I’ve never encountered a jewel bar until I spent my first Christmas with Cornelius’ parents. A jewel bar seems innocent enough: a shortbread bottom topped with chocolate chips, salted mixed nuts….until you get to those blasted glacé cherries. You see, I’ve always viewed those candied cherries as an abomination upon the world of desserts. They always seem to appear when you least expect them, hiding in a hot cross bun or ruining a perfectly lovely shortbread cookie. So when I was offered a plate of baked goods from the people that would one day be my in-laws, I didn’t want to be rude. I picked up the jewel bar and once I bit into it, I was sold. Hideous cherries, be damned! I became smitten with these jewel bars that probably started their life as a recipe found on a package of chocolate chips.
These bars have that great sweet-salty thing going on because of the nuts and I think that’s why I love these so much! And now that I’m no longer giving glacé cherries the evil eye, I can appreciate how they certainly liven up the dish with their festive colour. Plus, they do add a flavour that really works here. Really! But the most perfect thing about these jewel bars is that they are one of the simplest desserts to make. They’re a cinch to whip up when company comes a-calling or for giving as a last-minute gift.
Thanks for visiting here during these busy times and I want to extend a warm and happy Christmas filled with peace & joy! Happy happy holidays!
holiday jewel bars
1 1/2 c flour
1 c brown sugar
1 c butter (cool, but not hard)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 c salted mixed nuts
1 1/2 c halved candied cherries
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, combine the flour with half of the brown sugar and mix well. Cut in the butter and use your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture to form coarse crumbs. Press into a 9″x12″ pan and bake for 10 – 12 minutes.
In another bowl, beat the egg with the salt and the rest of the brown sugar. Stir in the nuts, cherries and chocolate chips until everything is well coated with the egg mixture. Spoon this evenly over the shortbread layer and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden. Cool and cut into 2″ squares.