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Entries in bbar cookies (2)


Taste of Summer: Cherry Pie Shortbread Bars

Cherry pie shortbread bars

Confession: I love cherries, but I do not love cherry pie. I can't tell you why. Maybe because it tastes like health food to me? 

But, you know, I believe that every now and again it's worth taking a moment to re-evaluate your likes and dislikes. Like, do you actually despise cherry pie, CakeSpy? Or is it a notion that you have about yourself that you haven't bothered to challenge for a while? 

I figured that if there was going to be a way to make cherry pie into something loveable for me, I figured that adding shortbread probably be a good place to start.


Basically, I altered a cherry pie recipe into one for bar cookies. I swapped the typical pie crust for a pressed crust of mashed shortbread, and then topped the crust layer with a fairly classic cherry pie filling. I baked for the same amount of time specified in the recipe, and hoped for the best.

But oh, oh, oh! They turned out even better than I thought.

Cherry Pie Shortbread bars

For one thing, they sliced cleanly and beautifully, even while still warm (who can wait til it cools entirely?). For another, the tart cherries I used were wonderful--not overly sweet, and beautifully paired with the slightly oaty shortbread I used--they almost tasted like cherry pie mashed together with an oatmeal cookie (no raisins!). 

Cherry pie shortbread bars

They made for a true taste of summer: tart and sweet and refreshing, but that shortbread and butter crust kept it firmly in dessert, and definitely not health food, territory.

Oh, and in case you're wondering if they go well with ice cream...don't be stupid. Of course they do!

Cherry Pie Shortbread bars

A fantastic recipe to try!

Cherry Pie Shortbread Bars (Printable version here!)

For the crust

  • 2 boxes Duchy Shortbread (I used one box of the plain butter kind, and one box of the "Oaten Biscuits")
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

For the topping


  • 2 cups pitted sour cherries  
  • 1 cup white sugar 
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch 
  • 1 tablespoon butter 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the crushed cookies and butter; press into a well greased 8-inch square pan. Set aside.
  3. Place the cherries, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium-sized non-aluminum saucepan. Allow the mixture to stand for 10 minutes, or until the sugar draws out the cherries' juices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Lower the heat; simmer for 1 minute, or until the juices thicken and become translucent. Remove pan from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Allow the filling to cool to lukewarm.
  4.  Pour the filling on top of the crust. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven on the baking tray for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool for several hours before slicing.

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Vanilla-Malt-Toffee Triangles with Sea Salt

Image: Pillsbury Bake-OffCakeSpy Note: I am beyond ecstatic to announce that I have been invited as a media guest to the 45th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off in Orlando, Florida! The event will take place in late March; til then, I am going to feature several of the sweets finalists here in anticipation of the big day!

Salt and sweet: better together. Proof is evident in this recipe for Vanilla-Malt-Toffee Triangles with Sea Salt, in which, according to recipe creator and Bake-off finalist Valerie Schucht of Glastonbury, CT: "Sea salt is the key to taking sweet sugar cookie bars to sensational, sweet-and-salty treats."

Here's the recipe.

Vanilla-Malt Toffee Triangles with Sea Salt


  • 1 roll Pillsbury® refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup original-flavor malted milk powder
  • 1can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 bag (8 oz) Heath Bits 'O Brickle toffee bits
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. Line bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan (dark pan not recommended) with foil, extending foil 2 inches over short sides of pan. Spray foil with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray.
  2. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add 1/4 cup of the malted milk powder. Mix with wooden spoon or knead with hands, until well blended. Press dough evenly in bottom of pan.
  3. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until crust is light golden brown and puffed.
  4. Meanwhile, in same bowl, beat condensed milk, remaining 1/4 cup malted milk powder, egg and vanilla with wire whisk until blended. Stir in 1/3 cup of the toffee bits. Carefully pour mixture over partially baked crust.
  5. Bake 18 to 23 minutes or until edges are golden brown and filling is set. Remove from oven; sprinkle evenly with remaining toffee bits. Bake an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until toffee bits just begin to melt. Sprinkle bars with sea salt. Cool completely, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  6. Remove bars from pan using edges of foil as handles. Cut into 4 rows by 3 rows. Cut each bar in half diagonally to form triangles. Store loosely covered.


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