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Cherry Chews

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

cherry chews

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!

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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….

Red Cottage Chronicles
Cherry Chews

Cherry Chews

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

These Cherry Chews have been baked in my family for generations. They are sure to be a family favorite of yours too!


  • • 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


    For Crust

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    1. 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.

    For Filling

    1. In a large bowl beat eggs, stir in brown sugar and almond extract
    2. Mix flour, baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt, and stir into eg mixture until combined.
    3. Fold in coconut and cherries.
    4. Spread mixture over prepared crust using an offset spatula
    5. Sprinkle with pecans
    6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until lightly browned
    7. Remove from oven and allow to cool while preparing frosting.

    For frosting

    Combine all ingredients for frosting, and stir until smooth, add additional cherry juice or confectioners sugar to achieve desired consistency. Spread over cooled filling.


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  1. Oh my goodness! Those Cherry Chews look scrumptious! I’ve bookmarked your post because I definitely want to try it. I came across your post on “Plucky’s Second Thought” Linky Party. I’m so glad I did. I’m following you via Bloglovin’. Please follow me back and have a happy Monday!


  2. I loved these as a kid! My mom made these every Christmas and I can’t for the life of me find her old recipe. I was looking for it all last week. I suspect it came out of a magazine in the late seventies/early eighties which was around when she started making them. So glad I came across this on pinterest! yay – now I can make my own 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by Kathleen! I actually have done it both ways, but never right out of the oven. I usually do it when th they have cooled slightly, but also have done it when they are completely cooled. It is a bit easier when they are still a bit warm though!

  3. These are just lovely to look at. I think I could easily adapt this recipe to meet my gluten free dietary needs.

    I will let you know how it goes.

  4. I served these at a party yesterday. I also made potato chip cookies and chocolate chip. These were everyone’s favorite, and I had to give out the recipe. Absolutely delicious!!!
    I am 76 years old and bake about every day, so I’m not easily impressed. But….wow, my new favorite and will be making these as Christmas goodies for friends. ( I followed the recipe exactly as written). Thank you Maureen.

    1. Oh my goodness Barb!! What a wonderful compliment! Thank you so much. You have made my day. I am so happy that you and your friends love them as much as our family does 🙂

  5. I made these last week,and they were awesome. I love anything cherry or almond flavored. These had such a great flavor to them. I only eat dessert once a week,I can’t wait until Saturday until I can have some more. This recipe is a keeper,thanks for sharing.

    1. Absolutely they can Donna! I also make them ahead and freeze them…until my family finds them and eats them frozen and I have to make them again 😉

  6. Hi! I saw this recipe on Pinterest and am pleasantly surprised it’s the same recipe I’ve been making for years, courtesy of my husband’s grandmother. All the ingredients are the same with the exception of the cherry glaze. I never thought of a glaze before when I’ve made these bars. I’ve saved your recipe and will be making it very, very soon! These bars always go very quickly in our house. I absolutely LOVE them!

    1. This is so fun that you too have this recipe passed down to you! The glaze adds just a little something extra! They are definitely the family favourite around here too 🙂

    1. So Sorry Lisa! Mine always turns out just right. Was it too runny or too thick? Perhaps adjusting the ratio of cherry juice and confectioners would help!

  7. Maureen, I would love to make these, however I dint have any coconut. Would they come out ok without it? Thank you in advance for your answer!

    1. Hi Nancy! I have never made them without coconut, but it is a main component of the bars so I would be hesitant to do so. If you did want to try and omit them, I would suggest adding a bit more pecans and cherries, but I don’t know if they would stay together or have the same texture and flavour. I would love to know how you make out if you do try!

  8. I think I will be adding this to my February baking calendar!
    It will make a sweet and pink Valentine’s Day treat.

  9. Do you think vanilla extract would work in replace of the almond? I have an almond allergy but these sound amazing!

    1. Hi Antoinette! I think you would be fine substituting vanilla. The cherry is the prominent flavour, and I think a hint of vanilla would be lovely!

    1. Rita, I have never made them with fresh cherries, but I am sure not opposed to trying! I would definitely choose a sweet cherry, and perhaps add some cherry extract since you would not have the cherry juice that is used in the recipe. Now you have me curious, but I will have to wait til cherry season!

  10. I just baked this for 25 minutes. It’s lightly browning, but still seems not “set”, is it supposed to be set when you pull it out of the oven, or does it firm up while cooling? Thanks for you time and assistance.

  11. My mother passed away in 2005 and she made the most delicious Cherry Chews every Christmas she was the ultimate cook and baker. I crave them every Christmas, they were my favorite.
    I will attempt your recipe this year and eat them all myself………..Just kidding !

    My three boys will enjoy them, I am sure !

    1. I sure hope they measure up! My mom was our baker extraordinaire too! Just glad I was paying attention! I know that I have to get them into the freezer fast or they will be eaten up!

  12. These are delicious! I have made them twice exactly per your recipe instructions. My husband has already been into the Christmas batch. Thank you for such a terrific and well explained recipe.

  13. I never comment on posts but I have to let you know that these are one of the best recipes I’ve ever made and I bake a lot! I first made them for a family event at Christmas and everyone loved them. I have also made them and used a gluten free flour (pillsbury), and they turned out just as perfectly as the original recipe! Since Christmas I’ve been requested to make them again as my aunt that has the gluten allergy cannot stop thinking about them!

  14. Hi, these sound like the amazing cherry chews my aunt used to make for all family get togethers. We all devoured them quickly at gatherings. I am just wondering if you could omit the pecans or sub something else. I have 2 friends that are allergic to specifically pecans and walnuts. Could I use something else in place?

    Thanks so much


    1. I Elaine! Thanks for stopping by! Although I have only made them with different nuts. I would just make sure they are chopped to the same size and I think they would work fine! I don’t think I would omit the nuts altogether though as they do help with the structure and add a nice texture!