Friday, February 28, 2014

Lemon Berry Crumble Bars

So, this week is restaurant week in the county I live in...and being the ginormous foodie that I am, I have been eating out like crazy. If you`re unfamiliar with restaurant week, it`s basically a week, where participating restaurants in a large county (like LA), have these special pre-fixed 2 or 3 course meals for a discounted price. There were days were I went out for both lunch and dinner. Let`s just say, I`ve been in a food coma for days. DAYS! No regrets, though. This only comes once a year. Like, girl scout cookies. I need my fix, okay? :P

I love trying new food and I`m thankful I have friends who are willing to tag along with me on these food adventures. I`m also thankful I have people I can bake for. When the opportunity came up for me to bake something for a small group, I was so excited that I could finally bake these bars. I`ve had them in my mind for months, but never the occasion. Not, that you need an occasion to bake these marvelous bars...I just can`t allow myself to be tempted with a whole pan of these!

These bars seem so out of place right now. The lemon and berry combo is usually a must during the Spring and Summer months. But, it`s finally raining where I live, so it`s gloomy and dark outside today. I want this citrusy and berryness to cheer me up. You don`t even need fresh berries for this anyway.

I`m in a lemon and strawberry phase right now, so please forgive me. I keep thinking of lemon and strawberry desserts. These bars are just the beginning of many; just you wait! :)

After I had my first bite, I nearly jumped from excitement. They were just as I imagined them to be! Trust me, you`ll LOVE these. When I brought them in for the work event I had to make these for, everyone said they were great! Some asked for seconds and we all know what that implies! ;)

Lemon Berry Crumble Bars
Adapted: Taste of Home Baking| Yields: 1-9x13 inch pan (about 24-36 pieces)| Level: Easy | Total Time:  60 minutes | Print

-          ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
-          1 cup granulated sugar
-          1 large egg
-          ½ teaspoon lemon extract
-          zest of 1 lemon
-          2 cups all purpose flour
-          ¼ teaspoon baking powder
-          1 cup strawberry preserves
-          1 ½ cup frozen berries, slightly thawed

1.       Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, or grease bottoms and sides well with cooking spray.
2.       In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
3.       Add in the egg, lemon extract, and lemon zest.
4.       In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder well.
5.       Slowly add in the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture, in 2-3 additions, mixing in between.
6.       Divide the dough into ¾ + ¼ parts. Press 3/4 of the dough to the bottom of prepared pan.
7.       In a small bowl, combine the strawberry preserves with frozen berries. Using the back of a fork, break up most of the frozen fruits.
8.       Spread fruits evenly on top of dough.
9.       Crumble the rest of the ¼ dough on top of fruits.
10.   Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until tops are slightly golden.
11.   Let bars cool before cutting into bars.

You can refrigerate leftovers for about 1 week.