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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
Author Jessica (swankyrecipes.com)

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

  • 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.

Notes

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