Tart lemon + sweet Maraschino cherries = the perfect blend of citrus and sweetness. At least, that’s what I think! I decided to create a bar that offered those flavors, but wouldn’t be drowned out by the actual dough part of the bar. Sugar cookies have a very mild flavor that compliments bold fruits. I always make my sugar cookies with almond extract AND vanilla extract to give it that buttery appeal. It made sense that my bar would be a sugar cookie-type bar, with a great combination of lemon and cherry mingling in it. Of course, when you’re pulling out all of the flavor stops, why end with the bar? Frost it! Cream cheese has that tang that really brings out the lemon, cherries and almond. Yah, there’s a lot going on in this bar, and it’s ALL GOOD!
What you need:
- 9-12 Maraschino cherries (chopped)
- 3/4 cup butter (softened)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (I highly recommend Nielsen-Massey)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 heaping tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 oz cream cheese (1/2 of a regular 8 oz bar- softened)
- 1/4 cup butter (softened)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 3-4 tablespoons Maraschino cherry juice
- 1 cup powdered sugar
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Turn on Pandora, Spotify or put on your favorite vinyl, and pour a glass of wine or cup of coffee. These are much more fun to make when you’re dancing around the kitchen! 🙂
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until well blended. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon juice and lemon zest and beat until well combined.
In another bowl, use a whisk to mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Add it to the wet mixture until it’s well mixed.
Chop up your cherries and pat dry with a paper towel. I like mine to be slightly wet with juice, but not soaking. Add the cherries to the dough. Gently fold them in and make sure they are present throughout the dough.
Put parchment paper in a 9×13″ pan, then pat the dough into it. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until it starts to get golden edges. Cool on a cooling rack.
Refill your wine glass or coffee mug, and turn up the volume. It’s time to make FROSTING! Beat the cream cheese and butter until it’s nice and fluffy. Add the vanilla and cherry juice. I add one tablespoon at a time and mix. Once I can just taste the cherry juice, I stop adding. Finally, add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar at a time and blend well. You may not need the entire cup – you just want a good, thick, spreadable frosting.
Frost and sprinkle and then kick your feet up and enjoy the spoils of your hard work in the kitchen!
How about trying these fruity treats?
Hungry for more? Check out more fun recipes!
Jeni’s Disclaimer: I’m just a regular girl. I love to drink wine while I bake. I’m by no means a professional baker or pro photographer. My creations aren’t staged, they just are what they are, and that’s probably obvious. If you’re a normal person that loves to bake or cook and your food ends up looking like REAL food, and not like something you’ll see on Instagram, you’re in the right place.