Thursday, June 30, 2011

Strawberries & Cream Dessert Squares

Strawberries & Cream Squares 2

I adore strawberries. I think it's one of those fruits that's right on the top of most peoples "favorite fruit" lists.

Red and juicy, they just scream summer to me.

I can sit and eat a bowl full plain, just chopped up and naked.

I've been known to sprinkle a little confectioners sugar over them and throw them over ice cream.

I chop them up finely and add them into yogurt.

I've picked them by the bushel full and canned up jars of jam.

I just love them.

One of my most favorite ways to eat them is in a scrumptious dessert and this one certainly qualifies.

Strawberries & Cream Squares 1

A shortbread cookie on the bottom.....a layer of cream cheese and white chocolate in the middle, topped with crushed and sliced strawberries in a sweet juicy jam sauce. It just doesn't get much better.

I served this for Father's Day. I had to hurry and cut out a slice to photograph before it was all gone.

Don't over bake your sugar cookie layer. Take it out just as it starts to turn slightly light golden brown or your cookie will be too hard to cut. I've learned this little trick from experience.

Strawberries & Cream Squares

You could turn this into a red, white and blue dessert by adding in a few blueberries.

Strawberries & Cream Dessert Squares
recipe from Better Crocker
For the crust:
1 pouch (1lb, 1.5oz) Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
½ cup butter, softened
1 egg

For the Filling:
1 cup white vanilla baking chips (6oz) - I could not find a package of chips that specified that they were vanilla. I used Ghiradelli white chips.
1 8oz package cream cheese softened

For the topping:
4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/3 cup water
10 to 12 drops of red food coloring (optional)

Oven to 350. Spray the bottom only of a 15x10x1 or a 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray. (I used a 9x13). In a large bowl stir together the cookie mix, butter and egg until a soft dough forms. Press evenly in the bottom of the pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely (about 30 mins)

In a small microwavable bowl, microwave the baking chips uncovered on high 45 to 60 seconds or until chips are melted and can be stirred smooth. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in the melted chips and blend. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust. Refrigerate while making topping.

In a small bowl crush 1 cup of the strawberries. In a 2 quart saucepan, mix the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the crushed strawberries and 1/3 cup of water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. It should be like a really thick jam. Stir in food coloring if desired. I thought I would skip this step, but the color of the berries when they were cooked was a really pale pink, so I added in just a few drop of red to perk it up. Gently stir in the remaining 3 cups of strawberries. Spoon topping over filling. Refrigerate 1 hour or until set. Serve within 4 hours. I have no idea how they came up with the 4 hour time limit, but I suppose the berries would start to make the bottom a bit soggy. Store leftovers in fridge.
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