I haven't exactly been whooping it up this summer. I think it has a little something to do with the fact that I'm really pregnant and we've had several heat waves so far. But at least I can cook/eat like it's summer — and these treats are like summertime in a bar!
I do a lot of pursuing on Pinterest these days, and I came across this recipe there. Brad and I both really enjoyed it — it's light, refreshing, and so full of flavor. They're a snap to make, too, as long as you have a few lemons on hand. (And I highly recommend that you use fresh-squeezed lemon juice rather than store-bought. It'll make a huge difference in taste!)
And the color — spectacular! They're a delightful shade of pink, which just happens to look lovely next to the hydrangeas that a friend left for us for watching her little pup (thanks, Ash!). And I must say that the color is very appropriate for our baby girl, who's well on her way.
Strawberry Lemonade Bars (makes a 9x13" pan)
1/2 cup butter, at room temp
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tsp. lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 3/4 cup strawberries)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13" baking pan. I threw a parchment paper sling in the bottom of the pan and then greased the top and sides of that as well — so I could cut the bars easily out of the pan.
Make the crust. In a bowl, beat together sugar and softened butter until combined and fluffy. With the mixer on low, slowly beat in flour and salt. Mixture will be dry and crumbly. Pour into the prepared baking pan and press into an even layer (the bottom of a measuring cup works nicely for this). Bake for about 17 minutes until edges are set and start to become lightly golden.
Make the filling. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Using a food processor, combine lemon juice, zest, strawberry puree, sugar, and eggs. (Do yourself a favor and zest about 2 lemons before they're all juiced — it's a lot easier to zest a whole lemon than a half one!) Process until smooth. Then add flour, baking powder, and salt, and pulse until smooth.
Finish it off. Gently pour the filling over the hot crust. Return pan to oven and bake for 24-27 minutes, or until the filling is set. The top of the bars will have a slight golden color.
Sprinkle bars lightly with powdered sugar (use a fine-mesh strainer for a nice, even coat of white!). Cool completely before slicing using a clean knife (you may need to rinse with warm water in between slices). Store bars in the refrigerator. Makes 20-24 bars.
Click here for a printable recipe!