Recipe: Strawberry Shortbread Bars
Strawberry season in Arkansas is just around the corner. But if you can’t wait, these bars will hold you over until you can pick up fresh berries from your local farm. The base is made of buttery shortbread and is topped with a jam-like strawberry and rhubarb filling. You won’t be able to taste the crushed pineapple, but it brightens the flavor, so be sure to include it! If you prefer pie, you can simply pour the filling into a pre-baked pie shell and chill in the refrigerator.
Nonstick baking spray
2 (8-ounce) sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
¹/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 (21-ounce) can strawberry rhubarb pie filling (or regular strawberry pie filling if desired)
1 (8-10-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (3-ounce) package strawberry Jell-O
Whipped cream (optional)
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch cake pan with baking spray, or use butter wrappers to lightly grease bottom and sides. Note: You can also make this in a 9×9-inch pan, but you will have leftover dough and filling.
2. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. On slow speed, slowly pour flour in, and mix until a dough forms with no visible traces of flour (approximately 30-45 seconds). Be careful to not overmix.
3. Roll dough out into a rectangle roughly the size of your cakepan. With floured hands, press dough into bottom of pan, and use your fingers to gently create a half-inch border around sides.
4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until top is a light, golden brown. Set aside to cool.
1. Whisk sugar and flour together in a large saucepan. Once mixed, add strawberry rhubarb pie filling and pineapple.
2. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Stir regularly, making sure to scrape bottom and sides with your spoon or rubber spatula. Once filling thins out and most of the fruit has broken down, it will have a jam-like consistency.
3. Stir in Jell-O mix, and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Pour filling into shortbread crust, and let chill in refrigerator, uncovered, for at least 2 hours. If making well in advance, remove bars from refrigerator about 10 minutes before serving. Top with whipped cream if desired.
READ MORE: Strawberry Cake Recipe