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Cherry Crumble Bars

These delicious cherry crumble bars feature sweet-tart cherries baked with a tasty base and topping somewhere between a pie crust and a graham cracker.  The bright flavor of the cherries is heightened with lemon zest and almond extract.  Flavorful, colorful, and portable, these cherry crumble bars are great for dessert, a snack, or even breakfast!

It’s the beginning of March, and the fresh fruit situation is a bit lacking in Michigan at this time of year.  That’s when it’s so nice to pull a bag of frozen cherries out of the freezer!  The bright red color and the tart, mouth-watering flavor makes me so happy.  Frozen cherries can be used in so many ways, and these crumble bars are nice because they are easy to make and easy to pack in lunches or wherever else you may need a quick treat.  Plus the tart cherries have all those health benefits, with their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

I adapted the recipe from one I found at Midwest Living.  I didn’t have any almonds on hand, so I used oat flour instead of the ground almonds, and it turned out great.  Also, I added a pinch of salt, but otherwise stayed close to their recipe.  This recipe makes a lot of bars, so it’s good to know they can be stored in the refrigerator for a two to three days, or frozen for up to three months.

snow and blue skyWhile lots of the magazines and blogs are talking about spring, spring feels very far away here today.  We had a March snowstorm yesterday, and our world was coated in white when I woke up this morning.  The kids had school cancelled, so they got to taste-test the cherry crumble bars.  While I am definitely looking forward to spring, it was a really pretty snowfall.  It is melting quickly today, and who knows what tomorrow will bring!  March can be very extreme, and we never know what to expect.

cherry crumble bars in handsHowever, one thing I know to expect is that our schedules are going to get much busier soon.  So though I really long for warm weather, I will try to savor what is left of winter, and the coziness and quiet that winter brings.  There is very little garden and yard work in winter, and with evenings cold and dark, there is more time to be home and be doing quiet things, or at least enjoying unstructured and unscheduled time with each other.  Soon those quiet, unstructured evenings will be gone, which will be nice in many ways, but why not savor winter’s peace and less rushed dinners while we can.

snowy morningI hope you have a great weekend! If you are looking for a burst of bright flavor and color with tart cherries, give these cherry crumble bars a try. I will be joining other bloggers over at Angie’s virtual potluck, Fiesta Friday, to share this delicious recipe!cherry crumble bars with mugs

Cherry Crumble Bars

  • Servings: 28-32 bars
  • Print


  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of oat flour
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, cut up
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon peel
  • 4 cups of frozen unsweetened pitted tart cherries, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a 13 X 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil, allowing the parchment paper or foil to hang over the edges of the baking pan.

For the crumble crust, in a large bowl, combine the flour, oat flour, brown sugar, and salt.  Cut in the butter pieces with a pastry cutter and continue to combine until the mixture resembles coarse sand.  Remove 1 and 1/2 cups of the crumble mixture and put it in a bowl.  Press the remaining crumble mixture into the prepared baking pan and press down so it’s evenly distributed.  Bake in your 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

While the crumble base is baking, prepare the filling.  In another large bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest.  Add the thawed, drained cherries and the almond extract.  Stir to combine.  Spoon the filling evenly over the baked crumble base.  Then sprinkle the reserved crumble topping evenly over the cherry mixture.

Bake for about 40 more minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.  Allow it to cool in the pan on a wire rack.  When it is cool, pull it out by grabbing the edges of parchment paper or foil and carefully set it on a cutting board.  Cut into squares. The bars may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from Midwestliving.com.  


  1. These are my style. And yes to frozen cherries to bring a little summer flavor to winter! I like using different flours these days. I have a lot of great oat flour, almond flour, etc recipes. I’ve been using a good gf blend that I make every month. It would work nicely here. As for winter, I’m a lingerer like you. I’ve adapted to the slower pace, indoor coziness, outdoor crispness, crazy storms. I’m always reluctant to move into the next season even when it comes with the promise of everything I love. Treats like these remind me of what’s coming though! Enjoy the rest of winter.

    • Jenny

      March 2, 2018 at 9:17 pm

      Thank you, Amanda! Yes, I have adapted to the slower pace too, and it feels good to accept it instead of fighting it. 🙂 March and April can be tumultuous, so it should be an interesting few weeks! I think some almond flour would work well in these crumble bars too. Hope you are well and staying warm!

  2. Oh Jenny, these look delicious! I maybe tired of winter but dread the wet, cold spring we have in MN! I wish we could go from 0 to 70 overnight and skip all the spring storms, thundershowers and cold damp!

    • Jenny

      March 5, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      Thank you, Mollie! Yes, we have a similar type of spring here too. It is mostly wet, windy, and cold, with some beautiful days here and there, but lots of extreme fluctuations that play with our emotions! It works best for me if I don’t expect beautiful weather until June!! 🙂

  3. I agree about the fresh fruit in Michigan. I have a bunch of tart cherries I froze last summer and was planning to make a pie but your cherry bars sound easier (no pie crust), just need some oat flour 🙂

    • I see you substituted almonds for the oat flour – I do have a bunch of almonds I could use!

      • Jenny

        March 6, 2018 at 8:31 am

        Thank you, Judi! Yes, ground almonds are in the original recipe, but I didn’t have any so I used oat flour, which turned out great. But I am sure almonds would be really good! I would like to try it with those as well! I hear you about these being easier than making a pie. I love to make pies, but sometimes just don’t feel like taking the time. These bars are easier, and a crumble is more forgiving than a pie crust, yet still delicious! 🙂

  4. I love that you used cherries!! Winter should have come in like this not go out like this in my opinion…

    • Jenny

      March 9, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      Thank you, Debbie! Cherries always cheer me up. Yes, winter is definitely holding on here!

  5. Cherries frozen from the previous summer really are one of the best ways to banish the winter blues, and these bars are making my mouth water! That snowstorm was definitely unexpected, but it made everything so beautiful (for at least a few hours). I will miss those moments of stunning white snow covering everything in sight when I leave Michigan!

    • Jenny

      March 19, 2018 at 8:56 am

      Thank you, Mara! Yes, frozen cherries are the best in the winter! I’m looking forward to when our cherry trees start to turn green! Should be somewhat soon….this has been a very cold month so far though!

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