Cherry Cookie Bars {w/ Cream Cheese Icing}!

cherry cookie bars

Valentine’s Day should have cherries!   After all…. life is just a bowl full of cherries.  ;)

These Cherry Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Icing are a delectable treat!   They remind me of a lofthouse cookie in texture, but even better because they are super moist!   The cherry taste comes from actual maraschino cherries that have been chopped up.  Top it all off with cream cheese icing. and wow… it’s a winner!

Cherry Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Icing

I had fun decorating these bars.  It was SO easy too.  I just slapped on the icing and cut them up.  I sprinkled them heavily with gold stars and edible pearls.  The little hearts are made with Cherry Taffy that has been cut out with a tiny cookie cutter and  dipped in red and pink sugar!

Cherry Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Icing 2

Cherry Cookie Bars {w/ Cream Cheese Icing}!
 
adapted heavily from Diners, Dishes and Desserts (http://dinnersdishesanddesserts.com/sugar-cookie-bars/)
Author:
Ingredients
  • I jar of marachino cherries minced finely (save 4 Tbsp. of the juice)
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp. Pure Almond Extract
  • 4 or 5 cups flour (start with 4 cups and move up to 5 cups if needed- dough should feel like a cookie)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • pink or red food coloring is optional
  • Icing:
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese softened
  • 1 stick of butter softened
  • 2-3 cups of confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • food coloring is optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 in pan with parchment paper.
  2. In an electric mixer cream butter and sugar until it is a light consistency, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Stir in vanilla, cherry juice and almond extract. . In another bowl mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture, until just combined. Mix in cherries by hand until thoroughly incorporated. Spread into the parchment lined baking pan. Bake for 10-22 minutes, a tester should come out clean. Allow to cool completely before icing.
  3. To make icing: Combine the butter and cream cheese in a mixer on medium. Once it is a smooth consistency add powdered sugar on low ½ cup at a time. Once it is incorporated whip it on high for 2 minutes. Add any food coloring at this point and mix well. Spread onto the cookie bars.

So pretty and tasty!

Comments

  1. Emily says

    Hi Rachel, this looks like a great recipe I can’t wait to make it! I’m just confused on when to add in the cherry juice we were told to save. Do you add it in with the other wet ingredients or when you add in the chopped up cherries?

  2. says

    These just look SO pretty! I think I’ll have to give them a try. They remind me a little of the cherry ripe slice recipe that I make – but with cream cheese icing instead of chocolate – and MUCH prettier! :)

  3. Joanie says

    Do you think I could freeze these for later? I’d like to make ittoday and give them out closer to valentine’s day.

  4. jenna says

    This were just what I needed for Valentine’s Day! However, I failed miserably with how they turned out….??? Not sure why, but the cake was like concrete and I’m sorry to say unedible. Help! Could it be the 5 cups of flour????

    • says

      I am so sorry they didn’t work out for you!!! The 5 cups of flour worked for me, but I may change the recipe to say something like start out with 4 cups of flour and go up to 5 if needed. The other things that could have went wrong are that it baked too long (mine was still chewy in the middle- not underdone, but chewy kind of like a brownie). Over mixing could have been the culprit too since gluten can be formed easily with over mixing. Again- I am terribly sorry it didn’t work out. :(

  5. says

    Too much batter for a 9×13, best success would be a bar pan. Cooked long to set certer “some” ends became over done, should have trusted my gut and used my bar pan!

  6. says

    No need to apologize Rachel, things happen. However a 8×8? That is crazy, been baking over 40 years and four cups of flour and two sugar in a 8×8? Once I poured the batter in the pan I knew it needed bar size to bake right but didn’t trust my judgement, AGAIN! Dang me!! Will do again but will do Pampered Chef bar pan and know the results will be great. No over baked edges or too gooey center, but perfection! Thinking of adding a bit of chopped coconut too! Lori

    • says

      Sounds good! I have to admit that the middle of my bars were still a bit gooey upon taking them out. That’s the part I like though. ;) Let me know how it goes the second time around.

  7. Sheri says

    These look like they’re going to be perfect for my daughters May wedding! I’ve made the Non-cherry version of this recipe many times and it’s a “you can come if you bring the bar sugar cookies” kinda recipe! Everyone loves it, and I think this is going to be fabulous! I’m going to give it a try tomorrow. Just one question: The Cherry taffy…. is that like a laffy taffy bar, or did you use something different? sometimes those can be kinda hard. Do you microwave it just a little to soften it? Thanks again for the recipe and also the decorating ideas! Can’t wait to try it. Fingers crossed mine will turn out as pretty as yours!

    • says

      I used the wrapped salt-water taffy… around these parts (Oklahoma) you can find them most places. They are the “Old-Fashioned” kind. I think you could use the laffy taffy, but you are right about it being hard.

    • says

      I used the wrapped salt-water taffy… around these parts (Oklahoma) you can find them most places. They are the “Old-Fashioned” kind. I think you could use the laffy taffy, but you are right about it being hard. I hope it all works out. Let me know how it goes!

  8. says

    These look so good! You know how it is when you find a recipe you want to try and actually have everything to do it?? That’s me today making these! The dough tastes yummy so I’m sure the bars will! :)

  9. says

    I had to come back & comment – I was excited to try this recipe & made them right away. I’d have to say, I found it rather disappointing. I just didn’t think the cookie bar had much flavor. Unless you use food coloring, they will not look like this. The cherry juice is not enough to have them turn out pink even though the dough looks pink before you bake it. Not enough cherry flavor for me either – you’d think there would be with a jar full of cherries in there? They do get over baked around the edges in a 9×13 pan. The frosting was the best part but overall the recipe wasn’t worth all the (and it’s a lot with 5 cups of flour and 3 sticks of butter!) ingredients I put into it. I wish I would have loved this recipe but didn’t.

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