Cherry Almond Pastry Bars

After sitting out last month I am so happy to be back participating in the Improv Cooking Challenge!

Cherry Almond Pastry Bars | From My Sweet Heart

This fun group of cooks, chefs, bakers, bloggers is hosted by Kristen from The Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.  And every month, Kristen gives us 2 ingredients to incorporate into a recipe of our choice.  Can you guess from the picture what we worked with this month? . . . . .

Cherries and Almonds Always a sweet and crunchy combination!  I decided to make these really scrumptious cherry almond bars; the base of which is puffed pastryBing and maraschino cherries keep this sweet and colorful while almond meal and extract give it substance and richness.  All sitting atop a light, buttery pastry crust!


Cherry Almond Pastry Bars | From My Sweet Heart

Though the total baking time is about 1 hour and 15 minutes for these beauties, they really are a breeze to throw together and lend themselves well to most any fruit in season.


Yields:  9-12 bars

Level of Difficulty:  easy



  • 1 sheet of ready made puff pastry, thawed
  • 10 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup of almond meal
  • 3 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 6 ounces of Bing cherries, pitted and halved
  • 2 ounces of maraschino cherries, drained and halved or chopped
  • 1/4 cup of sliced almonds

Preheat your oven to 400°F.  Lightly spray a 9 inch square baking pan with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper, leaving enough paper to hang over two sides of the pan.

Place the thawed puff pastry onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment.  Prick the pastry all over with a fork and then bake it for about 15 minutes until it is nice and golden brown.  Though the pastry will still puff up a bit, it will also shrink a little.  When it has cooled enough to handle, ease the pastry into the bottom of the 9 inch baking pan.  You may have to trim one edge slightly. 

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Gradually add one beaten egg at a time, mixing after each addition.  Next add the almond extract.  Finally, fold in the almond meal and flour.  Pour this mixture over the top of the pastry and even it out with your offset spatula.  Scatter the cherries and almonds on top and bake for one hour or until lightly golden in color.  Cool the cake in the pan.  Then use the paper handles to lift it out.  Cut into bars and you may sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.


Cherry Almond Pastry Bars | From My Sweet Heart


These are chewy, buttery and sweet.  The almonds give it a nutty crunch.  I have made these bars using raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.  And they were equally good!  I’m looking forward to making these with apples, pears, cinnamon and vanilla in the fall!  

NOTE:  If you use berries, substitute the juice of half a lemon instead of the extract.



Adapted from The Essential Baking Cookbook.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out what my fellow Improvers did with their cherries and almonds!


    • Anne says

      LOL Anna….you are a sweet and crunchy kinda girl! Hey…that jalapeno lime topping looks perfect for so many things….I’m thinking fish tacos! : )

  1. says

    Hi! I jumped in from Chaya’s blog when I saw her post on cherry almond mini muffins…your pastry bars look so good! Love the flavors and the presentation is perfect!

  2. says

    Anne, these are gorgeous! I love that you’ve mixed fresh and maraschino cherries for the color/texture mixture–my husband cannot resist anything with maraschino cherries.

  3. says

    These look great… what a fun improv recipe!!!! All the dishes look yummy I can’t remember the last time I have had a maraschino cherry. Although Julian eats them often but usually dug out of his shirley temple. :)

  4. says

    Oh, Yumbo!! I adore almond bars – and anything reminiscent of marzipan, amaretto flavourings… I guess I’m just in love with almonds ~ And you’ve dressed them up so well here with the chewy cherries… I can just imagine how scrumptious these are Anne. Beautifully luminous too.

  5. says

    Bing AND maraschino cherries! That just sound down right wonderful! Clever use of puff pastry and a recipe for this challenge, but then you always have such clever recipes as well as delicious looking!

  6. says

    That is too funny! I just made dried cherry and chocolate chunk cookies with a bunch of almond flour thrown in to add flavor! They look delicious Anne! Sorry I’ve been so scarce lately – I’m hoping that things will start settling down for me now…

  7. says

    Oh my, Anne! Cherry & Almond is my favorite flavor combination of all time, so this is like an ultimate post for me. Your pastry bars made my eyes bug out of my head. Can’t wait to try these! And that long list of cherry links absolutely made my day. I know what I’ll be browsing all day. Thank you so much for this one!

  8. says

    These are lover- er – ly! Once you have the base there are so many topping combo possibilities. I don’t know why I’m so gun shy about puff pastry. I have to get past that so I can enjoy these.

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