When I think of food related to former Presidents of the United States, cherry is the first one to come to my mind. Legend has it our first President, George Washington, chopped down a cherry tree. So, in his honor, I’ve made cherry almond bars. They are moist and full of cherry flavor with a not too sweet powdered sugar glaze. For more flavor you can add a teaspoon of almond extract to the glaze.
While I was researching recipes related to our Presidents I found the common – Jimmy Carter and peanuts, Ronald Reagan and Jelly Belly jelly beans, George H.W. Bush and broccoli and Thomas Jefferson and ice cream and the not so common including Richard Nixon’s penchant for cottage cheese and ketchup, Franklin D. Roosevelt and grilled cheese, and John Adams and cider.
Speaking of Thomas Jefferson, there is probably no other President who had the culinary influence that he has had on the United States. While Minister to France he learned a great deal about cuisine and cooking methods, recording the recipes in his own handwriting to bring back to his home at Monticello. He also kept a detailed notebook about his kitchen garden while living in Virginia.
Jefferson is also credited with the first known recipe recorded by an American for ice cream. While visiting Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota a few years ago we splurged on TJ’s vanilla ice cream which is based on Jefferson’s original recipe. If you’re ever visiting Mt. Rushmore, treat yourself to the creamiest vanilla ice cream you’ve ever had. The serving was large enough to share. You won’t be disappointed.
But, as I mentioned, cherry is what comes to mind. So enjoy these cherry almond bars. If you love cherry be sure to try glazed cherry cheese danish.
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ¾ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
- ¾ cup almond slices
- For the glaze:
- ½ cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon almond extract, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray foil with non-stick spray and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together butter and sugar about 2 minutes. Add salt, eggs, and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated. Add flour and baking powder and mix until just incorporated. Reserve ½ cup of the dough and press remaining into bottom of the pan. Spread cherry pie filling evenly over dough. Sprinkle almonds over cherry filling. Drop remaining batter, in small pieces, over pie filling.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 55 - 60 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack.
- Once completely cool, prepare glaze and drizzle over top. Cut into bars and serve.