Strawberry Shortcake Bars with Fresh Strawberry Topping
If you love strawberry shortcake, these Strawberry Shortcake Bars are for you. With incredible fresh strawberry flavor in every bite, there’s no holding back. Strawberry shortcake is to summer what apple pie is to fall. And if this favorite seasonal dessert brings you to your knees, this recipe is for you. For a new take on this iconic dessert, take all the layers and repackage them into an easy-to-make and incredible-tasting bar.
Start with a fresh strawberry-studded shortcake dough that has a layer of strawberry jam sandwiched in the middle. As with any fresh fruit dessert, it’s only as good as the fruit you make it with, so look for plump, juicy berries. While the crust bakes, make the simple strawberry-flavored topping. It has just the right amount of sugar to sweeten it and cornstarch to thicken it. Adding one or two drops of red food dye really adds intense color to the topping. Then, to elevate the bars even more, finish them off with some freshly whipped cream.
It’s worth noting here that there’s a secret ingredient in the dough — white chocolate. It adds an element of creaminess to the baked crust without making it dense. Be sure to use a bar of white chocolate in this recipe. The chips typically contain less cocoa butter than the bars, meaning they don’t melt as well.
FOR THE BARS, WHISK:
FOR THE TOPPING, PURÉE:
Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a 9-inch-square baking pan with nonstick spray. Line pan with a 2-inch overhang of parchment paper; coat with nonstick spray.
For the bars, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender until butter is pea-sized; stir in strawberries and white chocolate.
Whisk together heavy cream, egg, and vanilla, then add to flour mixture, blending with a fork just until dough comes together.
Press half the dough onto bottom of prepared pan. Spread jam over dough, then pat remaining dough over the top; sprinkle with sparkling sugar. Bake bars until lightly golden, 35–40 minutes; cool to room temperature, then cut into 12 bars.
For the topping, purée ¾ cup halved or quartered strawberries in a food processor. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Stir in puréed strawberries, water, and pinch of salt; bring to a boil and cook until thick, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Stir in food color, then remove from heat and let cool slightly; pour over remaining 31/4 cups strawberries. Let topping cool to room temperature, or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve bars with topping and whipped cream.
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 24%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 51mg 17%
Sodium 253mg 10%
Carbs 49g 16%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.