I deem these Paleo crack bars. As in, can’t eat just one, and threatening to eat the entire pan in one sitting. These Paleo Cherry Jubilee Blondies are all that’s right in the world of fruit desserts.
Blondies are a lot like brownies, obviously without the chocolate. But trust me they make up for it. They still maintain that gooey texture (you know the one) and have a nice soft chew.
They have a caramel, almost butterscotch flavor. This flavor is very similar to brown butter shortbread, one of our most favorite things of all time.
This goodness is also seen in our Salted Malted Walnut Brown Butter Shortbread Bars. Let me tell you, Garett and I both love these things.
Actually, everyone we give these bars to loves them. But there’s one small problem – they aren’t Paleo. Which means this girl can’t enjoy them. And let’s be honest, it’s all about me.
Kidding! (Sort of).
Which leads us to why I’ve been on a mission to find a Paleo alternative. I crave that nutty, buttery, rich flavor. And friends, these deliver on that promise.
Not only that, but they feature one of the best stone fruits of the season, fresh cherries. Raise your hand if you are a fellow cherry fan.
I feel like cherries can get a bad rap sometimes. Is it because they are slightly high maintenance? Granted, they have to be pitted. And while not an altogether fun activity, the end result is most certainly worth the effort.
We are a cherry family. I am sure it has everything to do with growing up in the Midwest, and our close proximity to some of the best cherries in the country. Another thing we can thank Michigan for.
This family favorite fruit makes appearances on our dinner tables all throughout the summer.
Typically, we use sour cherries for most desserts, but sweet cherries are nothing to be ignored.
Especially when they are mixed with tart lemon and cooked down with Brandy and honey. All of which caramelize into a rich luscious jam. And a quick, sugar-free jam, at that.
It is hard to believe that the blondie batter, the nutty, gooey, brownie-like goodness that enrobes the jam, is free of gluten, grains, dairy, and refined sugar.
I mean, does life get better than this? Or at least life in the way of healthier fruit desserts? We think not.
And there’s something about handheld desserts that are so enticing. They feel less formal, more casual and comfortable, and are great for a party.
Serve up a tray of these at your next gathering, and watch everyone fight for the last bite.
These Cherry Jubilee Blondies will have everyone cheering for cherry season.
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- 4 cups fresh cherries, stems removed, rinsed, and pitted
- ⅔ cup raw honey, melted (sub maple syrup for vegan option)
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Brandy (optional)
- 4 cups fine ground almond flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup raw unsalted almond butter
- ¼ ghee or browned grass fed butter (sub coconut oil for vegan option)
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup or melted raw honey
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup almond or coconut milk
- Add cherries and honey to a medium high-sided skillet. Transfer pan to a burner over medium heat, and bring to a soft boil. Cook for 10 minutes until cherries begin to break down, stirring often.
- Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and Brandy, stirring to combine, and bring back to a soft boil. Reduce to medium-low, and cook until the jam thickens and loses most of its moisture, 30-45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Jam should be thick and caramelized with only a little juice left over. Set aside to cool.
- While your jam cools, prepare the Blondies. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8 x 8-inch baking dish then line with parchment paper, leaving a couple inch overhang. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together almond flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat almond butter and browned butter or ghee until melted, about 30 seconds. Stir until smooth and creamy.
- Into the wet mixture add coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup, vanilla, and milk.
- Add dry ingredients to wet and stir to combine until a thick sticky dough forms.
- Using your fingers, press half the Blondie batter into the bottom of your prepared pan, forming an even layer. Top with cooled cherry jam.
- Add remaining blondie batter on top of the cherry jam, firmly pressing into an even layer, and making sure to cover all cherry pieces.
- Transfer to preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven, and let cool on a wire rack. Once the pan is cool enough to handle, transfer to the refrigerator to set, at least one hour. Once set, remove from refrigerator and using the parchment overhang, pull Blondies from the pan. Set on a cutting board and slice into bars. It is important to cut the bars while they're cold because they get sticky as they warm up. Serve at room temperature.
**In a pinch, you can sub store-bought sugar-free jam.
***Frozen cherries work as well but contain much more moisture, and will need to reduce for longer.
Jam recipe adapted from Paleo Leap Skillet Cherry Jam.
Blondie recipe adapted from Joy Food Sunshine Chocolate Stuffed Paleo Blondies.
Items Used in this Recipe:
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