It has been frrrrrreezing cold here...the wood floor in my kitchen feels like an ice-skating rink! (We've had a week of freezing fog - the trees look like Jack Frost spray-painted them - very pretty!) We have a huge crawl space under our kitchen so it's always cold and I've asked the mister many, many times to please go down into that space and see if we need more insulation - and he refuses, saying we don't need no stinkin' insulation! I've told you before, but let me remind you, the mister controls the thermostat...it runs a "program" the mister set up...the furnace goes on thrity minutes before he wakes in the morning and goes off the minute he walks out the door to go to work. It doesn't come back on until the mister walks in the door at zero-dark-thirty...not to be confused with the movie about the world's most hated man...I haven't seen the movie but it just occurred to me, could it be about the mister? Oh wait, he's not hated the world over, just in this house, when it's freezing cold, between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm. As I stand in the hallway, shivering, pushing the damn thermostat button every day - several times - to fire the furnace up for ten minutes at a time before it then shuts off to resume the program, I curse the mister. I call him at Global Headquarters and demand that he tell me how to keep the furnace running...he cannot remember...how convenient...he tells me to find the manual...it's no where to be found...and then he says,
"Our utility bill last month was the highest it's ever been, so why do you need to run the furnace all day long?!? You've got to turn off the lights, too! And if you didn't cook so much the gas bill wouldn't be so high! "
I'd like to point out the obvious...last month we had Christmas lights outside - so of course our bill would be higher...and I have lights on during the day because we don't have SUN! And... if I didn't cook so much?!?!?! Oh reee-heeee-ly? Well, that can be remedied! I informed the mister that I would stop cooking/baking immediately and then asked if he would mind stopping at KFC on the way home to pick up his dinner? He thought that was funny. I wasn't laughing. Eventually neither was he. But I could only hold out for so long, because punishing the mister just punishes me! After five days of not cooking/baking, with the mister having dinners of canned soup, cereal, KFC, McDonalds and bologna sandwiches, I finally caved...mainly because I was dying to bake these bars!! Look, I can only stand so much...no heat and no baking?!?! I was worried the kitchen floors really would turn to ice!
Cherry Pie Cake Bars...they are the new black. Seriously, they are that good. What other dessert can offer you both pie and cake in one bite?!? And they will blow any lemon bar right off the platter! I kid you not! I didn't think I would like these as much as I do...but really, whats not to like? The bottom layer is a super moist cake with a dense crumb, then there's the cherry layer...two kinds of cherries, no less! And on top there's more cake drizzled with a vanilla sugar glaze...oh my stars, these are dang good! Make them for your Valentine...they'll warm your heart, even if your furnace doesn't come on during the day!
Cherry Pie Cake Bars - Adapted From The Recipe Critic and All Recipes.Com
1 cup butter, softened, plus more for buttering baking pan
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cans (21 oz.) cherry pie filling, drain syrup from one can only
1 package (5 oz.) dried cherries
For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons milk
Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in extracts. Add in salt, then add flour to the mixture, beating until just mixed.
Spread 2/3's of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Drain one can of the cherry pie filling (reserve the thick syrup to use in another way, if desired.) Pour one can of cherry pie filling over the batter, add the drained cherries and distribute evenly. Sprinkle the dried cherries evenly over the top. Drop the remaining batter on top of pie filling and cherries.
Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature. Make the glaze by combining all ingredients in a small bowl, then drizzle over the top of the Cherry Pie Cake. Cut into bars. Makes 24 bars.