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Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars

Let’s go on a picnic date! We’ll pack a nice spread, unfold our red-and-white checkered blanket, then proceed to ignore the potato salad in favor of the main event: Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars.

Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars. Shortbread spread with strawberry jam and topped with lemon Greek yogurt cheesecake.

Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars are the taste of early, endless summer, topped with a puff of whipped cream, and gobbled with sticky fingers.

To create these sunny delights, we spread sweet strawberry jam over buttery shortbread, add a light cheesecake topping, then smother our work with fresh berries. Zippy lemon zest dances throughout, creamy cheesecake and shortbread make a perfect couple, and strawberry brings the fruity fun to this summer celebration. Each bite is loaded with the flavor of long days spent playing outside, pretending not to notice Mom calling you home for the night.

Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars from Well Plated by Erin

Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread BarsStrawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars also include a few sneaky swaps. I love developing lighter twists on traditionally heavy dishes, and these dreamy Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars are no exception. The cheesecake layer is made with a combo of Greek yogurt and light cream cheese, and I snuck a bit of whole-wheat pastry flour into the crust. Fear not: all you will taste is buttery shortbread and luscious cheesecake. I served an entire plate to my friends, and no one believed me when I told them the secret ingredients. You’ll fool your friends and create the perfect excuse for a second helping. High-five!

Bright, creamy Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars taste worthy of a special occasion, yet are simple enough for a weeknight treat.

Strawberry-Lemonade-Shortcake-Bars-Recipe-The-Law-Students-Wife

Now, who’s up for a picnic?

Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 9 bars

Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars

Buttery shortbread crust, spread with strawberry jam, and topped with a light lemon cheesecake. Taste summer in every bite.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest, divided (about ½ lemon)
  • ? teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 ounces (1/2 block) light cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice (please don’t use the bottle!)
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup strawberry preserves (I love Smucker’s Simply Fruit)
  • Sweetened whipped cream (or frozen non-dairy whipped topping), for garnish
  • Fresh sliced strawberries, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor (or in a medium mixing bowl if not using a food processor), lightly pulse the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat pastry flour, powdered sugar, ¼ teaspoon lemon zest, and salt. Add butter pieces and pulse just until mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse cornmeal. (If not using a food processor, cut butter pieces into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender.) The mixture will feel dry to the touch. Press the mixture onto bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 20 to 22 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl), beat together the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and granulated sugar until smooth. Add the egg and beat just until blended. Mix in the fresh lemon juice, cornstarch, vanilla, and remaining ¼ teaspoon lemon zest. Beat well.
  4. Spread preserves over the cooled shortbread. Pour the cream cheese mixture over preserves, spreading to edges. Bake an additional 28 to 32 minutes, or until the cheesecake appears set on top and only jiggles slightly when you wiggle the pan. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and chill 4 to 8 hours. Cut into bars and garnish with whipped cream and fresh strawberry slices.

Notes

Storage Note: Store bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. To freeze, leave bars ungarnished, wrap tightly in a double layer of plastic, and freeze for up to 1 month. Let thaw in the refrigerator, then top with whipped cream and berries just before serving.

http://www.wellplated.com/strawberry-lemonade-shortbread-bars/

This recipe was originally featured as a guest post on AskChefDennis.com. Chef Dennis is an award-winning chef and wonderful resource to food bloggers around the world!

26 Responses to “Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars”

  1. Chef Dennis (@ACulinaryJrney) — May 2, 2013 @ 7:36 pm (#)

    Thanks for such a delicious guest post Erin!

    • Erin Clarke — May 3rd, 2013 @ 9:32 am

      Thank YOU for the opportunity Dennis! So happy to have shared these on your blog and to have been a part of your series!

  2. Kim | a little lunch — May 3, 2013 @ 7:40 am (#)

    Erin, I read your guest post over at Chef Dennis’ blog and everything about it made me smile — your picnic musings were a delight and your sunny photos and “light” recipe had summer written all over them. So nice to meet you!

    • Erin Clarke — May 3rd, 2013 @ 9:29 am

      So nice to meet you too Kim! Thanks so much for stopping over and saying hi. Hope to “see” you again soon!

  3. Happy Valley Chow — May 3, 2013 @ 9:12 am (#)

    Discovered your blog through Chef Dennis’ guest post. Needless to say you have a new follower. Can’t wait to see what you have in store, these bars look incredible :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

    • Erin Clarke — May 3rd, 2013 @ 9:28 am

      Thank you so much! I am so thrilled that you found my site and excited to have you here :-)

  4. Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — May 3, 2013 @ 10:38 am (#)

    So, I’ll be over in 5 and we can head out for a picnic! I’ll bring the bubbly!

    • Erin Clarke — May 3rd, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

      YES Lauren! Sounds like a perfect day :-)

  5. brookeschweers — May 3, 2013 @ 8:32 pm (#)

    These look devine! A perfect afternoon treat on a sunny day :)

    • Erin Clarke — May 3rd, 2013 @ 11:14 pm

      Thanks Brooke! And I think you described them just right :)

  6. Paula — May 3, 2013 @ 8:32 pm (#)

    The combination of lemon and strawberry sounds delicious! It concerns me, however, to see so many recipes substituting Kosher salt for iodized salt. Unless you do a lot of home cooking, there just aren’t that many opportunities to introduce iodine into the diet.

    • Erin Clarke — May 3rd, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

      Hi Paula! I can certainly see your concern–personally, I use kosher salt, because I prefer its taste to iodized salt. The good news is, you can make this recipe with standard table salt, and the bars will still turn out wonderfully :) Choose whichever is best for your palate and lifestyle!

  7. Debi — May 4, 2013 @ 10:23 pm (#)

    Hi Erin! I found your site after your post for your Aunt Roxanne. I am a friend of your mom’s and saw it on her page and when I read it I fell in love with your site and I told your mom you have a great sense of writing and humor! (Not to mention cooking!) I look forward to your emails, they always make me smile and I can’t wait to try some of your recipes! This weeks really sounds yummy and made me take the time to finally write a comment!! Keep up the great work!!

    • Erin Clarke — May 5th, 2013 @ 11:02 pm

      Hey Debi! I’m so happy that you took time to say hi and that you enjoy my blog. Your message absolutely made my day! We are helplessly addicted to these bars, and I hope that you love them too :) Thanks again!

  8. Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies — May 6, 2013 @ 11:15 am (#)

    These look perfect for summer time! Can’t wait to have an excuse to try them out :)

    • Erin Clarke — May 6th, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

      Thanks Kelly! Is it being the month of May a good enough excuse? Let me know if you need others–I’m pretty talented at coming up with good reason to make dessert ;-)

  9. ashley - baker by nature — May 7, 2013 @ 10:34 pm (#)

    I LOVE picnic dates!!! And literally just wrote about that love last night haha!!! We truly are soul mates! And omg, these bars!? Yes.

    • Erin Clarke — May 8th, 2013 @ 9:37 am

      Stars are aligning Ashley! Meet halfway between our hometowns? I’ll bring the red, you bring the white! Oh, these bars are coming too ;-)

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