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Cherry-Vanilla Shortbread Cake Squares

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Saturday, 15 December 2012
List of viewable recipes from "Pure Vanilla" by Shauna Sever

Recipe from Pure Vanilla by Shauna Sever (Quirk Books, 2012)

ImageLike my Quick Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, this recipe is an updated version of a childhood favorite. I thought long and hard about forgoing the canned cherry pie filling in favor of homemade cherry compote, but ultimately I gave in to tradition. I adore that this simple, homey dessert has all the kitsch and charm of an old Midwestern lady’s recipe box. Plus, there are some tasty, high-quality commercial pie fillings available these days.

Makes 2 dozen 3 inch squares

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 Cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 12-by-17-by-1-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, line it with parchment paper, and lightly spray the parchment, too.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn mixer to the lowest speed and stir in flour. To avoid overbeating, stop mixing when a few streaks of flour remain in the batter; stir by hand until no flour remains.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Score it into 24 squares with a toothpick. (Don’t worry about making the squares perfectly even—as the lines will disappear during baking. This step is to make placing the cherries easier.)

In a small bowl, stir together pie filling and vanilla bean paste. Place 3 cherries in the center of each square. Bake shortbread until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Just before serving, cut shortbread into 24 squares and dust with powdered sugar.

Store leftovers in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper or parchment; squares will keep for up to 3 days.


Last Updated ( Saturday, 15 December 2012 )
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