March 23, 2023

Cooking with Toby: his grandma’s sweet-tooth cherry bars


This archived article was written by: Toby Foster

It is pretty rare that I end up with a sweet tooth, so you get to benefit from it. Today’s recipe is cherry bars. This is a great recipe to use for a date or party. It is easy to make but looks super fancy if trying to impress someone with your culinary skills.
There is really little to talk about health wise and cost wise this time since, we are dealing with a dessert after all. All I can think of is that for a gluten free option you can use sweet potato flour in place of the standard flour and vegetable shortening instead of butter for a lower cholesterol option.
And this is a family recipe I got from my Grandma so as far as I know there is nothing to discuss about it historically. Instead, I will just discuss some of the purposes of the ingredients and what would happen without them.
Flour is the basis of every pastry and is what gives them their signature texture. If it were left out, the dough would just be a liquid, and when you baked it you would have syrup in your pan in the end.
Then we have butter that gives it additional moisture that will not bake out like water, milk and eggs will. Also it will make the dough less sticky so when the time comes to put it in a pan you can manipulate it more and spread it more easily.
Baking powder is a form of leavening, meaning it makes it rise and fluffy. Leaving this out will leave your cherry bars dense and heavy and not all that appetizing. The flour will rise a little bit on its own, but still not enough to make it appetizing.
Vanilla extract is more of an extra flavor in this recipe, but in others it is important because it is slightly acidic. If you make a recipe with baking soda it will cause the a chemical reaction necessary for it to rise.
Eggs are a culinary glue and holds things together. They can add some health benefits by adding protein instead of just being pure carbs.
Sugar and pie filling are to make it edible. We really would not even eat this if it weren’t sweetened by the sugar and pie filling. One final note, cherry pie filling is not the only kind that this recipe will work with; any pie filling will work and taste fine.
½ cup butter
¾ heaping cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 ½ cups flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1 can pie filling

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