Thursday, August 20, 2015

Strawberry Bars

Wow.  It's been quite some time since I have been on here.  My life has been in a constant state of rush here-rush there-rush everywhere since mid-March.  You see, I worked two jobs.  Well, I have worked two jobs for nine years now (and before that, I worked three part time jobs - you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes).  I have my own business that has always been somewhat in the background while my "day job" took up most of my time.  But my allowing my business to be the sole source of income for me has been a dream long time comin.  Finally, after nine years, I put in my notice, took the leap, and haven't looked back.  Now, I am normally a person who panics at every opportunity and I had been nervous about putting in my notice and taking that first step but once I did, I had this calm settle over me.  I knew this was where I was meant to be.  My entire working life had been working up to that moment.  It's been almost three weeks now that I have been self-employed and it is AMAZING.  I cannot tell you enough about how much better I feel.  I am not as stressed out, working 100+ hours each week is no longer required.  I am telling all you folks out there who are thinking about taking that leap... do it.  There will never be a time where you feel 100% okay with quitting a regular job and going after a job you love, but if its meant to be, it will be.

Just like the marriage of these bars.  Similar to a lemon bar - but in strawberry form.  Let's be honest, strawberries make everything better.  They are sweet but tangy, soft yet firm.  I honestly don't know why in the world no one else has figured this out!  I changed up the original recipe somewhat because I wanted chunks of strawberries in my bars.  I love having some of those delectable berries to bite into when I eat them.  And when those berries come fresh from a strawberry patch on a nearby farm... well I am sure you can understand why you want them a little chunky!  I just took my handy-dandy potato masher and went to town on those berries!  (If you want a smooth, more-like-lemon-bar-type bars, puree the berries in a blender.)  Strawberry season is over in our neck of the woods but I still find myself dreaming of these bars - they will be making a regular appearance at my house every summer for the rest of my days.

Strawberry Bars
adapted from A Spicy Perspective

1 stick Unsalted Butter, softened (1/2 cup)
1/3 c. Powdered Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 c. All-Purpose Flour

1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
3 Egg Yolks
1 c. Mashed Strawberries (or Pureed)
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp. Salt

Preheat the oven to 350.
Line a 8x11 pan with parchment paper, allowing the edges to hang over.
Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy and well-blended.
Add in your salt and flour and mix into your butter-sugar mixture until incorporated.
Press evenly down into the bottom of your pan using your fingertips (dipped in cold water) or another small piece of parchment.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Mash the strawberries with a potato masher (or blend in a blender to get a smooth consistency).
Mix in the egg yolks, condensed milk, lemon juice, and salt.
Pour over your warm crust.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the center is softer but not set.
Allow to cool at room temp.
Once completely cooled, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours.
To serve, sift some powdered sugar over the top of the bars and cut into squares.
(Keep any leftover bars in the fridge.  Also, the powdered sugar will be absorbed into the bars if left on longer than a couple of hours.)
Enjoy :-)

P. S.  My new job is as a pet sitter :-)  And I LOVE it!