Chocolate-Covered Cherry Bars

For the base:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

For the fondant:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp almond extract

35 red maraschino cherries, well drained

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vegetable shortening

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, butter, sugar, and cocoa, and beat at medium speed of an electric mixer, until a soft dough forms.

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With your fingers and a spatula, press the dough into a 7 x 11 glass pyrex.

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Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until set. Allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the fondant. Combine confectioners’ sugar, butter, milk, and almond extract, and beat at low speed of an electric mixer until smooth.

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With your fingers and a spoon, spread the fondant evenly over completely cooled base.

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Arrange cherries over fondant in 5 rows of 7.

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In a microwave-safe glass measuring cup, melt the chocolate chips and shortening. Spread over and between the cherries, completely covering the fondant.

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Chill until set, before cutting into 35 squares.

(I’ll post pictures of the cut bars… when I take ‘em.)

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