1. Preheat oven to 325 degree F and arrange rack in center. Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish, then line with foil, allowing a 2-inch overhang on longer sides to use as handles; butter foil.
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
3. Beat together 1-1/2 sticks butter and the sugar in a large bowl on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cream and extract; beat until combined well.
4. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture, beating until just combined. Fold in cherries. Evenly spread batter in prepared dish.
5. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer cookie layer in dish to rack and cool completely.
6. Meanwhile, using fingertips, mix together oats, coconut, almonds, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 12 to 14 minutes. Cool.To assemble bar cookies::
7. Spread preserves over cookie layer in dish, then sprinkle evenly with oat mixture. Holding foil handles, lift out of dish and place on work surface. Cut into 1-inch squares. (Can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container, in single layers separated by waxed paper, up to 1 week. Makes about 60 bar cookies.