Fall as officially kicked in, and this post might sound a bit off the chart. But I had baked these really delicious Cherry Bars some time ago when sweet red Cherries adorned the grocery aisles, and it was hard to not share them with my readers! You can still find a bag of Cherries in your supermarkets, so go grab one and bake these truly delicious Chocolate Cherry bars before bidding farewell to Summer for good. Inspired by Deb at the Smitten Kitchen, I decided to bake these in the same way, albeit with a top layer of shaved chocolate, for good measure! The smell of almost-burnt Brown Butter was truly invigorating, and once you nail the butter, these bars are a breeze to make. They look cute and amazingly delicious, plus you can cut them into bite-sized pieces and wrap them in individual tissues for potlucks or picnics. These are great for your kids’ lunches too.
You can use any stone fruit that you like; if you can’t find cherries, try these with Apricots, plums or peaches, and I bet they’ll taste just as great! Use a good-quality chocolate bar and shave it right on top of the bars for a truly decadent treat.
Chocolate Cherry Dessert Bars
Prep Time: 30 mins
Bake Time: 40 mins
Servings: 16 2-inch square bars
For the Crust
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
For the Filling
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1 pound sweet cherries (12 ounces of pitted cherries)
1 bar of semi-sweet chocolate – shaved
Preheat over to 375°F. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper and trim each to fit the 8-inch width of an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Press it into the bottom and sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet.
Using rubber spatula or fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Transfer dough to your prepared pan, and use your fingertips to press the dough evenly across the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust until golden, about 18 minutes (it will puff slightly while baking). Transfer crust to rack and cool in pan. Maintain oven temperature.
Make the filling
Cook butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until deep nutty brown (do not burn), stirring often and watching carefully, about six minutes. it takes less than 3 seconds for butter to go from brown to burnt, so be very careful and watch over this crucial process. Immediately pour browned butter into glass measuring cup to cool slightly.
Whisk sugar, eggs, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add flour and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk browned butter into sugar-egg mixture; whisk until well blended.
Arrange pitted cherries, or the berries of your choice, in bottom of cooled crust. Carefully pour browned butter mixture evenly over the fruit. Now sprinkle the chocolate shavings over the top evenly. Bake bars until filling is puffed and golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Cool bars completely in pan on rack. Use the parchment paper overhang to carefully remove cooled bars from pan and place them on a cutting board and cut them into squares with a very sharp knife.
If you taste them immediately, you will get an eggy taste and smell; but don’t worry, this will go away as the bars cool down. In fact, they taste much better the next day! Store in an air-tight container and keep refrigerated for upto 5 days.
These Chocolate Cherry Bars are decadent and moist, and they do retain their shape well, especially if you align the cherries while topping them before baking. As I said earlier, their flavor enhances as they cool down, so please refrain from making a verdict until you have tasted them the next day!