Strawberry Shortcake Bars
These strawberry shortcake bars are light and refreshing, deliciously buttery, chewy, crisp and filled with fresh juicy strawberries, making them perfect for summer.
They are also incredibly easy to make, with only a few simple ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your kitchen.
For an alternative in the winter try making this bar recipe with any type of jam (strawberry, raspberry, peach, blackberry, apricot or plum).
If you decide to give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment below and rate it – it’s really helpful to me and the other readers. And don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #thegourmetlarder on Instagram. I love seeing what you come up with! 🙂
- EASE: incredibly easy to make.
- FREE-FROM: check out my substitutions section for gluten and sugar-free options.
- GREAT FOR: a treat, picnics, or friends and family visiting, they also make nice homemade gifts!
- TASTE & TEXTURE: buttery, sweet shortbread pastry topped with fresh summer strawberries and a crumbly topping.
- SERVING: great on their own or served warm with some vanilla ice cream for the ultimate dessert!
- QUANTITY: 12 bars (20cm / 8inch square baking pan)
- TIME: 55 minutes.
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For this strawberry shortcake bar recipe all you need are these ingredients:
- Plain (all-purpose) flour – builds structure.
- Caster sugar – adds structure, sweetness to the cookie base.
- Baking powder – is a chemical leavening which increases the volume of the ingredients, creating a nice light texture.
- Pure vanilla extract or paste – adds flavour and enhances the other ingredient flavours in the recipe.
- Butter – adds structure and flavour. I use salted butter for most of my baking as it intensifies the flavours, but feel free to use unsalted if you prefer. Make sure it’s at room temperature before using.
- Egg – helps to bind the ingredients together in both the pastry and the strawberry filling.
- Ground almonds – add flavour to the filling and lightness instead of flour.
- Cornflour (cornstarch)- ensures the filling binds together as it cooks and keeps it light in texture.
- Fresh strawberries – are the hero in this recipe.
- Icing sugar (powdered sugar) – is used for decorating the top of the bars.
I highly recommend adding a good pinch of salt to your desserts. Salt helps balance out the sweetness and richness. It also elevates the other ingredients, bring out the best characteristics of any recipe. In a seemingly absurd or contradictory way, salt intensifies the mouths ability to taste sweetness. It is the sodium that sends signals to move glucose into the sweet taste receptor cells in our tongue. The result is that salt not only alerts our ‘salt sensitivity’, but also our ‘sweet sensitive’ taste buds. I recommend Maldon Sea salt flakes or Cornish sea salt.
While I am making recommendations for alternative ingredients, I haven’t necessarily tried them. If you try making any adaptions, I would love to know how you get on and share it with the other readers.
- Flour: replace the gluten flour with a 1:1 alternative gluten free flour, such as Doves Farm Free plain gluten free flour. If possible, choose a flour which contains xanthan gum or alternatively, add 1 tsp to your batter for stability. You can also try Doves Farm gluten free self-raising flour.
SUGAR-FREE AND LOW-CALORIE OPTIONS
- Sugar-free or calorie reduced options: try alternatives such as coconut sugar, honey, natural erythritol, xylitol, stevia or fructooligosaccharide powder instead. There are also sweetener mixes available, that are 70% calorie reduced and low in carb.
WHAT VARIATIONS CAN I MAKE?
This is where the fun begins.
- Fruits: try peaches, raspberries, blackberries, apricots or plums to name a few.
- Nuts: Try ground hazelnuts instead of almonds. Tastes amazing!
- Spices – try adding spices that compliment the fruit such as cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg.
If you experiment, I would love to know how you get on and share it with the other readers.
Serving: one strawberry shortcake bar
Nutrition information can vary for a recipe based on factors such as precision of measurements, brands, ingredient freshness, or the source of nutrition data.
I strive to keep the information as accurate as possible but make no warranties regarding its accuracy.
I encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
These strawberry shortcake bars will stay fresh for up to 4-5 days in an airtight container.
Freezing: They also freeze well for up to 2 months. To defrost simply leave on the kitchen worktop for half an hour. Serve at room temperature.
TOOLS YOU’LL NEED
Here is some kitchen equipment that I use and recommend for this recipe.
TIP: I highly recommend using metric measurements and a digital kitchen scale, rather than cup measurements. If you have ever ended up with dry, dense or crumbly baked goods, it might be because of inaccurate volume measurements, not all measuring cups are made equally. All my recipes on this blog are carefully developed so that you can easily recreate them in your own kitchen with success, using metric measurements. It is also a lot easier, less messy and you will get far better, consistent results. 🙂
If you are interested in understanding conversions, here you will find the best conversion chart.
Use room temperature ingredients – both the butter and egg should be at room temperature. Cold butter will not cream together properly with the sugars and when combined with the egg will not emulsify correctly, causing the finished baked product to be dense and heavy.
Lining your pan – I highly recommend lining your pan with baking parchment paper. Just greasing the pan just seems to leave complications in removing it from the pan and cutting it. If you line it so that it overhangs by 2-3 cm on each side it will allow you to remove very easily.
Strawberry shortcake bar
- 20cm / 8inch square baking pan
- 300 g plain flour (all-purpose) (BL55)
- 50 g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp of vanilla paste
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
- 150 g butter (cold)
- 3 medium egg yolks (60g total)
- 3 medium egg whites (90g total)
- 100 g caster sugar
- 100 g ground almonds
- 400 g fresh strawberries
- 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- 2 tbsp icing sugar (US powdered sugar)
- Line a 20cm (8inch) square baking pan with baking paper and set aside.
- Dough: In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, vanilla and salt.
- Add the butter and rub it in using your fingertips or a pastry cutter to form a crumbly dough.
- Add the 3 egg yolks and gently mix until a dough forms. Try not to overwork the dough or it will become chewy.
- Cut off one-third, flatten it down to 2 cm (1.5 in) thick, wrap it in cling film and place it in the freezer.
- Take the remaining two-thirds of the dough and press it down into the prepared baking dish or tin.
- Filling: In a medium bowl whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until very stiff.
- Gradually add the sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time. Whisk well between each addition until all the sugar has been added and you have a very stiff and glossy meringue mix.
- Add the ground almonds to the meringue, ensuring they are incorporated and then spread evenly over the top of the dough in the tin.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C fan / 375°F / Gas 5.
- Strawberries: Clean the strawberries and cut them in half. In a medium bowl add the cornflour to the strawberries, ensuring there are no lumps of cornflour left.
- Evenly distribute the strawberries over the almond meringue filling in the tin.
- Remove the dough from the freezer and coarsely grate the dough over the top of the strawberries.
- Baking: Place the tin in the middle of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Remove and let cool.
- Cutting: Make sure to let the bars cool completely before cutting into 12 pieces and dust with icing sugar.(If you slice them while they are still warm, they won’t hold their shape.)
- As if these bars could get any more delicious, try topping them with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW IT TURNED OUT FOR YOU!
If you tried this Strawberry Shortcake Bars or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you got on in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you’re there!
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