Rising up in a small Iowa city, Redditor GardenerAndScientist, who prefers to stay nameless, remembers loving all issues cherry.
“My birthday is on George Washington’s birthday,” she instructed TODAY Meals, “and I used to be about each cherry — you already know, cherry tree story and all. I bear in mind there have been even embroidered cherries on my favourite gown.”
However one factor GardenerAndScientist did not love was birthday cake.
Not a fan of cake icing and even pie crusts, she stated she seemingly challenged her mom to discover a birthday cake she would really like.
Cherries have been the plain reply — particularly a ’70s Pillsbury recipe for Cherry Dream Squares that used boxed white cake combine and cherry pie filling and was baked in a 9×13 pan till golden-brown, then minimize into squares.
“Having what I known as ‘my birthday pie,’ — a cherry ‘pie’ — for my birthday appeared becoming,” she stated. “Largely I bear in mind the topping with oats and nuts. It was a bit unusual with birthday candles, however to me it was a lot yummier than frosting.”
GardenerAndScientist, who now lives in California, additionally remembers sharing her birthday deal with.
“My next-door neighbors have been an aged gentleman and his spouse, and his birthday was the day after mine,” she recalled. “So every year on my birthday, after blowing out the candles, my mother would wrap up a bit and I might deliver it subsequent door. The following day, he would ship a slice of his birthday cake. That went on till I left for school.”
After discovering the outdated Cherry Dream Squares recipe whereas serving to her mom clear out her dwelling, she determined to share it once more, posting a photograph of the dessert and the recipe within the Old_Recipes subreddit.
Curious the place these Cherry Dream Squares got here from, I reached out to Pillsbury, who directed me to Lola Whalen, a 1974 graduate of the College of Minnesota, who received a level in client meals science and went to work for Pillsbury.
Throughout her profession, Whalen developed recipes, edited cookbooks and even labored on the Pillsbury Bake-Off workforce. Whereas she developed numerous recipes for the corporate, Whalen says the Cherry Dream Squares recipe did not come from her.
“Cherry Dream Squares was initially developed by another person,” stated Whalen, who did not make adjustments to the recipe till the late ’90s. “What I did was modify it by making it in an 8-inch sq. dish. I wished extra cherry impression in every chunk.”
Whalen stated layered bar recipes have at all times been fashionable within the baking group, including that the recipe works completely in most houses as a result of folks sometimes have pantry staples like boxed cake combine and canned pie filling available.
“It was a simple step to make use of cake combine within the crumb combination,” stated Whalen, “and one other handy product, canned pie filling as the center layer. Many ladies maintain cake combine and canned pie filling available to shortly put together a homey dessert, so we knew this recipe would have a variety of enchantment.”
After speaking to each GardenerAndScientist and Whalen, I used to be bought, so I attempted the Cherry Dream Bars recipe in my very own kitchen.
Like Whalen, I am all a couple of bit of additional cherry goodness, so I made my “squares” in an 8×8 pan as an alternative of the 9×13 known as for in some variations of the recipe.
It was scrumptious, though not sq.: The depth of the pan made it extra like a crumble, however I wasn’t complaining. It was the right combination of candy and tart and tasted like I had spent far more time (and elements) on it than I had.
With its wealthy historical past and the love of GardenerAndScientist’s household behind it, Cherry Dream Bars are a cherry dream come true and are undoubtedly price whipping up.