Ever have one of those days when you find out at the last possible minute that it’s your turn to bring something homemade and delicious to your kid’s school? Maybe it’s teacher appreciation day, or maybe it’s for the band fundraiser, but someone suddenly needs you to conjure up a whole plate of sweet treats, and fast. Instead of panicking, why not step up to the plate and be the culinary hero that you know you can be! Just throw together some deliciously tempting sour cream cherry squares! They bake up in no time and are three layers of sweet and tart yumminess that will impress even the most difficult to please confectionary critics.
Sour cream and cherry squares are simple to make and best of all, everyone will think you spent all day in the kitchen. The tart cherry layer is set off by the sweetened sour cream middle, both of which are enhanced by the buttery rich bottom crust. It’s one of those desserts that will make everyone ask you for the recipe. Even better, these dessert squares are made with simple ingredients that you may already have in your pantry. If not, the recipe is flexible and allows for swapping some ingredients out for other ingredients.
This recipe calls for chopped pecans but if those aren’t your thing, don’t worry. Chopped walnuts will also work, giving the squares an earthy richness. If you want to be really decadent, macadamia nuts will offer an extra sweetness and unctuousness to your squares. You can roast them on a skillet to add more taste and crunch too. If you don’t like nuts at all, feel free to leave them out of the recipe entirely.
What if you either don’t like cherries or don’t have any cherry pie filling on hand? Don’t worry, you can still make some fruity and delicious squares. Canned apple pie filling makes for a warm and spicy alternative. If using apple pie filling, just omit the almond extract from the sour cream mixture and replace it with an equal amount of vanilla extract.
What if you don’t have any pie filling at all? A 12.75 ounce jar of fruit preserves will also work in the place of the cherry pie filling. The best preserves for dessert squares are strawberry, apricot, raspberry or blueberry. As with the apple pie filling substitution, swap out the almond extract in the sour cream mixture and add an equal amount of vanilla extract instead.
Not nuts for coconut? Don’t worry. Although the coconut provides structure for the bottom layer, you can replace it with 1 ½ cups of quick-cooking oats. The resulting squares will be just as good and have a more wholesome, breakfast-like quality about them than the original cherry sour cream squares.
If you don’t have any sour cream on hand, cream cheese makes a nice substitute. Just soften 8 ounces of cream cheese and use it in place of the sour cream.
No matter if you make the original recipe exactly as it is written or choose to use any of the substitutions, the result will be a decadent, three layer dessert square that you’ll be proud to have made. The cherry and sour cream original recipe provides a tangy taste combination that will be a crowd pleaser. And make sure you save the recipe for Christmas! These squares make a festive addition to a Christmas cookie plate or are a perfect option to bring to a Christmastime cookie swap.
Sour Cream Cherry Square Recipe
Difficultly level: Easy
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Total time (with cooling): 2 1/2 hours
Yield: 36 squares
- ¾ cup butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and both sugars with either a stand mixer or a hand mixer on medium speed.
- Add egg and mix well.
- Add in the vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour and the baking powder.
- Next, gradually add the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture.
- When incorporated, using a wooden spoon, stir in the coconut and the pecans by hand and mix well.
- When the dough is completely mixed, take 2/3 and press it into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Don’t be afraid to really push it down thinly to get it to completely cover the bottom of the dish.
- Reserve the remaining dough in the mixing bowl and set the baking dish aside.
- Prepare the sour cream and cherry filling layers.
Sour Cream Filling
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling
- In a large bowl, beat the sour cream and sugar together.
- Mix in the egg and the almond extract.
- When combined, gradually beat in the flour. When the mixture is light and fluffy, it is ready.
- Using a spatula, spread the sour cream mixture over top the dough. Make sure to spread it evenly.
- Next, again with a spatula, gently spread the can of cherry pie filling over the sour cream layer.
- Take the remaining dough, pinch off teaspoon-sized dots and scatter them all over the top of the cherry layer. You can do this haphazardly and don’t worry about completely covering the cherry layer. (It is okay if some of the cherry layer is exposed.)
- When you are finished, slightly flatten the dots of dough with your fingers.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely and cut into 36 squares. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days.