Cherry Squares Recipe

What foods conjure up your childhood memories? 

I don't know whether to call them food memories or food associations…but when I am waxing nostalgic, food is invariably connected.  Those foods in my memories are always delicious and perfect - although, I have my doubts about a few of them.  Could the "Spam-bled eggs" of our 1970s era family camping trips really be all that I remember them to be?  Or is it more about the time and the place and being together with those you love?

Joanne English, my Mom, Me & Kryn circa 1970-something? at the Jersey Shore.

There are some dishes, however, that have transcended the decades and truly are all I remember them to be.  One of those are Joanne English's Cherry Squares.  I grew up two doors away from the English family, another big crazy family, just like mine. Their daughter, Kryn, was my age and we had tons fun together with the whole neighborhood crew.  The Englishs are those kind of friends that you've known for so long they seem more like family.  When I think about them, I think of parties, lots of laughs, abundant libations, bluefish (ugh!), lemon Blennd drinks, some kind of chocolate cake with chocolate chip cheesecake filling (need to have that recipe Mrs. E!) and cherry squares!  

Cherry squares are a thin sheet pound cake that gets dollops of cherry pie filling placed on them before they are baked.  As they bake the cherries nestle down into the cake in a most magical way.  You cut them into squares and sprinkle them with powdered sugar.  Since the cake is somewhat dense, you can pick them right up with your hands.  They are great for parties!

I haven't made cherry squares for a while and decided I wanted to try making a homemade cherry filling using the fresh summer cherries that are everywhere right now.  I also tweaked the measurements of the recipe so I could use my half-sheet pans.  I think the original recipe was made in a smaller jelly roll pan.  I also made a mascarpone whipped cream to serve with them, which really is gilding the lily, as they are pretty yummy all by themselves!

Here's the recipe card from my Mom's recipe box.  I think the original sugar amount was 1 1/2 cups.  Mom always tweaks the sugar down a bit in recipes.

Cherry Squares:

Cherry Squares Recipe:

Christina Verrelli - epicuricloud

Adapted from Joanne English's Recipe

Makes 24 Squares

Fresh Cherry Filling:
3 cups bing cherries, stemmed and pitted
½ cup dried cherries (sweetened - sour cherries)
½ cup water
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch

Stir together all filling ingredients in large saucepan.  Bring to simmer, reduce heat, cover and maintain low simmer for about 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and cover until ready to use.  Can be made ahead and refrigerated.

*Can substitute with canned cherry pie filling.

Cake Batter:
Non-stick baking spray or additional butter for greasing pan
1 ½ cups butter, softened (salted)
1 ¾ cups sugar
6 eggs (room temperature)
3 cups flour, sifted
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Powdered sugar (for sprinkling before serving)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease half sheet pan (18" x 13" x 1").  Cream together butter and sugar until creamy and light.  Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, beating for about 30 seconds after each egg.  Mix in flour.  Spread batter in prepeared pan.  With a sharp knife score the top of the batter into 24 squares.  Place a dollop (about 2 tablespoons) cherry filling in the center of each scored square.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cake is cooked through and toothpick tester comes out clean.  Remove and allow to cool in pan.  Cut into 24 squares.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.  

Mascarpone Whipped Cream:
1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

Combine ingredients in medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until mixture forms soft peaks.   

Printable Recipe Link: Cherry Squares

Perfect for Pinning!

Mango, Lime & Honey Popsicles Recipe

A steaming hot summer day calls for…Popsicles!

You can make them in little paper cups too!

We've had a few scorchers this week, so we spent the afternoon having a popsicle making party!  My girls helped me make some mango, lime and honey ones and then they made their own…strawberry, banana smoothie pops & citrus pops.  We're already down to our last few, so it's time to make some more.  They're super fast and easy to make and you don't really need any special popsicle molds - we made a bunch in little paper cups.

The mango, lime and honey popsicles are made from really ripe mangoes we pureed with some lime juice and honey.  They are more like "frozen fruit puree pops" not watery ice pops.  You are actually eating a good serving of real fruit in a delicious and refreshing way.  We also made a batch with mint pureed in them that remind me of a yummy mango mojito.  Woohoo!

Mango, Lime & Honey Popsicles:

Mango, Lime & Honey Popsicles Recipe:

Christina Verrelli - epicuricloud

Makes about 27-ounces puree

Ingredients:

5 cups cubed mango (3-4 mangoes)

2 limes, juiced

4 teaspoons honey

12 mint leaves (for mint version)

Directions:

Peel the mangoes and slice off the flesh around the pit.  Cut the slices into rough chunks.  Puree in food processor or blender.  Add the lime juice, honey and mint (if desired).  Process again until well blended.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or sieve.  You'll need to stir/press with a spatula to get it all through.  Pour into your mold or cups.  If using popsicle sticks, cover the popsicle mold or cups with plastic wrap, pierce a tiny slit in the center of the plastic wrap with a sharp knife and insert your popsicle stick about 3/4 of the way into the puree.  Freeze overnight.  To remove from popsicle molds, dip the bottom of the mold in warm water.  To remove from paper cups, just peel off the paper.  Enjoy!

Other Versions:

My girls had fun making their own versions.  The citrus ones were just a combination of half orange juice and half lemonade.   The strawberry, banana & yogurt popsicle recipe was 1 banana, 5 frozen strawberries and a cup of strawberry yogurt mixed-up in the blender.  

 

 

Printable Recipe Link: Mango, Lime & Honey Popsicles

Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me!  I hope you enjoy the recipes!  Tina ( :

 

Smoky & Sweet Slow-Cooker Baked Beans Recipe

I never cared much for baked beans when I was younger... 

But, I LOVE them now!  I love them as a summery BBQ side, I love to pile them on hot dogs and I even secretly eat them in toasted cheese sandwiches. (What, you haven't tried that?)  I've been working on perfecting my recipe this summer.  I finally have them just the way I like them - saucy, a little smoky, a little sweet and loaded with bacon!  I used to bake them in the oven, but I think they're easier and even tastier when they're slow simmered in the slow-cooker.  

Smoky & Sweet Slow-Cooker Baked Beans:

Smoky & Sweet Slow-Cooker Baked Beans Recipe:

Christina Verrelli - epicuricloud
Serves 12-15

Ingredients:

¾ pound bacon, cut in ½-inch pieces
2 cups sweet onion, chopped
6 cans (15.5-ounce) navy beans* (I used Goya)
1¼ cup BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays Original)
2 cans (8-ounce) tomato sauce
1 cup beer (I used Yuengling Lager)
¼ cup molasses
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons soy sauce
5 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

*Can substitute w/ great northern beans

Directions:

In large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy, remove to paper towel-lined plate with slotted spoon and pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat.  Cook the onions for 5 minutes in remaining bacon fat in same skillet.

Drain and rinse beans in colander.  Add to slow cooker.  Add onion, bacon and all other ingredients.

Simmer in slow-cooker, covered, on high for 3 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.

Note: They freeze very well.  If I’m not having a large crowd over, I usually divide them up and freeze them in smaller containers.  You can thaw and reheat them in the microwave.

Printable Recipe Link: Smoky & Sweet Slow-Cooker Baked Beans 

Thank you for spending some time in the cloud with me!  I hope you enjoy the recipe! Tina ( :

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