Unbelievably easy recipe for a pretty, super yummy and festive holiday dessert loaded with cherry pie filling. These Easy Cherry Holiday Squares or Bars are perfect to make for that last-minute holiday baking. Serves a crowd!
It’s Christmas baking season once again and for me it’s all about looking for easy and festive recipes that pack a lot of flavors but without much fuss!
After all, with all the busy-ness of the holidays which involve holiday shopping, meetings with family and friends, more errands here and there, I hardly have enough time to make yummy holiday-themed food! So what do I do?
Thankfully, I found (or more accurately, it was kindly given to me) this super delightful recipe that perfectly meets my holiday baking needs (both for blogging and for my tastebuds!). It’s an unbelievably easy (practically, no-fail) recipe that presents beautifully and is totally yummy.
I am indebted to a very dear lady from our church, Patty Owen, for this fabulous recipe. She kindly shared with me her mom’s Easy Cherry Holiday Squares. As you can see in the photos, it’s a clear holiday winner!
What I love about this recipe is that it can feed a crowd so it’s perfect for any holiday gathering. It can make at least 16 squares but up to 24 too when you need a bit more.
CAN YOU USE OTHER PIE FILLINGS AS HOLIDAY SQUARES?
Yes, certainly. It’s so versatile as you can choose to use your favorite pie filling depending on what strikes your fancy or depending on the season or the holiday you are celebrating!
A blueberry pie filling would be great for the 4th of July while for fall you can do apple pie. I have actually tried the apple pie and it came out so yummy, too. For Christmas, I think the cherry pie version is very apt! Don’t you agree?
Simply sprinkle with some icing sugar before serving and it becomes an even prettier dessert that everyone would be impressed with! Enjoy for Christmas or the 4th of July!
Don’t fancy cherries? No problem! You can use your favorite pie filling.
In the summer months, think strawberry, blueberry and peaches or whatever else you fancy! It’s such a versatile dessert!
Easy Cherry Holiday Squares
Unbelievably easy recipe for a pretty, super yummy and festive holiday dessert loaded with cherry pie filling. These Cherry Holiday Squares or Bars are perfect to make for that last-minute holiday baking. Serves a crowd!
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (could lessen to 1 1/4 cups though the original recipe calls for 1.5 cups)
- 4 eggs, large
- 1 teaspoon lemon or vanilla extract, (or a combo!)
- 2 cups flour, sifted
- 1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling or your favorite pie filling
- Confectioners sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or lightly brush a 15-by-10-inch jellyroll pan with butter.
Cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes or until light, fluffy and smooth. Using medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon extract. Reduce the speed to low then slowly add flour and mix just until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread evenly and smooth the top with a spatula. Mark off about 24 equal squares using a butter knife. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of cherry pie filling in the center of each square (about 3 cherries each). Bake in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes or until lightly browned and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.
Slice the squares while still warm. Once cooled, lightly sprinkle with confectioners or icing sugar. Serve with a cup of tea!
TIPS & TRICKS: READ THIS!!!
Some followers on our Facebook page said they’ve made a similar recipe and have added 1 teaspoon of baking powder to the mix. The recipe I received and the others I’ve seen online do not require it but feel free to add it if you want. I don’t think it would be a big issue either way.
Also, I have decided to use the entire can of cherry pie filling for this instead of the usual half a can. Instead of doing 24 bars (other recipes only do between 16-24) I ended up with 32 bars (because I served this to a church party 2 years ago and needed a bit more than 24). It ended up nicely and was just about the perfect bite-sized sweet treat so feel free to divide batter into as many slices as you need.
Do not put too many cherries on top (3 should be good) so they don’t sink. Do not push it down but simply and lightly place the cherries on top. If any slight sinkage occurs, that’s perfectly fine. It won’t change the taste and would still look pretty.
You may use other pie fillings like blueberries or strawberries.
Others have also suggested using lemon extract instead of vanilla or make a combo. Feel free to choose what you like. I used lemon extract on mine but I listed either vanilla or lemon extract on the ingredient list.
The original recipe is a tad sweet for my liking because the cherry pie filling is also sweet so I lessened the sugar by 1/4 cup. Feel free to adjust the sweetness to your liking.