Somethings just go together, like peanut butter and jelly, cake and ice cream, chocolate and cherries.
This month I’m participating in the Kitchen PLAY Progressive Party featuring cherries from the Cherry Marketing Institute.
Each month, Kitchen PLAY hosts a sponsored Progressive Party , featuring six different food bloggers. Each food blogger is assigned to one of the following courses: cocktails, amuse bouche, salad, appetizer/soup, entree and dessert. All bloggers have to incorporate the sponsor’s product into their assigned course.
February is National Cherry Month and I was thrilled to be assigned to bring the dessert to the party– especially because they’re today’s hottest Super Fruit! I have been craving magic bars lately and I wondered how it would be to add a layer of tart cherries.
So I started out as I would normally for a batch of Magic Bars, I melted a cube of butter in my pan. I then added a layer of graham cracker crumbs and coconut, followed by a layer of sour cherries. I wanted to be sure to get a cherry in every single bite, for that fresh burst of cherry flavor!
I then drizzled the whole thing with the sweetened condensed milk, and topped it with sliced almonds. After 30 minutes in the oven, I let it cool completely before I pouring melted dark chocolate on the top.
These bars were terrific, just like I imagined. The tart cherries balanced out the sweetness of the bars and complimented the coconut and chocolate. With the leftover cherries and juice sitting on the counter looking at me, I decided to take these bars to the next level and turn them into a sundae. I took the the drained juice and the rest of the cherries, sugar, and some cornstarch to thicken it, and made a simple cherry dessert sauce. I cooked it till it thickened, took it off the heat, and added a little almond extract.
I topped a cherry bar with a scoop of ice cream, and poured the warm cherry almond sauce over the top.
Simple, delicious, and a perfect dessert for Valentines Day!♥
The Cherry Marketing Institute is also sponsoring a delicious giveaway at Kitchen PLAY. Simply recreate one or more recipes from this month’s Progressive Party, post about the experience on your blog and provide a link to your post on Kitchen PLAY to enter. All qualifying bloggers in each course will be entered to win the following prize pack shipped directly to each winner (valued at $100).
- A recipe rock
- Sur La Table red measuring cup set
- Sur La Table red mixing bowls, set of three
- Yaritza apron
- 1 lb bag of dried tart cherries
- 1 bottle of tart cherry juice
- branded cherries tote
No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited. Open to US residents only. The deadline is February 29, 2012. Please review the complete contest rules before entering. Good luck!
Tart Cherry Bars
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 1/2 cup frozen tart cherries, thawed (reserve leftover cherries and juice for sauce)
- 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 1/2 cup dark chocolate (melted)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish). Coat 13×9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.
- Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with cherries, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with a fork.
- Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.
- Drizzle melted chocolate on top.Cool until chocolate is set.
- Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature.
- Reserved cherry juice and cherries.
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Vanilla ice cream
- Combining the cherries, juice, 3/4 cup sugar, and corn starch in a sauce pan.
- Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes or till thickened, then remove from heat.
- Stir in the almond extract.
To Make a Tart Cherry Bar Ala Mode
- Place one or two scoops of ice cream on top of a cherry bar.
- Pour cherry sauce over the top.
- Sprinkle with sliced almomds.
** Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Kitchen PLAY and The Cherry Marketing Institute. I was compensated for my work creating an original recipe using Frozen Tart Cherries. All opinions are 100% mine.