Strawberry Cookie Bars

16bBarsBucketBestbfLOHere is a tasty cookie that you can make as easy or as complicated as you like – and the best part is, even the complicated option is pretty darned easy!

You could, for instance, take the easy way and use sugar cookie dough from the market and a jar of strawberry jam (easy).

Or. You could go all Pillsbury and make a very nice strawberry jam with red wine and sugar cookie dough from the market – still pretty darned easy.

17aThreeBarsbfLOOr. You could just go whole BuzzyFoods and make it all from scratch – which is about as hard as three pans, a roll of parchment paper, and a bit of time.

I think you know how I rolled…

•1 lb strawberries (about 3 cups), chopped
•1/2 cup red wine (I used Côtes du Rhône)
•1/4 cup sugar
•1/2 tsp vanilla

Cookie Dough:
•3 cups flour
•3/4 tsp baking powder
•1/4 tsp salt
•Zest of 1 lemon
•1 cup unsalted butter, softened
•1 cup sugar
•1 egg, beaten
•1 tbsp milk
•1 tbsp vanilla
05BerriesMashbfLO•Zest of 1 lemon

Add the berries to a large sauté pan with the sugar, the vanilla, and the red wine – my bucket of berries yielded a kind of scant 2-1/2 cups, so I added 8 strawberry ice cubes (left over from a batch of Limoncello Cocktails).

Heat to boiling, then reduce the flame and simmer, stirring often, until the mixture thickens nicely – about seven minutes for me.

06ButterSugarCreamedbfLOLightly mash the berries with the back of a spoon and set aside to cool.

Heat oven to 375°.

Whisk the flour together with the baking powder, the salt, and the lemon zest in a medium bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter together with the sugar in a large mixing bowl until it is light and a little bit fluffy.

09DoughReadybfLOAdd the egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat to blend well.

Set the mixer on low and add the flour mixture in bits – I used a 1/4 cup measure.

Continue mixing on low until all the flour is incorporated and the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl.

12JamSpreadbfLORemove from the mixing bowl, shape into a log and divide the dough into thirds.

Line a 13×9 baking pan with parchment paper (sorry, there is no choice about this step – don’t cheap out and just try to grease the pan – buy the parchment).

Gather 2/3 of the dough together and roll out in a rectangle. Place the rectangle of dough on the parchment paper and lightly flatten, nudge, and/or stretch the dough to fit the pan.

13StrawberryBarsBakedbfLOSpread the cooled jam evenly over the dough, then crumble the remaining 1/3 dough evenly over the top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until it is all this lovely golden brown.

Note: My oven is supposedly correctly calibrated, but mine were more than ready at about 16 minutes, so do keep an eye on them, base baking time on your actual oven experience, and don’t buy my oven brand. I am counting the days until I can replace all the kitchen appliances around about here.

15BarsCutbfLOIrregardless of uppity ovens, allow your nicely baked sheet of cookies to cool on a rack, then stash it in the fridge (don’t even get me started about my fridge) for two hours or so to firm up the jam.

Remove the sheet of cookies from the pan (the parchment makes this a snap) and cut into squares – I used the mezzaluna I bought for cutting ‘Za, and it worked a treat.

I ended up with about two dozen fine bars of strawberry jam cookies, which taste just a little bit like a strawberry Newton; which has me thinkin’ mebbe trying to make them with some figs and bourbon for the holidays? We shall see…

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