Monday, September 5, 2016

Chocolate Cherry Bars

In 1974, Mrs Emil Jerzak won a grand prize from Pillsbury for her Chocolate Cherry Bars recipe, and my family has been making them ever since.  The original recipe called for a box of fudge cake mix, and over the years all brands have changed their formulation in various ways.  The finished product remained delicious, but wasn't exactly what it was 42 years ago.  My mom and I have both separately worked on tweaks to the full-size version, to regain the remembered taste and texture, and I have long wanted a reduced version.  This is my final successful incarnation, sized for my smaller household.  It does call for half a can of cherry pie filling, but the remainder can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks and used for another purpose...perhaps Slow-Cooker Cherry-Balsamic Pork Tenderloin?  Each mini loaf is two servings, so this recipe makes a total of four servings, but I suspect the second loaf won't stand around long before being eaten.
  • 1 batch Instant Fudge Cake Mix
  • 1 C cherry pie filling (from a 21 oz can)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
 1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  With shortening, grease and then flour two mini loaf pans (5.75"x 3"x 2").  In medium bowl, combine first four ingredients, stir by hand until well mixed.  Pour into prepared pans.
2.  Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
3.  While bars cool, prepare frosting.  In small saucepan, combine sugar, butter, and milk.  Boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute.  Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips until smooth.  Pour over partially cooled bars.

Robyn's notes: though it's perfectly fine to use flour to prepare the pans, I like to use cocoa powder instead.  Flour can sometimes leave a bit of white on the finished cake, while cocoa will blend with the dark brown of the chocolate and won't be visible.  The original bars were intended to be frosted while still in the pans, so that only the tops were frosted, but I like to remove them from the pans first, so the frosting drips down the sides of the cakes.  The frosting will set very quickly, so however you choose to do it, do it fast. 

***** 5 Stars: Excellent. A favourite for both of us, I will make this repeatedly

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