SMiLes by Meg

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

This weekend, I didn’t have to bake at all.  I had three lovely sous chefs to do all the work.  I just diced some strawberries and they did the rest.  Here they are, hard at work:

IMG_1560When sitting down to decide on a recipe, we had an assortment of cookbooks scattered across the table.  Did we want to turn to Magnolia’s? What about the Boozy Baker? Maybe Claire’s Cornercopia had the answer? The only requirement was that it include fruit.

We tossed around a bunch of ideas, but ended up settling on Strawberry Lemonade Bars from Pinterest, because bars are easy to make and travel with, and I wanted to send them far away from the condo so I wouldn’t eat them all, as was the fate of the Coconut Scotchie Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Alas, I didn’t read the entire recipe in advance, so though my friends have left, the bars remain.  Hopefully they were able to snack on enough of the crumb topping to have gotten a little enjoyment.

So, though I don’t have the first hand experience with baking this one, here’s what I observed!

First, make the crumb topping.  To do that, melt the butter in the microwave and add the two sugars, whisking to combine.

IMG_1564IMG_1565IMG_1566IMG_1568In case you were unsure as to what whisking looked like, Sheila was sure to include plenty of action shots for you.

Next, add the flour and stir to combine.  It should resemble sand with large clumps. Reserve a heaping 3/4 cup of the crumb in a separate bowl.

IMG_1569IMG_1570Press the remaining mixture into an 8×8 inch pan, lined with aluminum foil lined with cooking spray. This will be the crust.

IMG_1571Next, it’s time to make the filling. Put the egg, sour cream, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk to combine.

IMG_1572IMG_1573Add the flour and continue to whisk until smooth.

IMG_1574IMG_1575Evenly pour the filling over the crust to create the second layer in the pan.  More awesome action shots courtesy of Sheila ahead!

IMG_1576IMG_1577IMG_1578Finally, the strawberry layer.  This is where my own work was finally used.  Dicing two heaping cups of strawberries is not an insignificant undertaking.

In a separate bowl, toss the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cornstarch to combine.

IMG_1579IMG_1561That’s a shot of Shirlee being Marj’s arms to do said tossing.  There’s also a video, but, unfortunately, I couldn’t upload it.  Anyways, add the flour to your own discretion in order to thicken.  Depending on your strawberries, this could be as much as 2 1/2 tablespoons, or as little as none.

IMG_1580Spread the strawberry layer as evenly as possible on top of the filling.  It’s not the end of the world if you mix things together – no one will complain about marbled strawberry bars.

IMG_1581Sprinkle with the remaining topping. We added a little lemon zest to the crumb topping, which I think was a good idea from Marj. Bake at 350°F for around an hour, until edges are bubbling and the crumb topping is slightly golden.  It’s worth it to check around 45 minutes since fresh vs. frozen berries have different results here.

Cool for at least two hours before slicing and serving.  Mine are currently sitting in the fridge chilling further, since the recipe recommended serving them chilled.  You can store them at room temperature for a week or in the fridge for 10 days.

Huge shout out to Shirlee, Sheila, and Marj for doing all the baking/photography for the week! Wish I could send you guys a bar!

Everyone else, enjoy!

IMG_1583

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Crust and Crumble Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour

Strawberry Layer Ingredients:

  • 2 heaping cups strawberries, diced
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • up to 2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Crumble and Crust: Whisk together melted butter, sugar, and brown sugar until combined. Add flour and stir to combine. Reserve a heaping 3/4 cup of crumble and press remaining crumble into the bottom of a 8×8 inch pan lined with aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray.
  2. Filling: In a bowl, whisk together egg, sour cream, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until smooth.  Add flour and whisk until combined. Pour filling layer over crust evenly.
  3. Strawberry Layer: Toss strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cornstarch in a large bowl.  If too runny, add flour to thicken to desired consistency before pouring evenly over the filling layer.  Sprinkle with reserved crumble.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes, or until sides are bubbling and the crumb topping is slightly golden.  Allow to cool at least two hours before slicing and serving.

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