I had a busy weekend, but busy in a good way, which is my favorite kind of weekend. There’s nothing worse than going to work on Monday feeling like you just sat around on your couch for two days straight (and believe me, I know that feeling well). To combat that, Kramer and I try to commit ourselves to things early in the week…mostly so that we can’t just ignore our plans by the time the weekend actually rolls around. We have to stick to ‘em. On Friday night, we ended up having no trouble getting into The Ides, which is the roof bar at The Wythe Hotel. The view was absolutely phenomenal, as evidenced below, and we had some beers while sitting outside, trying to ignore the fact that it’s officially summer and we’ll probably never stop sweating. Ever. After drinks, we headed over to what seems to be our permanent weekend spot, Nitehawk, to see Safety Not Guaranteed. I knew I’d like it, because I’m a huge Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass fan, but I completely fell in love with this movie. I know it doesn’t have a wide release, but if you get a chance, do yourself a huge favor and go see it. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before, and definitely the best movie of 2012 so far, in my opinion. Saturday morning, I got up early and headed over to help out with Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue, where I met awesome dogs and people alike, and watched three adorable dogs get placed with new families, which is always heartwarming and great to see. Everyone “awwww” with me. I can’t wait to go back and work with them again later this month. I stopped by Sips & Bites on my way home for some sandwiches, then Kramer and I watched some TV reruns (what a surprise) before going over to a friend’s house for a small party, which had an awesome spread (I’m talking pigs in a blanket, people) and I went home completely stuffed and happy. Kramer and I were able to sleep in a bit on Sunday, got some bagels, watched a movie, and did some housework. We didn’t plan on going out again, but some friends called and we went to Juniper for burgers and beers, followed by cocktails at Hotel Delmano. Not to shabby for two homebodies, right?
Summer means cherries, and since they are only in season for a short period of time, you’ve got to do as much with them as you can. This is the first of a few cherry recipes I’ve got up my sleeve, but it’s quite possibly my favorite. I know it’s hot outside, and turning on your oven may or may not seem like a death sentence, but I think that these are worth it, and besides, you only have to turn your oven on for an hour. These bars boast a buttery shortbread crust, followed by a layer of sweet, juicy cherries, topped off with another layer of crumbly shortbread, making these reminiscent of a cherry pie or cobbler, but without all the rolling out of dough. Sure, you have to remove the stems and pits from two pounds of cherries, but the work goes much faster than you’d expect, and the result is truly something special. There’s nothing in the world like biting into a plump summer cherry, especially when you combine it with this crust. I was having trouble not picking up every last crumb like some kind of bird, but you’ll be doing the same thing once you try these Cherry Pie Crumble Bars. Like most of my desserts, I froze a few extras of these (the ones that survived, anyway) and I’ve already dug back into them, so I’m happy to report that they freeze beautifully – you can eat them straight out of the freezer, like I did, because honestly, I have no shame, but you can also pop them back in the oven to crisp up the crust a bit and they’ll taste like they were fresh baked that day, so go ahead and make these on Sunday for your weekend cook outs, or, may I suggest, Tuesday night in preparation for your July 4th festivities, if you’ll be celebrating this week. Whatever you do with these cherry bars, you can be sure that they will be gone by the end of the night.
It was hot outside on Saturday while working an adoption event with Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue.
Place the remaining crumble mixture on top of the cherries, pat it down a bit, and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars and serving.
- 2 pounds bing cherries, stems and pits removed
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar (plus an additional ¼ cup for the cherries)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- First thing’s first – you will want to remove the stems and pits from your cherries. I’m not sure of an easy way to do this without a cherry pitter, but they are quite inexpensive and are sold in most supermarkets and grocery stores (or online). I’m sure you could use a paring knife to remove the pits, but that sounds like quite a lot of work – if you’re up for it, though, more power to you. Once you’ve pitted your cherries, slice them in half and place in bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, and salt. Cube the chilled butter, then use your hands, a fork, or a pastry cutter to cut it into the dry ingredients. Work somewhat quickly, especially if you are using your hands, so that the butter doesn’t get too warm and melt. Keep working until the mixture forms pea-sized crumbs.
- Place 1 cup of the crumb mixture in with the cherries and mix to combine. Add in your additional ¼ cup of brown sugar, orange juice, and cinnamon and set aside.
- Grease and/or line a 9×13-inch pan with foil or parchment paper. Take half of your remaining crumb mixture and press it into the bottom of the pan as evenly as you can (it is best to use your hands for this). Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes, until golden and set, then allow to cool slightly. Once cooled, place the cherries on top of the crust, followed by the remaining crumb mixture. Pat the crumbs down gently on top of the cherries, and bake for another 40-45 minutes, until golden and set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. These will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months (once removed from the freezer, you can put them back in the oven to crisp the crust up a bit at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or so, or just enjoy them as they are).