I love this time of year! Our home is a buzz with Christmas spirit, led by my Christmas lov’in husband. It is hard not to dive knee deep into planning for the season. Our December calender is almost full. Christmas house tours, candle light strolls, Christmas movie nights, cutting down the tree, and of course baking the family favourte, Cherry Chews!
The anticipation of the Christmas season was always heightened once my mom started her Christmas baking. Her Cherry Chews have always ranked among my most favorite. The taste of cherries and coconut with a subtle almond flavor in a chewy pink iced square was always something to look forward to.
Thankfully this recipe makes a big 9 x 13 pan and can be cut into lots of bite sized squares for sharing. Which is a good thing because they always go fast!
These frosted squares freeze well. Simply layer (no more than 3 layers high) between sheets of waxed paper inside of an airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and thaw at room temperature. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
I am delighted to share this recipe with you today. I don’t know the original source of this recipe, as they are a Christmas treat that my mom (and her mom before that) has been baking for as long as I can remember.
I like this recipe because it requires no electric mixers to prepare. As a matter of fact I primarily use just one big bowl to make them.
Cherry Chews, step by step…
Begin by using a large bowl to mix the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Rub (or cut) in 1/2 cup butter.
Press this mixture into a greased 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Using the same bowl, beat eggs with a whisk. Stir in brown sugar and almond extract.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt and stir into the egg mixture. Add the coconut and chopped cherries.
Using an off set spatula, spread this mixture over crust. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Return to oven and bake for 25 minutes (until lightly browned). Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl sift 1 cup of confectioners sugar. Add softened butter and 4 to 5 tablespoons of reserved cherry juice, and 1/8 teaspoon almond extract.
Stir until desired consistency is reached, adding more cherry juice if required. This will give a very light coating of frosting for the squares. By all means it can be doubled for a thicker frosting.
There you have it. One my earliest memories of the Christmas spirit courtesy of my mom’s cherry chews and a recipe that will sure become one of your family favourites too!
If you are looking for more yummy cherry recipes, check out this recipe for Cherry Surprises – it was one of the very first recipes I ever posted, so it could use some updated photos but the recipe is tried and true!
Or, maybe a simple cherry quick bread like this Old Fashioned Cherry Bread is something you will enjoy.
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Until next time….
- • For Crust:
- • 1 cup all purpose flour
- • 1 cup rolled oats
- • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- • 1 teaspoon baking soda
- • 1/4 teaspoon salt
- • 1/2 cup butter
- For Filling:
- • 2 eggs
- • 1 cup brown sugar
- • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- • 2 tablespoons flour
- • 1 teaspoon baking powder
- • 1/2 teaspoon salt
- • 1 cup coconut
- • 1 cup well drained maraschino cherries, quartered (reserve juice)
- • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- For Frosting:
- • 1 1 /2 tablespoons soft butter
- • 1 cup confectioners sugar
- • 4 to 5 tablespoons cherry juice
- • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Press into greased 9 by 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl beat eggs, stir in brown sugar and almond extract
- Mix flour, baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt, and stir into eg mixture until combined.
- Fold in coconut and cherries.
- Spread mixture over prepared crust using an offset spatula
- Sprinkle with pecans
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until lightly browned
- Remove from oven and allow to cool while preparing frosting.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients for frosting, and stir until smooth, add additional cherry juice or confectioners sugar to achieve desired consistency. Spread over cooled filling.