We all know the feeling of wanting dessert without eating anything too heavy. If you’ve found yourself in that predicament, these Strawberry Shortcake Bars are exactly what you need. The sweet, sugar cookie base pairs perfectly with a light, creamy filling. But the real star of the show are the juicy strawberries that are practically bursting with freshness. All combined, it’s an easy summer dessert that’s guaranteed to hit the spot!
Summer Dessert: Strawberry Shortcake Bars
Image Via: Brit + Co
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 18 Bars
For Cookie Base:
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
For Cream Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces whipped cream or whipped topping
For Strawberry Topping:
3 pounds fresh strawberries, divided
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Image Via: Taste of Lizzy T
- In a saucepan, combine 2 pounds of the strawberries with the sugar and balsamic vinegar. Bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer for 15 minutes before turning off the heat and allowing the sauce to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In your mixer, combine the butter and sugar until the mixture is airy and a pale yellow color.
- Add in the eggs and extracts one at a time. Mix to combine.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- With the mixer on its lowest setting, gradually add the dry ingredients into your butter and egg mixture until a cohesive dough forms.
- Spread the dough evenly out on a lightly greased baking sheet and transfer it into the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the crust is set and lightly golden brown. Remove the crust from the oven and allow it to cool completely.
- As the cookies cool, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Then, gently fold in the whipped topping to create the cream layer.
- Assemble the bars by topping the sugar cookie crust with the cream layer and then fresh strawberries. Add generous spoonfuls of the strawberry balsamic mixture.
- Cut into squares and serve.
The strawberry balsamic glaze adds a rounder, deeper flavor to this recipe that ensures it will be a hit with kids and adults alike. You may not use all of it with the bars, so be sure to refrigerate it to serve later in the week over vanilla ice cream or even whisked with olive oil for an easy vinaigrette. In fact, you could go ahead and make a second batch of these strawberry shortcake bars. One thing’s for sure, this is recipe for a summer dessert that’s so delicious everyone will want seconds.
What do you think would be the perfect occasion to serve these bars? Would they be great as an after-school snack or potluck dessert?
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