Thursday, June 11, 2009

Strawberry and Cream Bars- Betty Crocker

With a name like this it is no wonder my attention was snagged. I can't even remember now why I was on Betty's website, all I know is that this is a fabulous recipe and one that I will make time and time again. I'm always on the look out for a delicious strawberry recipe. What is summer without some fabulous strawberry desserts?

That being said I have made this twice now and I found it took some finagling for me to get it just how I wanted it. It was delicious the first time around but I loved it even more once I made a couple of small modifications. I made this most recently for a family BBQ we had. Everyone really seemed to enjoy it.

Strawberry and Cream Bars- Betty Crocker
Strawberry and Cream Bars- Slightly modified

1 pouch Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 egg
1 c. white vanilla baking chips (6 oz)
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
4 c. sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 c. water
1 3 ounce box of strawberry gelatin

Heat oven to 350 F. Spray bottom only of a 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. Press evenly in bottom of pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

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

In small bowl, crush 1 cup of the strawberries. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Stir in crushed strawberries, 1/3 cup water and strawberry gelatin. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Cool 10 minutes. Gently stir in remaining 3 cups strawberries. Spoon topping over filling. Refrigerate 1 hour or until set; serve within 4 hours. Store covered in refrigerator. (see note below)

The key to having this desert be perfect is getting the base cooked just right. The first time I made this the base was perfect. Soft and slightly chewy. The second time I made this, I was in a hurry and I'm not sure if I slightly overcooked the base or if by throwing it in the freezer to firm up the cookie base got hard. Either way be sure not to overcook the base and I don't suggest cutting corners and putting this in the freezer to firm up. I also suggest letting this dessert come close to room temperature before serving it.