2 cups water
1 cup dried cherries, cut into small pieces
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter (no substitutes)
1/2 cup almonds, chopped coarsely
2 cups cherry preserves
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add dried cherries and let stand for 10 minutes or until softened. Drain fruit and set aside.
For crust, combine the oats, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture. Stir almonds into the reserved crumb mixture; set aside.
Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes.
For filling, combine the cherries, cherry preserves and lemon zest. Spread the filling evenly over baked crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until top is golden. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

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