Strawberry Bars combine a buttery shortbread crust with strawberry pie filling and a sweet vanilla almond glaze for an easy, fruity summertime dessert!
Part cookie bar, part pie, and completely delectable, these Strawberry Bars are a perfect on-the-go treat just like Cherry Bars and Blackberry Crumb Bars. Easier to serve than slicing a pie, fruity Bar Recipes are perfect for sharing at a picnic!
Strawberry Bars have a double layer of buttery shortbread crust that comes together quickly with a handful of pantry ingredients. The tasty spin on these bars is using a touch of almond extract to bring out the flavors of the strawberries and vanilla. Almond extract has a fruity scent when distilled down, and a little goes a long way to tie together the sweet and tart flavors of this dessert bar.
Almond extract is also used along with lemon juice in the powdered sugar glaze for even more flavor. Adding lemon zest to the dough and lemon juice to the glaze brightens up the flavors and lends a tart contrast to the sweetness of the strawberry filling. To make sure the glaze is the right consistency, add the milk one tablespoon at a time until it is just thin enough to drizzle on the bars without being so thin that it disappears into them.
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You can opt for a fresh strawberry filling when they are in season, but canned strawberry pie filling makes these bars even easier, and lets you enjoy them year round!
Just like strawberry pie, these bars are delicious topped with Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream. Serve them warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream and save a portion of the pan to glaze and keep for later. This recipe makes a generous 48 servings, so enjoy some and freeze the rest for a quick snack or dessert for up to 6 months.
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VARIATIONS ON STRAWBERRY BARS
- Pie Filling: You can use any pie filling you’d like with these bars. In the fall, try Apple Pie Filling or pumpkin pie filling with a tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice. For more summer berry fillings, try blueberry, blackberry, or cherry pie filling.
- Strawberry Chocolate Bars: For a decadent spin, sprinkle 1/2 – 1 cup of mini chocolate chips over the strawberry pie filling before topping with the dough. Or replace the icing with a drizzle of Chocolate Ganache.
- Fresh Strawberries: To use fresh strawberries, stir together 2 cups of washed and diced strawberries, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a medium bowl. Let sit for a few minutes for the juices to seep out and thicken with cornstarch before spreading over dough.
- Nuts: For more almond flavor, sprinkle sliced almonds over the top layer of dough. You can also use other nuts like chopped pecans, walnuts, or peanuts.
- Crumble: Instead of the cookie dough topping, make a streusel crumble with brown sugar, butter, and flour. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over pie filling.
- Mini Pie Cups: Bake Strawberry Bars in a muffin tin for a little pie cup. Prepare dough as usual and divide (in batches) into a 12 cup greased or lined muffin tin. You should yield about 36-40 mini pie cups. Top with strawberry filling and dough, and bake for 22-25 minutes.
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HOW TO STORE STRAWBERRY BARS
- Serve: These Strawberry Bars can be at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Line container with paper towels to absorb moisture.
- Store: Refrigerate Strawberry Bars in an airtight container for up to 1 week. For best taste and texture, bring to room temperature before serving.
- Freeze: Cool Bars completely, cut, and freeze Strawberry Bars in a single layer on a baking sheet for 1 hour. Transfer to a sealed container or freezer safe bag and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
- 1 cup butter softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 lemon zested
- 3 cups flour
- 2 cans strawberry pie filling 21 ounces each
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2-3 tablespoons whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 15x10 sheet pan with baking spray.
- In a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, then add extracts and lemon zest.
- Gradually fold in flour to butter mixture until combined and dough forms.
- Press 3 cups dough into prepared pan.
- Spread with strawberry pie filling covering all the dough evenly.
- Drop remaining dough by teaspoonfuls over filling.
Bake 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Cool completely in pan before glazing.
- In a small bowl, mix confectioners' sugar, extracts, lemon juice, and enough milk to reach desired consistency.
Drizzle over top of cooled bars.