Cherry Pie Pecan Bars - The Gingered Whisk

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cherry Pie Pecan Bars

There were three days left until we moved. Our deep freeze was still stocked with food - food we would not be able to take with us. We either had to eat it, throw it away, or give it away. In the end, we did a bit of each (don't worry, the only things we ended up throwing away were really freezer burned popsicles, and a few fish fillets we found at the bottom of the freezer that we weren't even sure where they came from or how old they were because we don't eat fish). As I was sorting through what was left in the freezer I came upon two bags of frozen cherries and some cool whip. Remembering that I had found a few boxes of corn muffin mix earlier, an idea started to form!

I made a crust of corn muffin mix, topped it with cherry pie-like filling, and then crumbled an oat-brown sugar-pecan mixture on top to form a kind of cherry pie bar. Topped with a dollop of cool whip, it was just perfect, especially as a snack between the frantic box packing party that was going on!

Growing up, we never ate cool whip. We were a strictly made from scratch real whip cream family (which I am thankful for!) but I have recently discovered that I do, in fact, like cool whip! There are definitely times where real whipped cream are called for (not from an aerosol can, either), but sometimes, cool whip reigns.

Think of this recipe more as a guideline than a hard and fast rule. I made this purely by winging it, so feel free to play with ingredients and amounts and make this your own!

Cherry Pie Pecan Bars
2 boxes corn muffin mix
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and frozen
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 bags frozen cherries
cool whip

Preheat oven to 350.
Dump the corn muffin mix in a bowl. Using your finger, rub the pieces of frozen butter into the cornmeal, until it looks like sand.
Press into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.
Bake for 10 minutes.
While baking, dump 2 bags of frozen cherries (without pits) and sugars into a large saucepan, and bring to a boil.
Simmer until the syrup is reduced, and whisk in some cornstarch to thicken.
When thick like cherry pie filling, pour over the corn muffin mixture.
Bake an additional 10 minutes.
Mix together the oats, brown sugar, butter, pecans and cinnamon until it forms a coarse meal. Sprinkle this over the top of the cherry mixture and bake until golden brown and the cherries are set, about 10 minutes more.
Cool, serve with coolwhip.

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