Growing up we didn’t have too many sweets around. My mother definitely believed in healthy food – most of the time. I do remember an adorable homemade teddy bear shaped cake for one of my early birthdays. However, the baking was really limited once I was diagnosed with my food allergies. No wheat or corn or dairy for almost five years is no walk in the park for a kid. Luckily I could still have most fruit and chocolate. A welcome treat when you can’t have cookies, cakes and ice cream! More than a decade later and I’ve outgrown my food allergies, but one of my favourite flavour combinations is still chocolate and cherries. So with a friend coming to visit over the weekend, it seemed hospitable to do some baking. We didn’t have much in the house so I decided to make shortbread cookies. Of course while my dough was chilling in the fridge, my flatmate came home and dragged me off to the grocery store. While there I spotted a display of sweetened condensed milk for sale and an idea sparked. I deeply love sweetened condensed milk and all bake goods made with it, especially Magic Bars (the recipe on the Eagle Brand can) so I decided to make a version of that with shortbread as the base. My guest hated coconut though, so I needed different flavours and decided on chocolate and cherries. After picking up supplies I came home, rolled my shortbread into a pan and covered it with bits of chocolate and candied cherries before pouring the sweetened condensed milk over it. A stint in my shady oven and out came gooey goodness that didn’t last 36 hours between my flatmate and our guest.
Chocolate Cherry Bars
- 1 cup butter
- Generous ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups plain flour
- 1 – 1 ½ cups candied cherries
- 200g chocolate, broken into chunks
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- Heat the oven to 190C/375F.
- Beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth. Stir in the flour to get a smooth paste. Pat into 8 by 8 inch baking pan and chill for 30 minutes.
- Toss on the chocolate and cherries (mess around with their placement if you’re anal retentive like me) and then pour over the can of condensed milk.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden and set. Once cool, cut into squares.