For everything there is a beginning and for everything there is an end. Today marks the last post in my Guest Post Friday series. It was great while it lasted and during that time I shared many of my friends with you. You made new friends and discovered new blogs to enjoy, and you we’re introduced to great cuisine from around the world. But sadly it’s run its course and has become simply work, rather than a labor of love, which is how this all started.
But don’t be sad, because I have one more guest blogger to share with you, and it’s a blogger who absolutely loves what she does and it shows! Today it’s my great pleasure to introduce Erin, The Law Student’s Wife. Although I’m a little sad about ending this delicious series of posts, I couldn’t be happier with the last guest blogger to grace this blog as the series concludes.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Erin’s blog, you are in for a treat! Erin may be posing as a Law Student’s Wife for her blog, but I’ll tell you, she’s shows the creativity of a top chef as she works her magic in the kitchen combining flavors and creating one delicious dish after another. And her magazine quality imagery will have you drooling on your keyboard before you finish reading your first post.
So sit back, relax, put your feet up and get ready for some serious stomach rumblings, as I give you……..
Let’s go on a picnic date.
We’ll kick off our shoes, stretch in the sun, and seriously contemplate eating every meal for the rest of our lives atop a red-and-white checkered blanket. Coleslaw is nice, and it was thoughtful of you to bring the potato salad, but let’s be real: today’s picnic is all about Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars.
Before our picnic continues (and I launch into exactly why you need Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars in your life rightthisinstant), please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Erin, author of The Law Student’s Wife, a (mostly) healthy and budget-friendly cooking blog. I’m convinced that cheese and chocolate are the answers, that you can love sweets and veggies equally, and that delicious, satisfying food should be accessible to everyone. My recipes focus on lighter twists to classic comfort foods, money-saving alternatives, and quick weeknight meal ideas, all shared with a pinch of pizzazz.
A warm thank you to Chef Dennis for allowing me to guest post today. Not only do I have tremendous respect for his expertise and work, but also he’s given me the delightful opportunity to share a slice of summertime bliss with you: Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars.
Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars are the taste of early, endless summer, topped with a puff of whipped cream, and gobbled with sticky fingers.
To create these sunny delights, we spread sweet strawberry jam over buttery shortbread, add a light cheesecake topping, then smother our work with fresh berries. Zippy lemon zest dances throughout, creamy cheesecake and shortbread make a perfect couple, and strawberry brings the fruity fun to this summer celebration. Each bite is loaded with the flavor of long days spent playing outside, pretending not to notice Mom calling you home for the night.
Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars also include a few sneaky swaps. I love developing lighter twists on traditionally heavy dishes, and these dreamy Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars are no exception. The cheesecake layer is made with a combo of Greek yogurt and light cream cheese, and I snuck a bit of whole-wheat pastry flour into the crust. Fear not: all you will taste is buttery shortbread and luscious cheesecake. I served an entire plate to my friends, and no one believed me when I told them the secret ingredients. You’ll fool your friends and create the perfect excuse for a second helping. High-five!
Bright, creamy Strawberry Lemonade Shortbread Bars taste worthy of a special occasion, yet are simple enough for a weeknight treat. I hope you enjoy a bit of summer in every bite, and to see you around The Law Student’s Wife soon. It’s been a pleasure to share this recipe with you!
Now, who’s up for a picnic?
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest divided (about 1/2 lemon)
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons cold butter cut into small pieces
- 4 ounces light cream cheese softened, 1/2 block
- 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 teaspoons and 1/2 fresh lemon juice please don’t use the bottle!
- 1 teaspoons and 1/2 cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup strawberry preserves I love Smucker’s Simply Fruit
- Sweetened whipped cream for garnish, or frozen non-dairy whipped topping
- Fresh sliced strawberries for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 inch pan with cooking spray.
In the bowl of a food processor (or in a medium mixing bowl if not using a food processor), lightly pulse the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat pastry flour, powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, and salt. Add butter pieces and pulse just until mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse cornmeal. (If not using a food processor, cut butter pieces into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender.) The mixture will feel dry to the touch. Press the mixture onto bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 20 to 22 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl), beat together the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and granulated sugar until smooth. Add the egg and beat just until blended. Mix in the fresh lemon juice, cornstarch, vanilla, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest. Beat well.
Spread preserves over the cooled shortbread. Pour the cream cheese mixture over preserves, spreading to edges. Bake an additional 28 to 32 minutes, or until the cheesecake appears set on top and only jiggles slightly when you wiggle the pan. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and chill 4 to 8 hours. Cut into bars and garnish with whipped cream and fresh strawberry slices.
Storage Note: Store bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. To freeze, leave bars ungarnished, wrap tightly in a double layer of plastic, and freeze for up to 1 month. Let thaw in the refrigerator, then top with whipped cream and berries just before serving.
What a delicious guest post, those strawberry lemonade bars would certainly be a hit at my house! Now before you forget, head on over to The Law Student’s Wife and say hi to Erin, just remember to tell her Chef Dennis sent you.
Have a great weekend!