Strawberry Shortcake Bars

Strawberry Shortcake Bars

Mmmm, these bars just scream summer. Fresh, juicy strawberries snuggle right in there with a buttery, oatmeal crust, and a little creamy goodness is thrown in for good measure too.

I like the idea of desserty fruit bars. But when it comes down to it, the jam-filled numbers that crowd my google searches usually don’t do it for me. If I’m forgoing my first love (um, chocolate of course) for a dessert featuring fruit, it better be ridiculously awesome. And strawberries are right at the top of my list for acceptable fruits to replace chocolate (but only temporarily, of course) and only if the strawberries are completely loaded on.

Strawberry Shortcake Bars

These bars deliver in a big way. The streusel topping and abundant layer of bright, delectably sweet strawberries are the first flavors and textures to explode in your mouth followed by the subtle creaminess and slightly crunchy crust. Heavenly. Beautiful, tasty, fruity and completely heavenly.

With all the potlucks and neighborhood BBQ’s and entertaining that may/will/should come over the summer, you probably ought to keep this strawberry shortcake bar recipe handy. I mean, I won’t even judge if you sleep with it under your pillow. Gotta be prepared.

PS: If lasagna calls to you like it does to me, consider your day made because I just updated one of my favorite classic and simple lasagna recipes (it’s been on my site since 2008 which means it’s an oldie and a goodie) with new pictures (holy moly the old ones were awful) and details in the recipe. We triple heart this lasagna. So yummy.

Strawberry Shortcake Bars

One Year Ago: Classic Chocolate Mint Brownies
Two Years Ago: Black Bean Hummus
Three Years Ago: The Lava Flow Drink

Strawberry Shortcake Bars

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Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 (6.25 ounces) cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) quick oatmeal (see note)
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 14 tablespoons (7 ounces) cold butter, cut into cubes

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) butter, melted
  • 1 large egg

Strawberry Topping:

  • 2 pounds diced fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch pan with foil and lightly grease (the foil makes for easier cleanup but you can leave it out and just grease the pan).
  2. For the crust, in a large bowl combine the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, salt and nutmeg. Toss in the cubed butter and cut it into the dry mixture using a pastry blender or two knives or just your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Measure out 1 cup of the mixture and set it aside for later.
  3. Press the rest of the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes.
  4. While the crust bakes, make the filling by whisking together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar (you can use the same bowl as the crust without washing it out if you want to save a dish). Make a well in the center and pour in the butter and egg. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth and combined – it will be pretty thick.
  5. Crumble this mixture over the warm crust and pat into a relatively even layer (doesn’t have to be perfect).
  6. In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and vanilla. Spread evenly over the filling and sprinkle the reserved streusel/crust mixture over the top.
  7. Bake the bars for 40-45 minutes until they are just lightly golden around the edges and the center is no longer soft/jiggly.
  8. Cool completely in the pan. Cut into bars and serve. Store the bars in the refrigerator if not serving within an hour or two (I like to let them sit at room temperature out of the fridge for 20-30 minutes to take the chill off).

Notes:

You could substitute old-fashioned rolled oats for the quick oats but I’d suggest giving them a quick whirl in the blender/food processor to refine the texture just a bit.

Update: I have to apologize because when I posted the recipe this morning, I typed up the filling to have 1/2 cup flour instead of 1 1/2 cups flour. I’m very sorry to anyone who made these bars today and had issues (thanks to Hollie who alerted me in the comments). I’ve edited the recipe and it is correct now.

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (inspired by a scribbled down fruit bar recipe found in my old recipe binders)