Strawberry Lemonade Bars

These strawberry lemonade bars were my first attempt at a COMPLETELY homemade from stratch do-it-myself baked good.  I’ve probably said this a bazillion times, but I’m not a baker.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy baking – I absolutely love it – I just don’t know what the hell I’m doing!!  I’ve never really given it a shot… I’ve always been intimidated by the fact that with baking you actually need to measure ingredients and you can’t just throw them together like you can when you’re cooking. Or can you????

I decided to give it a shot. Who says I can’t eyeball a baked item? I’m changing that rule right now!!! And guess what? I freaking did it and it WORKED!  Of course, I wrote down what I used as I was throwing ingredients in until I was satisfied with the end product so I could

1. Remember what I did and

2. Share with all of you guys! 🙂

My husband came into the kitchen and said, “Oh wow, something smells good. What ‘cha making?!” I looked right at him and said, “An experiment.”  HAH!  I wouldn’t even tell him what it was until it was done because I was not going to ruin my boost of self esteem I had to try to bake.
So, if you’re not a baker but want to be, this recipe is totally for you.  AND, I encourage you to try your own homemade recipe by eyeballing the ingredients and then you HAVE to share with me to let me know how it turns out.  I mean it.  Go do it…. right now. 😉

Ok so dough. That’s easy enough, right?  I needed a “crust” for my strawberry lemonade bars.  How hard can a crust be?  Well, I had to make 3 batches of my “crust” because it wasn’t enough for me to push down into my 9×13″ pan, but guess what? I did it.  I did it ALL by eyeballing and feeling it until I was happy with the end result.

If you’re wondering why the hell I went through this much trouble to successfully make a crust instead of just using one of the million recipes online…. it’s because I’ve always thought it was impossible.  I did not truly think not measuring and baking were able to go into the same sentence.  I wanted so badly to prove to myself that I was capable of calling myself a baker.  A baker with my very own homemade recipes….. and I succeeded!!!

So, I added some sugar, some flour, an egg, some vanilla extract, and butter.  Lots of butter.  Once it looked like a crust consistency should look, I used my fingers and pushed it down into a 9×13″ baking dish.
For my strawberry lemonade filling, I food processed 1 lb strawberries until they were combined into a semi liquidy-mixture.  Then I zested 1 lemon right into the food processor and juiced 1 1/2 lemons.  To thicken the consistency a little bit, I added in some flour and to cut the tartness, a wee bit of sugar.
This strawberry lemonade mixture was seriously so delicious I wanted to drink it.  It was so hard not to.  It would also make awesome sorbet if I put it into a bread pan and froze it…. oh baby. I could have done so many things with this deliciousness.  But, instead, I dumped it right onto my crust in the 9×13″ pan. (and then I licked the food processor clean — jk hahaha)
Ok, now, I needed a “crumble” topping.  I’m not the best at crumbles…. I will admit that.  But, remember, this was my “experiment” so, I’m going for it.  I added flour, brown sugar, and butter to a baggie and used my hands to “crumble” it all up.
Then I crumbled it all over the top of the strawberry lemonade layer.  If I were to do it again, I think I’d squeeze the crumble in my hands first and that way I get bigger crumbles all over the bars.  BUT, I was super happy with how it turned out.

Then, I baked it!  I was cracking up laughing as I watched it bake (and believe me…. I watched it closely) because it was bubbling up like the cake did from the OLD Little Rascals.  Do you know what I’m talking about?  When they make the cake and it’s bubbling into HUGE bubbles and making noise?  If you don’t know click this link and go to minute 5…   Little Rascals – How To Make A Cake . Yep – That was what these bubbling strawberry lemonade bars had me thinking of while they were baking.

Success!  Once they were baked I let them cool on the stove and then I put them in the fridge overnight.  They were a wee bit jiggly still but I figured it would harden up after being refrigerated.
In the morning I used the edges of the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan.  I put it on a cookie sheet and sliced them into bars.
They turned out perfect!!! I was SO happy with them and the flavor was just what I was hoping for!  A little crunch on the bottom with a gooey strawberry lemonade flavor in the center.
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Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Ingredients

Crust

11/2 c sugar

12 tbsp butter (cubed)

1 1/2 c flour

1 egg

1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

Strawberry Lemonade Center

1 lb strawberries

Zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 lemons juiced

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp flour

Crumble

1/2 c flour

1/2 c brown sugar

5 tbsp butter (cold)

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Crust: Using a stand mixer, combine egg, sugar, and vanilla.  Add in flour a little at a time.  Add in butter.
  3. Press crust into parchment paper lined 9×13″ baking dish. Set aside
  4. Add 1 lb strawberries to food processor.  Pulse a few times until strawberries are small pieces.
  5. Zest 1 lemon & add to food processor.
  6. Juice 1 1/2 lemons & add to food processor.
  7. Add 2 tbsp flour & pulse a few times.
  8. Dump strawberry lemonade mixture over your crust in 9×13″ baking dish and use a spatula to spread over crust evenly.
  9. Combine crumble ingredients in baggie.  Use hands to turn ingredients into a crumble.  If not crumbled enough, squeeze ingredients in your hand.  Spread crumble evenly over strawberry lemonade layer.
  10. Bake on 350 for 55 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool & then place in fridge overnight.
  12. In the morning, remove bars from pan.  Slice into bars.
  13. They can be kept refrigerated or at room temperature in airtight container.

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