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Chocolate Chip Maraschino Cherry Shortbread Bars

I’m sharing SPLENDA® Sweetener Products in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™ #SplendaSweeties #SweetSwaps

Chocolate Chip Maraschino Cherry Shortbread Bars - The ultimate shortbread cookie bars stuffed with dark chocolate chips and maraschino cherries.  You'll want this cherry chocolate chip bar recipe handy throughout the year!

The ultimate shortbread cookie bars stuffed with dark chocolate chips and maraschino cherries.  These chocolate chip bars are made with less added sugar and are a hit for any holiday gathering!

I can’t believe the last of summer is about to wrap-up.  Where did the time go?  I would be totally sad if it wasn’t for pumpkin lattes, caramel apples, football games, pretty scarves, and boots.  I’m going to enjoy one more day of grilling while celebrating the last holiday of the summer!

It’s been a busy month.  First, it was the solar eclipse that I got to witness and then came, Hurricane Harvey.  I’m not sure where time has gone these past few weeks, but I’ve been looking forward to the start of September all week!

Chocolate Chip Maraschino Cherry Shortbread Bars - The ultimate shortbread cookie bars stuffed with dark chocolate chips and maraschino cherries.  You'll want this cherry chocolate chip bar recipe handy throughout the year!

While I’m not ready to officially say goodbye to summer, I’m looking forward to autumn baking and this cookie bar recipe is perfect to celebrate the transition of the seasons.  What makes this recipe ideal for Labor Day is that it can feed a large crowd.  Since I’ve already celebrated over the weekend, I was able to pack up the rest for Matt to bring to work today.  After all, it is Labor Day and his co-workers should feel appreciated, too!

Shortbread cookies are a classic dessert no matter what age or occasion.  I think we can all agree that cookies are the most beloved dessert of all time and for a good reason.  Instead of making the dough into cookies, I’ve transformed them into cookie bars and it’s the perfect mini bite to savor over the holiday weekend.

Most cookie recipes start with the same basic ingredients and technique such as beating sugar and butter and this recipe is no different.  However, I’ve found a way to use less sugar with SPLENDA® Naturals Sugar & Stevia Sweetener Blend.

Chocolate Chip Maraschino Cherry Shortbread Bars - The ultimate shortbread cookie bars stuffed with dark chocolate chips and maraschino cherries.  You'll want this cherry chocolate chip bar recipe handy throughout the year!

Baking with SPLENDA® Naturals Sugar & Stevia Sweetener Blend is effortless and rewarding.  The original recipe calls for a generous amount of powdered sugar and I’ve replaced it with a sugar and stevia blend that results in less added sugar without changing the flavor or texture of the cookie bars.  I make this recipe at least half a dozen times a year and no one has been able to tell the difference!

This particular sugar blend comes in granules that are comparable in size to granulated sugar.  While the granules remain the same size, only half of the amount of this sugar blend is needed to achieve the same sweetness as desired with traditional sugar.

Chocolate Chip Maraschino Cherry Shortbread Bars - The ultimate shortbread cookie bars stuffed with dark chocolate chips and maraschino cherries.  You'll want this cherry chocolate chip bar recipe handy throughout the year!

This sugar blend is ideal because it’s a natural sweetener made with no artificial or genetically engineered ingredients.  In fact, only sugar and stevia leaf extract are listed as ingredients.

Each two-pound bag comes with a conversion chart and tips on how to appropriately use the product.  What I love most about this product is the taste.  I’ve already swapped out sugar and have started to use SPLENDA® Naturals Sugar & Stevia Sweetener Blend in iced tea, cookies, cakes, muffins, sweet bread, and sauces.  It truly brings the joy back to baking and no one would ever know these bars are made with less added sugar!

Over the past few months, I’ve shared recipes that incorporate SPLENDA® Naturals and Sweetener Products.  These recipes are a great way to use less added sugar while cooking and baking in the kitchen.

What are some of your favorite #SPLENDASweeties and #SweetSwaps desserts to make during the holiday season?

5 from 4 votes
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Chocolate Chip Maraschino Cherry Shortbread Bars

The ultimate shortbread cookie bars stuffed with dark chocolate chips and maraschino cherries.  You'll want this cherry chocolate chip bar recipe handy throughout the year!

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 48

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) margarine, at room temperature * see notes
  • 1/2 cup SPLENDA® Naturals Sugar & Stevia Sweetener Blend
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 11.5 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries, juices drained

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  

    Prepare a 9 x 13 casserole dish with parchment paper if desired.  If not using any paper, no need to grease pan.

    In a large bowl, cream margarine and SPLENDA® Naturals Sugar & Stevia Sweetener Blend for 2 minutes. 

    Beat in vanilla and almond extract.

    In a separate bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and salt.

    With the blender on low, gradually add flour mixture.  Wipe down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beat until mixed.  

    Slowly beat or stir in chocolate chips.  

    Chop cherries and gently squeeze some of the juice out.  

    Carefully beat in cherries.

    Use a spatula to evenly spread mixture into baking dish.

    Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until the top edges are golden brown. 

    Allow dish to cool then chill in refrigerator for about an hour.  This will allow it to set and make it easier to cut. 

    Remove parchment paper from dish and cut into 48 squares.

    ALLOW SHORTBREAD BARS TO COME TO ROOM TEMPERATURE BEFORE EATING. THEY HAVE AN UNPLEASANT TASTE IF SERVED COLD.


Recipe Notes

  • Butter may be used in place of margarine.  However, I prefer margarine as it allows the shortbread flavor to develop. 

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9 Comments

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Emily
    09/05/2017 at 1:56 pm

    Cherry and almond together is one of my very favorite flavor combinations! This looks amazing!

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Beth
    09/05/2017 at 2:11 pm

    I have a bag of Splenda in the pantry that I have been meaning to make into some goodies for my Mother in Law who is diabetic. These look like they would be perfect! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Jenn
    09/05/2017 at 2:42 pm

    Oooh, I love chocolate and cherries together. These little bars look scrumptious!

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Amy @ The Cook Report
    09/05/2017 at 2:50 pm

    These look so tasty, I love shortbread so much. I’ve never had it with maraschino cherries, sounds really good!

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Hannah Healy
    09/05/2017 at 6:08 pm

    Yum! These will be a great treat for the holidays!

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Cherriane
    09/13/2017 at 4:41 pm

    These bar of cherry pies are well yummy and perfect to eat in the afternoon coffee I loved.

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Sheila McGuire
    09/14/2017 at 12:52 am

    I would prefer to use regular granulated sugar instead of the stevia blend. Would the amount change, or would it still be 1/2 cup? I love chocolate and cherries together – can’t wait to try these!

    • Avatar for Jessica Knott
      Reply
      Jessica Knott
      09/14/2017 at 10:05 pm

      Hi Sheila, if you cannot use Splenda, go ahead and use 3/4 cup granulated sugar.

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