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Cherry recipes in honor of George

February 19, 2014
By ESTHER MCCOY - Food editor (emccoy@heraldstaronline.com) , The Herald-Star

Cherries enjoy a certain popularity around the time of George Washington's birthday, the real birthday of Feb. 22 and not Presidents' Day.

The tale goes that the young Washington used an axe to chop down his father's prized cherry tree, and when questioned about the situation, replied, "Father, I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down the tree."

"Probably not true," notes a children's book called "George Washington's Birthday: A Mostly True Tale." The book written by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by Barry Blitt offers lots of facts and fiction about the first president.

Article Photos

Cherry recipes enjoy a certain popularity this time of the year.
— Photo by Esther McCoy

Just because the cherry tale has been spread near and far, we will proceed with recipes that involve those ruby red morsels that can be very tart and puckery or the Bing cherries that are dark and sweet.

There are some great recipes for a cookie bar, a blintz recipe with cherry sauce, cupcakes with bourbon and cherry preserves, a dried cherry bar, a gelatin dessert that is lower in calories and a pie that has a different twist.

I browsed through recipe books and magazines while watching the Olympics to find this collection. Hope you enjoy them. But don't think badly of George in case he really did take out his frustration on the cherry tree.

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This is a chocolate cupcake filled with bourbon-laced cherry preserves and sour cherries, but I would use cherries from a can of pie filling since canned sour cherries can be just that...sour. This came from a Rachael Ray magazine.

Bourbon Cherry

Cordial Cupcakes

2 sticks butter

10 1/2-ounces dark chocolate chopped

3 eggs beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 cup cherry preserves

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

24-ounce jar pitted sour cherries.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two muffin pans with baking liners. In a large saucepan, melt the butter in 2 cups water over medium heat. Remove from the heat. Whisk the chocolate until melted.

Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Divide the batter among the cups, filling to just below the rim. Bake until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans. In a small bowl, stir bourbon into the preserves.

Using a paring knife or an apple corer, cut a 1-inch deep hole into each cupcake. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Place one sour cherry in each hole. Fill with 2 teaspoons preserves. Top with three more cherries. Makes 2 dozen.

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This recipe uses the dried cherries that can be purchased like the dried cranberries or the cranberries can be used if desired. It is from the Family Circle magazine.

Cherry Blondies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sweetened dried cherries, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until smooth. Next, beat in egg and vanilla.

On low speed, add flour, 1 cup white chocolate chips, dried cherries and salt. Press evenly into bottom of prepared baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes or until center is firm to the touch. Cool completely on a wire rack. Place remaining 1/4 cup white chocolate chips in a small glass bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds. Stir until smooth. Transfer to a small resealable plastic bag. Repeat with the semisweet chocolate chips. Snip off a corner of each bag and drizzle chocolate over blondies in a criss-cross pattern.

Cut into 16 squares then cut each square in half for a total of 32 bars. Each blondie is 143 calories with 7 grams fat.

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This is another Rachael Ray recipe. If you have never had a blintz, you will be amazed at the light, little cakes that are drizzled with cherry preserves combined with maple syrup.

Cheese Blintz

Hot Cakes

2 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup cottage cheese

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup cherry preserves

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Confectioners' sugar

In the blender, mix eggs, flour, milk, sugar and baking powder for 10 seconds.

Add cottage cheese and blend until just incorporated. On griddle, heat butter over medium heat. Working in batches, spoon batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto griddle. Cook, flipping once, until golden, 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Top with cherry preserves that have been heated with the maple syrup. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Makes eight.

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This recipe makes a large amount of bars. It would be good when taking them to a potluck dinner or for a bake sale. Or just make them for the family and freeze a portion. It is from the Taste of Home magazine and makes 5 dozen.

Cherry Bars

Cookies:

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

Two 21-ounce cans cherry pie filling

Glaze:

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Gradually add flour. Spread 3 cups batter into a greased 15-by-10-inch baking pan. Spread with pie filling. Drop remaining batter by teaspoonfuls over filling. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. In a small bowl, mix confectioners' sugar, extracts and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over top. When set, cut into 60 bars.

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This gelatin dessert has only 107 calories per serving. It has pineapple, cherry pie filling, bananas and pecans in the ingredients, along with sour cream to make it creamy. It serves eight and is from Healthy Exchanges Newsletter.

Gelatin Dessert

Two four-serving packages sugar-free cherry gelatin

1 cup boiling water

8-ounce can crushed pineapple, packed in fruit juice, undrained

20-ounce can no sugar added cherry pie filling

1/2 cup no-fat sour cream

1 medium diced banana

1/4 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine dry gelatin and boiling water. Mix well to dissolve gelatin. Stir in undrained pineapple and cherry pie filling. Add sour cream. Mix gently to combine. Fold in banana and pecans. Spread mixture into an 8-by-8-inch dish. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. Cut into eight squares.

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This recipe is from the "Let's Get Cooking" book compiled by the McDiffitt family of Rayland.

I have found so many good recipes from this book. Helen McDiffitt is a wonderful cook and has passed this skill on down to her family.

Sweet Glazed

Cherry Pie

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

16-ounce package frozen, unsweetened pitted dark, sweet cherries

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Double pie crust

3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

21-ounce can cherry pie filling

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons milk

In a bowl, stir together sugar and cornstarch. Add frozen cherries and vanilla. Toss. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or until a syrup forms. Stir occasionally.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place 1/2 cup toasted almonds in bottom of pie crust. Spoon in sweet cherry mixture; spoon remaining almonds on top and add the cherry pie filling. Put on the top crust and make slits in crust with a knife. Cover edge with foil to prevent over browning. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 30 more minutes or until top is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Remove and cool on wire rack. Stir together powdered sugar and enough milk to make drizzling consistency. Drizzle over pie.

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Baked ice cream? How could that be?

Here is a recipe for Cherry Alaska Meringues from the Healthy Exchanges and, believe it or not, one serving is 141 calories.

The secret is preparing it quickly and putting the custard cups in a preheated 425-degree oven for 5 minutes or until the meringue is just turning golden brown and serving immediately.

Cherry Alaska Meringues

20-ounce can no sugar added cherry pie filling

1 1/4 cups sugar and fat-free vanilla ice cream

3 egg whites

1/4 cup Splenda Granular

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray four 12-ounce custard cups with butter-flavored cooking spray and evenly arrange on a baking sheet.

Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add Splenda and almond extract. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Evenly spoon cold, cherry pie filling into prepared custard cups. Top each with 1/2 cup firm ice cream. Spread meringue mixture over top of ice cream in each cup and sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons almonds for each cup. Bake 5 minutes or just until meringues start to turn golden brown. Remove from oven immediately and serve.

(McCoy can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com.)

 
 

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