Grandma’s (Strawberry) Lemon Bars

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As soon as I could sense summer coming around the corner, I started craving lemon bars. Unfortunately, as soon as I could see summer coming around the corner, I could also see finals coming around the corner.

Finals are the reason I have been pretty MIA the last few weeks (sorry about that!). However I have good news- finals are officially over for this girl, which means less money spent on coffee and more money spent on food ingredients! She’s baaaack!

Obviously after craving lemon bars for the last several weeks, lemon bars were the first thing I had to make in all my new found free time. This recipe was my grandmother’s lemon bar recipe, which means it’s a winner right off the bat.  However, in the middle of the baking process I realized I had strawberries that were about to go bad, so I added them to the mix, and created a slightly adapted, yet still delicious version of my grandmother’s lemon bars. I think she would be proud.

Give them a try! Strawberries and lemon bars- nothing could possibly say summer more than those things. Enjoy your weekend, and be extra grateful for your grandmothers today.

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Ingredients:

  • ½ + 2 Tablespoons cup melted butter (melt the ½ cup and 2 Tablespoons separately)
  • 1 cup + 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced fresh strawberries (OR a few heaping Tablespoons of strawberry jam)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • ¾ – 1 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and lightly butter an 11 x 7 inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, flour, and ½ cup melted butter.  Mix well and press into the prepared pan. Bake for 5-10 minutes until lightly brown.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the remaining 1 cup of brown sugar, baking powder, salt, nuts, coconut, and beaten eggs.
  4. Arrange the sliced strawberries (or jam) over the cooked crust, and then pour the egg/coconut over it all.  Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes at 350˚ F.
  5. Allow the bars to cool for a few minutes, and in the meantime, mix together the confectioners sugar, lemon juice, and remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter.  Pour this mixture over the squares like a thin glaze, and allow to harden.
  6. Cut and serve in squares once the glaze has harden, and try not to eat them all at once! J

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Notes and Tip!:

World’s Best Cookie Bar

So, I admit, I have not tried all of the cookie/dessert bars in the world. That’s still on my to-do list. I can assure you however, that this recipe- although simple- is dangerously delicious.

This recipe is the first recipe I ever memorized. I baked these cookie bars for the first time in middle school, both because I have a crazy sweet tooth and because I’ve always been part grandmother. Within 48 hours the entire pan was gone (with great help from my family), and just a week later I found myself back in the kitchen, making another batch! This dessert is not elaborate or particularly fancy, and it is very easy to make- only taking about 35 minutes total.  However, every time I have made these bars, without fail, I have been asked for the recipe.

I have not tried all the cookie-bars in the world, but I would bet you are going to love these.  Happy baking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs*
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of butterscotch chips*

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. While the oven preheats, unwrap the stick of butter and place in a 11 x 7 inch pan.  Place the pan in the oven and allow the butter to melt while the oven preheats. It should only take a few minutes, so don’t let it burn!
  3. Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the oven and pour the graham cracker crumbs on top of the butter.
  4. Stir the graham cracker crumbs in the pan so that the butter coats the crumbs. (It may seem like too many crumbs for that much butter, but I promise it works!)
  5. Once the butter and crumbs are well mixed, press the crumbs into an even crust on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk over top of the crumbs.
  7. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips over the sweetened condensed milk, evenly distributing them.
  8. Once the chips are scattered on top, use the back of a spatula to gently press them into the sweetened condense milk.  The chips do not need to be totally submerged, but try and surround them with milk.
  9.  Bake for 25 minutes, and allow to cool. Once totally cooled (this takes several hours), cut, serve, and enjoy!

Notes and Tips!:

  • You have two options for the graham crackers.  You can buy pre-crushed graham cracker crumbs in the baking isle, or you can buy a box of whole graham crackers and chop them up in a blender. If you buy a box of graham crackers you will probably use about 3/4 of them.
  • You can substitute the butterscotch chips for peanut butter chips if you are someone who loves the peanut butter and chocolate combination. It’s up to you!
  • I suggest letting them cool for as long as possible before cutting them, ideally refrigerating them for around 5 hours.  Otherwise, when cut they will turn into a big gooey crumble.
  • If you don’t have an 11 x 7 inch pan, do not worry! An 8 x 8 inch square pan will work as well.
  • If you like this recipe, you may also like my Rolo Crinkle Cookies!