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Come Party With Me: Oktoberfest — Dessert

Posted By partysugar on Sep 16, 2009 at 10:30AM

The Black Forest is a wooded region in Southwestern Germany. It's from this area that Black Forest ham and Black Forest cake originated. Traditionally the confection consists of layers of chocolate cake, kirsch, and sour cherries, but this recipe uses those ingredients to make crumb bars.

At an event like Oktoberfest, where lots of beer may be consumed, it's nice not to worry about cutting and plating a cake. These super chocolatey portable bars can be set out at the start of the party, and guests can enjoy them at their leisure without utensils. For the make-in-advance recipe, please

Chocolate-Cherry Crumb Bars


1 1/4 cups dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks), all but 2 tablespoons cut into small pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (about 3 ounces), lightly toasted
2 cups plus 7 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg
2 tablespoons kirsch (optional)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
Vegetable oil cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; line with parchment paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Coat with cooking spray.
  2. Bring cherries, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and the water to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost all liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Whisk together cocoa powder, salt, brown sugar, toasted coconut, and 2 cups flour in a bowl. Blend in remaining 2 1/4 sticks butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal; press 3 lightly packed cups cocoa mixture into prepared pan. Bake until just set, about 20 minutes.
  4. Put egg, remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and the kirsch, if using, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; mix on medium-high speed until pale, about 4 minutes. Fold in cherry mixture and remaining 7 1/2 teaspoons flour; stir in chocolate. Spread mixture evenly over crust; sprinkle with remaining cocoa mixture.
  5. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Run a knife around sides; lift out of pan. Cut into squares. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

Makes 9 large or 1 dozen small.

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