Remember when I told you my grandma baked the best peach pie? Turns out my other grandma is pretty good with pies too! If I stared at a Marie Callendar’s commercial or even whispered that it sounded good, Grandma would mix up her specialty, apple pie, the same day. Just for me. Sometimes she used two crusts, sometimes a lattice top, sometimes nothing at all, but the filling was always my favorite. Apples and cinnamon make me swoon!
During middle school, we invited Grandma over for one of our weekly summer BBQs. She insisted on bring something, and since Mom had already bought baked beans, hamburger meat, and fresh corn, we told Grandma to bring dessert. Which could only mean one thing…
A few hours before dinner, Grandma began feeling funny. She called Dad, telling him she couldn’t come because of a cold, but would he please drive over and pick up the dessert she made so Amy wouldn’t have to go without?
Forced to stay at home so her germs wouldn’t spread, I chased my dog around the backyard while waiting, too excited to sit still. When Daddy pulled into the garage, I raced over to lift the red checkered cloth off of the wicker basket and peek at the pie underneath.
Too sick to go to the store for apples, Grandma had dug up a frozen pie crust, dumped in a jar of cherry filling (but no sugar or spices!), and popped it in the oven for an hour. Still, I cut a slice after I finished my burger and tried a bite. I then set down my fork, gave Grandma a polite “thank you” on the phone, and served myself a big bowl of ice cream instead. (My parents and brother did the same… It was just so bland!)
And that has been my one and only cherry pie experience. A little too scarring, it prevented me from ever ordering a piece at restaurants, trying a slice at friends’ summer potlucks, or even baking my own. (My other excuse is that I don’t own a cherry pitter.)
But last week, I found myself with a few too many cherries in my fridge, and I decided to take a baby step. Still scared of making a pie, I chose a cherry crumble. With a cookie crust. Because, well, that’s sort of similar, right?
Guys, I don’t know that I’ll ever bake a cherry pie… These cherry crumble bars are just that good! The cherries pair perfectly with a splash of almond extract, the buttery crumble topping melts in your mouth, and the soft cookie crust ties it all together. It’s impossible to stop after just one bar—trust me, I tried three different times!