Makes 15 to 18 bars
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cherries, pitted
2 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, cut to fit. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat 1 3/4 cups of the sugar and the butter together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Combine with dry ingredients. Press about 2/3 of this dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until the dough is just barely turning golden on the edges, 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cherries, peaches, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and water. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until thick.
Remove the partially baked crust from the oven. Spread the warm fruit mixture on top of the crust. Take the remaining dough and form small bits into flattened shapes. Place these bits evenly over the top, leaving some areas of fruit uncovered. Place back in the oven and bake until the top dough bits are golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the pan and cutting into bars to serve.
“Sugar High: Sweet & Savory Baking in Your High-Altitude Kitchen, © by Nicole Hampton, Graphic Arts Books®, reprinted by permission.”