most requested recipes. I think almond paste is so good in fruit desserts! I have never baked with fresh cherries, but I have a bowl in the frig, so I will have to give these a try.

    By the way, when I use jam in desserts (or in general), I always get the low sugar (NOT sugar-free) variety because it tastes much more like fresh fruit (or I look for one with fewer than 10 grams of sugar). I also check that fruit, not sugar, is the first ingredient. Smuckers has a low sugar line, and Trader Joe’s has one, too.

  14. I love these bars but do you think you could substitute blueberries for the cherries too


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