Christmas Cookies Part 1: Merry Cherry Bars

holiday baking, cherries, cookies, bar cookies, homemade, desserts
For those of us who like to bake the Holidays are our time to shine. From Halloween to New Years we get to show off our skills and share our love and Christmas cheer through delicious treats. Part of how I get my shine on is via Cookiepalooza. On Cookiepalooza day, usually the first weekend in December, my Mom and I get together for a day of baking many, many cookies. I fear you may not understand when I say many. One year it was 8 different types of cookies. And when you do the math that can be upwards of almost 400 cookies. In one a day! I know: WE ARE NUTS! While we may do some shuffling of recipes from year to year there are a few cookies that are repeated (and requested) every year and I would love to share a few of them with you. First up: Merry Cherry Bars!

Merry Cherry Bars have been made since I was a kiddo. I think the recipe came from my Mom’s friend Edie who makes them every year, too. While it’s technically not a “cookie” it is a cookie bar and the fact that it’s full of tart, dried cherries and Christmas M&Ms give it a pass. The base of this bar is basically a shortbread cookie with almond extract so how can you go wrong there? When you add in the cherries and the M&Ms? KILLER! Some of the cherries and candies are also pressed into the top of the dough before baking so you can see the lovely red and green poking through. When the bars are out of the oven and cooled they are topped with a simple powdered sugar and water glaze. Not only are they so yummy, they are pretty and Christmassy, too!

Add this little recipe to your annual cookie basket and you’ll never turn back! Your friends, family, and cookie exchange attendees will be begging you to make them year after year.

Until next time,
The Blushing Baker 😉

Merry Cherry Bars

Ingredients
1 cup
butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped dried cherries
1/2 cup lightly crushed Christmas M&Ms
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
5 teaspoons warm water

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and almond extract. Combine the flour and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until well blended. Mix in 1/2 cup of the cherries and a 1/4 cup of the candies. Press the dough into an ungreased 9×13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining cherries and crushed candies. Press in lightly.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are lightly browned. Cool completely in the pan before icing.

To make the icing, mix together the confectioners’ sugar and water until a drizzling consistency is reached.

Because I couldn’t find the recipe quickly 😦 , I copied and pasted the bulk of this recipe from Allrecipes.com and tweaked it to reflect what my Mom and I do.

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