Fresh Strawberry Bars

When I got the May 2009 issue of BHG and saw Fresh Strawberry Bars on the cover I knew they were right up my alley. Recently I've become a sucker for anything strawberry. I also knew I needed to make sure they didn't stay around my house long. I wanted to bring them into work, but one of my coworkers is allergic to Strawberries so I kept putting them off.

Last week that coworker was out of town so it was my chance to make them. The dense peanut butter base of the bars is the perfect compliment to the sweet strawberries. It almost tastes like the freshest, gourmet PB&J sandwich you've ever had. I got a TON of compliments on these. They were everything from "Oh this reminds me of the pastries I used to eat in France" .... "Oh wow this is the best Peanut Butter and Jelly I've ever had" ...."Wait, you MADE those??" "Oh my gosh, this is delicious"... and last but not least "scrapescrapescrape" (The sound of people scraping every last bit off their plate.) Matt was also a huge fan of these and exclaimed "WOAHHHHOMYDISOGOD!" (That's Woah! Oh my gosh this is so good! With his mouthful.) I really appreciated all the compliments and they made me laugh because the recipe is incredibly easy. All in all I say this is a perfect summer time dessert. I highly, highly recommend it!

Fresh Strawberry Bars
Source: Better Homes and Gardens

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup strawberry jam (I ended up not measuring and just eyeballing how much jam was needed)
4 cups small whole strawberries, halved or quartered (I think quartered is the best bet, I ended up sprinkling mine with brown sugar to make them extra sweet)

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12×9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil beyond edges. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl beat butter and peanut butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Beat in sugars, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with mixer. Stir in remaining flour.

Spread dough in prepared pain. Bake 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Cool completely on rack. Remove from pain by lifting foil. Spread jam and top with berries. Cut into bars. Serve at once or refrigerate up to 6 hours. Makes 24 bars.

Make ahead: Wrap the peanut butter base in foil; store at room temperature up to 24 hours. Before serving, top with jam and berries or freeze the peanut butter base in a freezer container up to 3 months. For individual servings, cut the base in portions and freeze. Pull a portion from the freezer, thaw, and top with jam and berries for a last-minute dessert.**

**What I did was made the base and cut and topped 4 individual bars to take my pictures. I wrapped the rest in foil and the next morning before work I spread jam on the remaing base and topped with strawberries. I took it to work and cut individual squares and then kept it in one of those pyrex carry cases with the compartments for icepacks so it stayed cool all day.


Nemmie said...

Ahhhhh! I made these too, and have a post on them coming up soon! They are super-duper delicious :) Yours look way better than mine.

PS: does anyone make fun of you for getting BHG?? People liked the bars when I took them to my book club, but they also would giggle when they found out I get BHG.

Katie said...

YUM! I LOVE strawberries! What a great recipe!