Cherry winks are popular holiday cookies originating in the US in the 1950s. This cookie usually calls for a maraschino cherry in the center of each cookie with Kellogg’s Corn Flakes® cereal coated around the sides of the cookie and baked.
I instead chose to use sour cherries and fine cornmeal in a cake, still topping it with crunchy corn cereal, but making them more like bars rather than cookies.
The result is a crumbly toothsome cake bar that tastes like sweet corn contrasting with the sour cherries, and of course the crunchiness of the cereal toasted with butter and sugar. It’s a great morning cake bar with coffee, or as a snack on the go.
Cherry Wink Cake Bars adapted from this (makes 12 bars, or 24 smaller bars)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine corn meal
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (or use salted butter, and omit salt)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups Kellogg’s Corn Flakes® cereal
1 and 1/2 cups canned sour cherries, drained
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan by spraying with baking (butter and flour) spray, lining bottom and 2 sides with parchment paper with the paper overhanging the 2 sides and spraying paper again. Set aside.
Sift the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and stir with a whisk several times. Set aside.
Cream the 1/2 cup butter with the sugars, using a hand held beater, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add vanilla and mix well again.
Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, and mix on low until mostly incorporated, then add half of the yogurt and mix on low again until incorporated. Repeat with another 1/2 of the remaining flour mixture, mixing on low, followed by adding all of the yogurt and mixing until just combined, and finally adding the rest of the flour mixture and mixing until incorporated. Be careful not to over mix.
Add the corn flake cereal into a medium bowl and add the melted butter, mixing with clean hands, being careful not to crush the cereal into smaller pieces. Add the sugar and mix again until flakes appear to be coated with both the butter and sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees on a parchment lined baking sheet or silpat for 7 minutes. Set aside. You can skip the pre-toasting of the corn flakes; this step just ensures crispiness and crunchiness.
Add all of the batter to the prepared pan, smoothing out top with a small offset spatula, or bottom of a spoon.
Add 1 cup of the cherries to the top of the batter, followed by sprinkling the corn flakes evenly on top of the entire cake. Add remaining 1/2 cup of cherries of the corn flakes and cherries. Can press down very lightly with hand.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-37 minutes. Edges should be slightly browned, but continue baking if middle of the cake looks soft and/or wet. Mine took 37 minutes. Ovens vary. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove by lifting up parchment on both sides and set on wire rack and let cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!