A delicate, buttery crust is topped with sour cherry jam that will make your mouth sing! These are good. Not just the “Mom loves them and everyone else thinks they’re ok” kind of good, but really. These are good by children’s standards – even visiting friends.
And this is good news because these gluten-free sour cherry shortbread bars are loaded with walnuts and buckwheat and are free of refined sweeteners! I love this kind of sweet treat. The kids can pack one in their lunch, or grab one after school and I don’t have to play moderator.
And they are very simple to make. Really.
I had some spring cleaning to do today – washing pollen-laden porch cushions as well as loads of laundry from our spring break in the north Georgia mountains. Between chores, these bars came together in several easy steps.
Now that pollen season is over in GA, our favorite place to be:
A couple of notes:
- Feel free to sub any jam for the sour cherry if you can’t find it. I use this sour cherry fruit spread which is really delicious. But if you’re really yearning for sour cherry and can’t find it in jam form, purchase some dried sour cherries (also known as Montmorency cherries) and mix them into a seedless raspberry jam before baking.
- Consider soaking the nuts. If you have trouble digesting nuts or with nutrient absorption, you might benefit from soaking them first, using this method. This will boost nutrition, but if you skip this they will be equally tasty.
- An important notes on buckwheat flour. Feel free to sub any of your favorite gluten-free flours such as sorghum, rice, or a even gluten-free mix such as this one). If you use buckwheat and can grind it yourself it has a much lighter flavor. I do this in my Vitamix. You can also grind it in small batches using a coffee grinder. Commercially produced buckwheat flour typically contains the hull. To grind your own, you need groats with the hull removed (because grinding the hull is only possible with commercial equipment plus, it tastes better without it anyway). Also, feel free to sub other gluten free flours such as rice and sorghum.
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Incidentally, sour cherries make me think of my grandpa (Opa). He didn’t usually have much of an appetite but he loved sour cherries. Throughout his life, he had a bad heart and didn’t slept well. Sour cherries happen to be beneficial for the heart and help with insomnia so I sometimes wonder if he craved them instinctively. I know he would have loved these bars!
Recipe adapted from Amy Chaplin’s Oat Walnut Marmalade Squares.
- 1.5 cups buckwheat flour (see recipe notes for substitutions)
- 1¼ cup walnuts (raw or toasted)
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces sour cherry jam (or sub another flavor)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (I prefer coconut palm)
- dash nutmeg (or cinnamon if you prefer)
- Preheat the oven to 350℉.
- Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until they are a crumbly meal. Place ¾ cup of the meal into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside the rest for the topping.
- Into your mixing bowl, add in the remaining base ingredients (flour, butter, syrup and salt) until a crumbly dough forms. You should be able to gather it into a ball. If it is too dry, add in more melted butter and maple syrup a little at a time until it comes together.
- Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper and spread the dough out with your fingers (this takes a little gusto - get into it). Prick all over with a fork and bake for 15 minutes.
- Let the crust cool a bit before spreading on the jam (30 minutes at room temperature on a cooling rack or 15 minutes in the fridge).
- Meanwhile, prepare the crumb topping by combining the remaining walnut meal, sugar and nutmeg. Spread the jam on the shortbread crust, then sprinkle on the crumb topping.
- Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the walnuts are toasty.
- Allow it to cool 15 minutes, slice and serve. If storing, place in a tupperware container, or wrap saran wrap over your cooled pan. Store at room temp for 2-3 days or longer in the fridge.