Strawberry Lemonade Squares

Written by Ariana deVries on Jul 14

Summer is now here in full swing!

And with it comes delicious food choices. Fresh fruit and herbs, locally-grown veggies, barbecues galore, refreshing beverages, and the list goes on! After a longer than expected space between blog posts (because I started another one with my incredible in-law girls called Simple Moments), it feels so good to be back. 

One of the tricks I've had to practice extra hard over the last couple summers (as we don't have A/C) is how to cook and bake without making the house heat up to 1000 degrees. It's quite a feat, I might add. Especially when your very part-time job includes baking cookies, muffins and squares for the church cafe every week.

I've been quite proud of my successes the last two weeks, however. The barbecue is getting a work out! I've never been amazing at knowing when to flip a burger and how long to leave the chicken or steak on for. However, with tips from my grilling "pro" of a hubby, I'm getting better! I will have to post some of those recipes post-haste. But for now, I will share with you my most recent baking accomplishment.

Photo: Compliments of my brother's girl. :) Thanks for letting me steal it!

My mom and I, along with Breanne and my brother's girlfriend, spent a lovely morning picking our own strawberries. After searching on hands and knees, getting straw stuck to my legs and plucking beautifully ripe pieces of art for my bucket and Brea's mouth, we had about 25 pounds of deliciousness to take home.

I decided not to make jam this year as I still had some tucked away in the recesses of my freezer. So I smashed up most of them, froze others, and had enough leftover to make this incredible dessert...for the cafe.


Sigh. I didn't even get to enjoy a whole piece myself! I very carefully sliced each piece and shaved off the tiniest of slivers so I could at least get a taste.

Golly!

They were amazing. The perfect pairing of strawberry and lemon, crumble and custard. They weren't overwhelmingly sweet, but the fresh strawberries lent such an amazing flavour and boosted the wow factor up 5 notches. I didn't over-do it on the lemon, which simply enhanced the strawberries instead overpowering. The squares were a fantastic hit and I had many rave comments on how good they were.

So those extra strawberries you might have waiting to be used for something amazing, do yourself a favour (or not, if you don't want to eat too many), and bake up these goodies. Who cares if it heats up your house? They're that good. :) Besides, then you can sweat off the calories. Haha!

Happy Summer!

 

Strawberry Lemonade Squares

Serving Size: 9 squares Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 50-65 minutes

Ingredients

Crumble and Crust Layers
1/2 cup Butter Melted
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
Pinch Salt
Filling Layer
1 large Egg(s)
1/2 cup Yogurt (Plain or vanilla)
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
2 tbs Lemon Juice
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
Strawberry Layer
2 cups Strawberries (Heaping)
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar (1/2 if berries are sour)
2 tbs Lemon Juice
2 tsp Corn Starch
Up to 2 tbs All-Purpose Flour (Only if berries are too juicy)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside. Lining the pan will really help with cleanup and is highly recommended.

Crust and Crumble Topping

  • Melt the butter. Add the sugars and whisk to combine.
  • Add the flour, salt, and stir to combine. Mixture will be somewhat dry with larger, well-formed crumble pieces.
  • Set a heaping 3/4 cup crumble mixture aside.
  • Transfer remaining mixture to prepared pan, and using a spatula or your fingers, hard-pack the mixture to create an even, smooth, flat crust; set aside.

Filling

  • In a medium bowl, add the egg, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and whisk to combine or beat with a handheld electric mixer until smooth.
  • Add the flour and whisk to combine or beat until smooth.
  • Evenly pour filling over the crust and jiggle pan to help distribute it or smooth it with a spatula; set aside.

Strawberry Layer

  • In a separate medium bowl, add all filling ingredients except flour and toss to combine.
  • Evaluate mixture and if it's very thin, runny, or soupy, add up to 2 tablespoons flour to help thicken it. If using fresh berries, you may not need any flour. 
  • Evenly distribute strawberry mixture over the filling.
  • Evenly sprinkle with the reserved heaping 3/4 cup crust mixture. Before sprinkling, squeeze the mixture a bit to form some bigger crumble pieces.

Baking

  • Bake for about 55-60 minutes (place pan on a cookie sheet for insurance against overflow if your pan is quite full), or until edges are bubbling. Crumble topping should appear set and very pale golden. If using all fresh berries, squares will likely be ready earlier, so start checking at 50 minutes. If using frozen berries, it could take up to 70 minutes to bake. Watch your bars, not the clock, when evaluating doneness.
  • Place pan on a wire rack and allow bars to cool for at least 2 hours (longer is better) before slicing and serving. After cooling all afternoon, I placed pan in the fridge for several hours before slicing to ensure clean, neat cuts. If you try to slice bars before they've cooled completely, they'll be extremely messy and could fall apart.
  • Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 10 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

*Note: Original recipe was found on the Avery Cooks website.*