Monday, July 6, 2015

Festive Lemon Berry Bars

Happy Fourth a few days late! I hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was incredibly relaxing and lazy, exactly what I was hoping for! One of the few things I did accomplish during this wonderful weekend was baking up a batch of these festive and delicious lemon berry bars. I wanted an easy and quick dessert that was summery and fitting for the 4th of July. These bars fit the bill perfectly, filled with colorful red and blue berries and topped with a simple white glaze. The hint of lemon from some fresh lemon juice and zest was the perfect way to brighten them up for the middle of summer. Light and refreshing, these bars will be wonderful all season long!

The original recipe for these bars called for just blueberries, but I wanted to make them more festive for the holiday so I threw in the strawberries too because I had them on hand. Raspberries would have also been really good. I think pretty much any berry would do very nicely in these bars, so don't feel constrained to just blueberries and/or strawberries. 

When I first pulled the bars out of the oven they looked kind of funny. Since there is no leavening in them, they didn't really rise much, and the top was covered in bubbles which you can kind of see in the pictures. I wasn't sure what they would look like in the end, but once I cut them, and especially after adding the glaze they looked really nice, and quite delicious. So if they turn out a little funny looking at first, have no fear! Just cut them up once cool and add a nice hefty dose of glaze and all should be well!

Festive Lemon Berry Bars
Adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen
For the Bars:
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated zest 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, cut into small pieces
For the Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of water or fresh lemon juice 
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8” x 8” pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, about 20 seconds. Add lemon juice and vanilla and mix to combine. Add flour and salt, mixing until incorporated. Fold in blueberries and strawberries.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake until skewer inserted into brownies comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack to room temperature.

To make the lemon glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and water or lemon juice. Spread over bars and let firm up, about 10 minutes.

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