I have pitted an absurd amount of cherries in the past week in an effort to get this recipe just right for you. To be fair, the recipe didn’t start as chocolate covered cherry bars; I originally attempted to make a cherry galette that in the end, made me want to quit instagram and everything else for that matter. But that’s a story for another day.
chocolate covered cherry bars are indeed as excellent as they sound.
In hindsight, the galette fail was for the best… I really wanted to do something with cherries and chocolate and bounced a few ideas in my head but none of them sounded quite right. I wanted cherry pie filling but without the hassle of pie. And I wanted it all to be reminiscent of a chocolate covered cherry, my favorite childhood treat.
These chocolate covered cherry bars check all of those boxes, making the ridiculous amount of money I spent on cherries this week worth it.
Speaking of pitting cherries, it’s one of the few times I recommend a single tasker in the kitchen. If you plan on doing anything with in-season cherries besides popping them in your mouth and spitting out the pits (nothing wrong with that), you’ll need a way to remove those pits! Besides, you can use one like this that pits 6 cherries at once, which will speed up the process quite a bit.
There are a few steps to make them – this is not a dump it cake – but the difficulty level is low. You won’t want to quit everything like I did when I attempted a galette (which by the way, I have done successfully with blueberries, but the cherry filling leaked out of the crust and made most of the damn thing stick to the parchment)
But I digress. These chocolate covered cherry bars require a few steps, and they’re all easy ones:
- Make the crust and topping. Yup! They are the same thing, just treated differently once you assemble. If you have a food processor, this is super easy. If not, it’s still easy.
- Make the cherry filling. Depending on your cherry pitting situation, this could take some time, but really only 10 minutes tops. I have a single cherry pitter which makes it time consuming, but I still got them all done in around 7 minutes. I just tear the cherries in half after pitting them, which saves time, and also ensures there are no pits hiding out (sometimes the pitter punctures a hole but the pit doesn’t come flying out)
- Put it all together. 2/3 of the crust mixture gets pressed into a baking dish, cherries get dumped in, and then the remaining 1/3 gets crumbled on top.
- Make the ganache. If you haven’t yet discovered just how easy it is to make this chocolate perfection, you are in for a treat. It’s simply warmed cream (or coconut milk) and chopped chocolate mixed together.
ingredients you’ll need to make chocolate covered cherry pie bars:
- almond flour
- tapioca starch (or arrowroot)
- coconut sugar
- butter (or dairy-free alternative)
- vanilla extract (optional)
- lemon juice
- dark chocolate
- heavy cream or full fat coconut milk
And of course these bars are delightful without the chocolate, if you’re craving more of a traditional cherry pie situation!
An important note: You’ll want the bars to be completely cool before cutting them, so factor in time for them to chill in the fridge. Making the bars a day ahead and drizzling them with chocolate the day you plan to serve them is what I recommend. Just cover them with plastic wrap once they’re completely cooled.Print
For the Crust:
- 3 cups almond flour
- 1 cup tapioca starch (arrowroot will work as well)
- 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, (diced, plus more for greasing the pan)
- 1 egg
For the Filling:
- 2 pounds cherries, pitted and halved (I just tear them in half)
- 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1/4 cup tapioca starch (arrowroot will work as well)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
For the chocolate ganache:
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (about a heaping 1/2 cup when chopped)
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) heavy cream or full fat coconut milk
Make the Crust and Topping:
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and lightly grease an 8×8 inch baking dish. If desired, you can line it with parchment as well. (Grease both the pan and the parchment if you do)
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the almond flour, tapioca starch, coconut sugar, vanilla, and salt.
- Add the butter and pulse a few times to start breaking it up. Turn it on for a few seconds, until the butter is incorporated as coarse crumbs.
- Add the egg and turn it on once more, until it just starts to come together.
- Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and wrap it up tightly. Stick in the fridge while you prepare the cherry filling.
Make the cherry filling and put it all together:
- Pit and halve the cherries (I just tear them in half after I pit each one)
- In a large bowl, mix together the coconut sugar, tapioca starch, and lemon juice. Stir in the cherries.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and press 2/3 of it into the greased baking dish, bringing it about 1/2 inch up the sides. Dump in the cherries, and crumble the remaining 1/3 of the dough on top, covering most of the cherry mixture.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the cherries are bubbly. If the top starts to get too brown before the cherries are bubbly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
- Allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack before cutting into 9 or 12 squares.
- Drizzle with chocolate ganache. Stick back in the fridge to harden the chocolate, and serve at room temperature.
To make the chocolate ganache:
- Place the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl and heat the cream to just steaming either in a small sauce pan or in the microwave. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until completely smooth.
You’ll want the bars to be completely cool before you cut them, so factor in time to allow them to chill in the fridge. They are thick so it takes several hours – making them a day ahead is fine, just cover with plastic wrap once they’re completely cold.
Ganache will thicken as it cools, so it’s best to make it shortly before you’re ready to drizzle the bars. Alternately, you can re-melt it in the microwave or over a bowl of steaming water.
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