The Big Apple & a Cherry Square #EarthBalance

Luke and I just got back from a fabulous weekend in New York.  This was the prize trip for my win in the Earth Balance Holiday Baking Championship.  I consider this one of my finest wins so far because I don’t bake a ton and I’m not a vegan, so to come in ahead out of all the beautiful recipes that were submitted makes me feel pretty special.  The prize included the trip, $1000, $200 in gift cards for dinner, a Kitchenaid Mixer, three cookbooks (one from each of the judges), and a year’s supply of products.  A handsome prize package, indeed!

The judges in this contest were none other than Chef Chloe Coscarelli, winner of CupCake Wars and Chef/Owner of by CHLOE, Dreena Burton, author of Plant Powered Families, and Emily Von Euw, creator of the blog This Rawsome Vegan Life.  Swoon.  Swoon. Swoon!

I’ve always felt that to strengthen your cooking skills, it’s healthy to dabble in different types of cuisine, and vegan is one of the types I experiment with quite often.  Generally, it takes a lot of prep to cook vegan meals, but desserts are fun because thanks to Earth Balance and their incredible products, you can make your favorite treats free of animal products.  I particularly love their Buttery Sticks which is what I used in this recipe.  I’ve been using them for years in my Mushroom Risotto and other plant-based recipes in my rotation,  and was always impressed with the flavor, so I thought they’d work beautifully in a dessert!

I’ve been promising you the recipe for my winning Almond Cherry Squares, so I’ve posted it for you in the printable below and to remind you how purty it is, here is a picture:

Vegan Almond Cherry Squares

Vegan Almond Cherry Squares

I’d make two pans of these if I were you…they go real fast :)

I catch myself staring at my mixer when I go into the kitchen every morning.  I loved this part of my prize almost as much as the trip.   I was still using the hand mixer I got sixteen years ago when we got married and I was down to one beater on it too.  Not sure how one loses a beater in their own kitchen, but I managed to.  The first thing I did with my Kitchenaid was make up this stunning Matcha, Blackberry, and Snapdragon Pavlova.  Isn’t it just to die for?  It was so pretty it made my knees wobble.

Matcha, Blackberry, and Snapdragon Pavlova

Matcha, Blackberry, and Snapdragon Pavlova

The trip to Manhattan was a complete dream as always.  I’ve been so fortunate to be able to share these experiences with my family and I’m so thankful to Earth Balance for providing the opportunity for this contest.  It pays to be a loyal customer of companies like this!

We had a wonderful dinner at Candle 79, an upscale vegan restaurant on the Upper East Side.  We also lunched at by CHLOE, and stayed at the beautiful, modern, Morgan’s Hotel.  We went to Grand Central Terminal, The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Plaza, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and  spent a gorgeous sunny day walking around the West and the East Village.  It always ends too soon, but we made the most of every moment.

I’ve got a buncha pics of the trip posted on FB and you’ll have to check them out there because it’s late and this girl has to go back to her real job and real life tomorrow.  Yikes!

I hope you give my Vegan Almond Cherry Squares a try, they will make you happy!

The Big Apple & a Cherry Square #EarthBalance


  • Butter flavored cooking spray
  • 1 ½ Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ Cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Sticks Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
  • 1 ¾ Cups cherry preserves
  • ½ Cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ Cup powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 X 13 inch cake pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Dice the EB Buttery Stick into small cubes. Add it to the dry ingredients.
  4. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut the Buttery Sticks into the dry ingredients until it forms pea-sized lumps.
  5. Press half of this mixture into the bottom of the cake pan to form the crust.
  6. Spoon the preserves onto the crust.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining dry mixture onto the top of the preserves and press into place.
  8. Sprinkle the almonds all over the top and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool for five minutes before cutting into squares.
  10. Dust on some powdered sugar and enjoy.




  1. Luke had the time of his life. Thanks EarthBalance. These bars are out of this world. Once again you nailed it Shauna. Let’s see someone copy that photo. #greatpicture.

    • Thanks Chaddie. This is certainly one of my most valued wins ever. Such an honor, and now we have a go-to recipe for all our get togethers that we know everyone will love.

  2. I loved seeing the pics on Facebook, and of course I immediately thought of Dante from the food truck! So glad your son could go on the trip with you too – very cool.

    My KitchenAid mixer? Is one I bought in 1989! It still works great, so I have no complaints, other than its like a taupe color and now that I see the blue ones, I want one of those.

    Congrats on the win!

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