The Great Cookie Experiment- Merry Cherry Bars
For many years I was in a book club where the Christmas tradition was to have a book and a cookie exchange. Everyone would bring a wrapped book and two dozen cookies, along with the recipe. We would put a few cookies out to eat, and then select a variety of cookies to take home to use as we needed for the holidays. One of the ladies in the book club brought these cookies. They were pretty and festive and really yummy. We liked them so much that every year after that, we specifically requested that she bring these cookies. She was simply not allowed to bring another recipe because we wanted the Merry Cherry bars!
Even though I’ve had the recipe tucked in my recipe book long after the book club has stopped meeting, I have never made them. They are meant to be for Christmas with the red and green candy, and I don’t usually make cookies for Christmas. I still miss the taste of these, and was really glad to finally test the recipe for myself this year! They were as good as I remembered.
My family really enjoyed the cookies as well, but my girls surprised me a little with their response. They said that they were delicious, but not really very pretty. Huh? I always remembered them being pretty, and the red and green candy should be pretty, and…well…maybe they had a point. M&M’s don’t really chop well. Once that candy coating is broken, it kind of crumbles into teeny bits. Now that I thought about it, I don’t think my book club friend ever really chopped up the M&M’s. She used the mini M&M’s instead. That would have been a whole lot prettier. If you’re looking for something especially nice, definitely make the substitution.
Make these cookies! They are worthy of your buffet table AND neighbor gifts! Go ahead and use them for the holiday cookie exchanges! You may end up having them requested year after year!
Merry Cherry Bars
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
½ tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup coarsely chopped red candied cherries
½ cup coarsely chopped HOLIDAYS plain M&M’s (mini holiday M&M’s)
1 cup powdered sugar
5 tsp. warm water
Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and almond extract. Add combined flour and salt. Mix well. Stir in ½ cup cherries. Spread dough into an ungreased 15 ½ x 10 ½ jelly roll pan. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup cherries and candies. Press in lightly. Bake at 300 for 30-35 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. Cool thoroughly. Combine powdered sugar and water, mixing until smooth. Drizzle over cherry-candy topping. Cut into bars and serve.