Jammin’ Strawberry Bars

Jammin' Strawberry Bars
Seven year olds make great taste testers. “It exploded in my mouth!” Said Davis Hampton, a second grader at Fairmont Elementary School. This was his action packed description of the recipe below (I hope he was talking about the flavor, not an actual explosion)! You can take this recipe and change the flavor of the cake mix and preserves to make any combination you prefer. Davis’ favorite flavor was made with butter flavor cake mix and orange marmalade. You can even make them taste like PBJ sandwiches by using the butter crust, peanut butter, and grape jelly. “Big” kids like them too. Doc’s favorite is butter crust with Raspberry jelly. It tastes like a linzertorte.
Ooh the possibilities…

Jammin’ Strawberry Bars

1 package Strawberry Cake mix
1 stick melted butter
2 large egg yolks

1 1/2 cups Strawberry preserves

2 large egg whites at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13 X 9 inch metal pan with non-stick foil. Use enough foil to overhang and make handles over the sides of the pan for easy removal after baking.

In a large mixing bowl place the cake mix, melted butter and egg yolks. Using an electric mixer, mix on low speed for one minute then scrape the sides of the bowl. Pour the mixture (it will be crumbly) into the baking pan and then press in the pan in an even layer with a rubber spatula. Bake on 350 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside. Leave oven on. While the crust is cooling make the meringue.

In another clean mixing bowl with clean wire whisk beaters beat the egg whites on high speed until frothy (about one minute). Turn the mixer off then add 1/4 cup of the sugar. Turn mixer back on and continue beating on high speed for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the other 1/4 cup of sugar and beat for 3 to 4 more minutes until the meringue holds stiff peaks. Taste. If you still taste grains of sugar continue beating for one minute more. Set aside.

With a rubber spatula spread the strawberry preserves on the cooled crust. With a different clean spatula, gently spread the meringue on top of the preserves without mixing the two. Bake for 25 to 27 minutes or until the meringue just starts to brown. Cool completely before covering. Bars cut easier if they are allowed to cool overnight. Remove from pan using foil handles. Cut into 48 bite size pieces or 24 bars. The bars will keep for one week at room temperature.

Published in The News and Neighbor on December 22, 2012

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