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Chocolate-Cherry Bars: Cake Mix Cookie Recipe and Pillsbury Bake-Off Favorite

“They’re such a surprise,” said a friend when she tasted Chocolate-Cherry Bars. What looks like a frosted brownie explodes with flavor from the marriage of chocolate with cherry.

And like a brownie, the bars are a cross between a slice of cake and a cookie. They are light enough to eat with a fork but sturdy enough to lift with your fingers or even pack in a lunch box.

The cake mix base makes putting together the recipe easy by saving you steps. You can mix the frosting in just a few minutes while the bars are baking and spread it on the bars as soon as they come out of the oven, further streamlining the recipe.

It’s easy to see why Chocolate-Cherry Bars were a favorite recipe from the iconic Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest #25 in 1974.

Chocolate-Cherry Bars from The Cookie Elf

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Bake time: 20-30 minutes

Cooling time: 90 minutes-2 hours

Makes 48 bars

Ingredients

Bars

1 box (16 - 18 ounces) chocolate cake mix, like Pillsbury® Moist Supreme® Devil’s Food Cake Mix

1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 eggs, lightly beaten

 

Frosting

5 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/3 cup milk

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.  Grease a 15 x 10 baking pan with shortening or cooking spray. Lightly flour the pan. Set it aside.

  2. In a large bowl with a spoon, mix together cake mix, cherry pie filling, almond extract, and eggs until well blended. Spread the batter evenly in the pan.

  3. Bake bars for 20-30 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  4. Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt butter. Add milk and sugar. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring continually. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the chocolate chips, stirring until they are melted and the mixture is smooth.

  5. Remove the bars from the oven. Pour the frosting over the warm bars, spreading until the surface is even.

  6. Cool the bars completely on a wire rack, about 1 ½ hours. Cut bars into 8 rows by 6 rows (or other size you prefer.) Lift bars out of the pan using a metal spatula.

  7. Place bars in an airtight container using waxed paper or parchment paper to separate layers. Store them in the refrigerator.

A Special Baking Tip for Chocolate-Cherry Bars

By using a 15 x 10 pan, the bars resemble brownies. You can use a 13 x 9 pan for the recipe and bake for 25-30 minutes for thicker, more cake-like bars.


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