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Gram Gram Lola's cherry bars are Reddit-famous, so we tried them

Canned cherry pie filling is the star of this cherished family recipe.
Gram Gram Lola's cherry pie bars were famous in Redditor Sierra's family.
Gram Gram Lola's cherry pie bars were famous in Redditor Sierra's family.Terri Peters
/ Source: TODAY

Redditor karmicBee, whose first name is Sierra, remembers visiting her Gram Gram Lola as a child and helping her great-grandmother make her famous cherry squares.

"My job was to spoon on the cherries, as I was quite young," Sierra, who asked to keep her last name anonymous, told TODAY Food. "My great-grandpa's favorite dessert flavor was cherry, which is why she made these to begin with. They were married for 79 years, and he passed away a couple of months before her."

Lola created the cherry bar recipe because her husband loved cherry in his desserts.u/karmicBee

Gram Gram Lola's friends and family loved the delicious dessert, made from a simple batter and canned cherry pie filling, and would request she make them for special occasions and church potlucks.

Lola, a giving soul and a schoolteacher, was always happy to oblige.

Lola (right) with five generations of family.u/karmicBee

"She was a one-room schoolhouse teacher for many years, and in winter, got to school early to start fire in the wood-burning stove to be warm when kids arrived," Sierra shared. "Later, she was a teacher in small-town Wisconsin, teaching kindergarten for 40 years."

"She remembered most of the kids and many sent her cards and kept in touch over the years," Sierra added. "She taught many of the children of her early students and some came to her 100th birthday party celebration."

Sierra's Gram Gram died at age 101, but her cherry bar recipe lives on through her family. Sierra recently found the recipe and shared it on Reddit, where members of the Old_Recipes subreddit have been making and posting photos of their own attempts at the recipe.

"It's made me happy," said Sierra, "And I know Gram Gram would have been delighted to see people from all over enjoying her recipe."

The cherry bars start with a simple batter, then canned cherry pie filling is spooned onto each.Terri Peters/TODAY

I wanted to get in on the cherry bar action, so I mixed up some of my own batter from ingredients like flour, butter and almond and vanilla extract. After spreading the batter onto a baking sheet, I used a knife to score 28 bars into the batter, just like Gram Gram Lola suggests, then spooned cherry pie filling into the center of each.

My cherry bars, scored and ready for the oven.Terri Peters/TODAY

Thirty minutes later, the cherry squares were ready to go. These cherry-filled beauties are much like handheld cherry pies, and topped with some powdered sugar, they look beautiful served on a platter.

The buttery bars have hints of almond and vanilla that, combined with the tartness of the cherries, really pack a flavorful punch.

The bars after baking for 30 minutes in a 350 F oven.Terri Peters/TODAY

I can see why the bars were the hit of many a family gathering and potluck dinner.

For Sierra and her family, it's been fun to see how many people have created such a cherished family recipe.

Gram Gram Lola's cherry bars are a delight.Terri Peters/TODAY

"I figured it would be really neat if anyone would make them and to see how far Gram Gram's recipe could travel and who it could touch," she said. "I was happy at the reception the cherry bars received, and that a bunch of people posted their very own cherry bars."