Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

After a long hot day there is nothing as comforting as sitting down with a tall glass of ice cold lemonade. This is a tradition I remember from my childhood summers spent at my grandparents. Afternoons were always spent on the back porch, sipping lemonade, snacking on a cookie or two, waiting on dinner to cook.

Now as a busy adult living in the 21st century, I rarely get the chance to sit down on the back porch and sip lemonade, but I still have time to grab a quick snack in the afternoons.

Since I cannot always squeeze in time for a relaxing few moments on the porch, I decided to incorporate my childhood memories into this simple to make bar. I also had a few strawberries on hand and decided to add them in too.

Strawberry Lemonade Bars
Makes 16 2-inch Bars

1 cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
5 tbsp. butter, melted
pinch salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh is best)
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cup sugar (a little less if you like them tart, a little more if you want them sweeter)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
4 large eggs
1/4 tsp. lemon extract (optional if you want an extra "kick" to the lemon)
7-8 large strawberries, cleaned and sliced.

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8x8 inch pan with foil. Grease the foil or spray with cooking spray.

Combine crust ingredients until well moistened. Press into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven.

Meanwhile, whisk together filling ingredients, except strawberries. Pour into prepared crust. Add in strawberry slices, reserving a few for the top of the bars. Push the slices into the custard mixture.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, until just beginning to set. Arrange remaining strawberry slices on the top of the bars. Return to oven and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until bars are set.

Remove bars from oven. Let cool completely before slicing into 2-inch squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

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