Cherry Shortbread Bars
No denying the sweet tart taste of fresh cherries. These tasty little jewels just call to me whenever they come into sight. I snacked on a quarter of the bag before I decided I wanted to pair these beauties with a buttery salty shortbread.
It wasn't until I pulled out all my ingredients that I realized I didn't have a cherry pitter. ARGH! I pitted each cherry by hand. The next day, I went to Target to pick one up. I don't have many kitchen gadgets and the ones I do have are multipurpose. However, after wrestling with a hundred or so cherries, I decided this specific tool was necessary.
Let's start with the SHORTBREAD:
2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the brown sugar on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes. Add the egg yolk and continue to beat for another minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times during this process.
Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder. Once the butter mixture is cohesive, add the flour and continue on low speed until you no longer see the flour. Scrape the bowl if needed. This step shouldn't take more than a minute.
Dump the dough onto a well floured surface. Cut off 1/3 of the dough, seal it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to crumble it for the top of the dessert. Press the remaining dough into a 10 x 10 inch foil lined square pan. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
PREPARATION TIP:This dough can be made, wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to a week. You can also wrap up the dough in freezer safe materials and freeze for up to 2 weeks. When you are ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake your dough for 30-40 minutes. The shortbread should have be light brown in color. Check your shortbread around 25 minutes, some ovens run hotter than others.
While the shortbread is baking, let's work on the CHERRY FILLING:
4 cups of cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or almond extract
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients and let it rest on the counter until your shortbread is done baking.
Top the baked shortbread with the cherry filling. Crumble the remaing 1/3 shortbread dough over the top.
Bake for another 30-40 minutes or until the shortbread crumble is the perfect light brown.
The Cherry Shortbread should cool completely before lifitng it out of the pan. Slice and enjoy the sweet, tart and salty treat.
The Cherry Shortbread can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for 2 days.