Strawberry Bar Cookies

This month is flying by. We have had friends from California visiting and so much going on that I have really been in a baking mood. There is a book series by Joanne Fluke called the Hannah Swenson Mysteries. They all have desserts in the title and each book centers around the Swenson sisters who run The Cookie Jar in a small town. These little mysteries are easy reading and have recipes at the end of most chapters. The current book I am reading is the Raspberry Danish Murder.

The recipes are absolutely great. Last night I made the recipe called Sweet & Salty Strawberry Bar Cookies. I substituted Apricot jam as I didn’t have any strawberry jam in the house and didn’t want to run to the store at 8 p.m. Trust me on this, they apricot was wonderful. Am going to make the Butterscotch Marshmallow Bar Cookies next. The ladies who had them this morning at our house loved the Apricot Bar Cookies. So if you are not in the mood for a murder mystery which centers around food, here is the recipe.

The Crust & Topping

2 cups salted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teas vanilla
4 cups all purpose flour

(I actually halved this recipe for last night in case it wasn’t what I thought it would be and it turned out really good.) So will make the full version next time.

Strawberry or (Apricot) Filling

11.75 oz jar strawberry topping or preserves ( used an 11.5 oz jar of apricot preserves and it was fine)
1 cup white chocolate or vanilla chips
2 tables whipping cream
1 tesas vanilla 2 teas sea or other salt (the coast ground kind (I didn’t even use the salt)

Spray a 9×13 pan with Pam.
Using a hand electric mixer, combine the softened butter, granulated sugar and powdered sugar. Beat on medium until mixture is light and creamy. Add the vanilla. Mix it in until well combined. Add the flour inhale-cup increments, beating at Low speed after each addition. Beat until mixture is well combined.
The dough will appear soft, that is how it should be.

Remove a generous cup of this dough and wrap it in Saran Wrap and place in fridge for about 30 minutes to chill. You will use this chilled dough to crumble on top of the preserves.

Using remaining dough, place in greased baking pan and using your fingertips, evenly spread in the pan, pressing all the way to the edges. Bake this crust in preheated 325 oven for about 20 minutes.

While crust is baking, take your preserves and empty them out in a microwave safe bowl. Add the vanilla chips and whipping cream to the preserves and cook in microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir mixture and place back in microwave in 20 second intervals to melt chips. When crust comes out of oven, allow to cool about 15 minutes before pouring the preserves over it. When chips are melted, add the vanilla and stir.

Pour the preserve mixture over the crust. Next sprinkle the salt over the fruit then Crumble the chilled dough over the preserves and place back in 325 degree oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown.

Remove from oven and place pan on wire rack to cool completely. Do not cut until they are cool as the filling will need to set. Cut in brownie size pieces.

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