This recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated cookbook, America’s Best Lost Recipes. It interested me for two reasons–one, I had cherry preserves left over from canning this summer, and two, I love salty and sweet together. So I thought I’d give this a try:
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup cherry jam or preserves
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two sides. Grease the foil.
Pulse first four ingredients in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and cheese, pulse into crumbs.
Press half the dough into the prepared pan (save remaining dough for topping). Bake 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, but don’t turn off the oven!
Spread jam over the crust. Press the other half of the dough on top. Bake until the top is golden, about 25-30 minutes. Cool completely in pan–I forgot to do this, so mine cracked a bit.
Use foil to lift cookies from pan. Cut into bars.
Verdict: These are pretty good. They’re not great…the flour to butter ratio seems to be too high on the flour side IMO. Or maybe it’s that they need more sugar? However, I do think the cheddar adds a nice tang and I’m really tempted to try adding cheddar to a different fruit bar recipe, one with more going on in the crust. I have a different bar recipe, from Baking Illustrated, and maybe I’ll tinker with the idea there.
EDIT: These are much better the second day! They were a hit at the office. The bar seems to gel together more, and create more of a shortbread.