Thursday, January 27, 2011

"S" is for Strawberry Streusel Bars

I've been thinking about "S" week for quite awhile, actually.  I had someone in mind to be our recipient but just hadn't mentioned it to her yet.  I even had the chance to say something to her about it earlier in the week when I saw her, but something in me just wanted to wait.  I just wasn't sure. 

I browsed once again through our church directory and a different name seemed to leap off one of the pages to me.  A sweet homeschooling mom of seven kids (oldest of which is nearly as old as me, youngest is nine), precious, quiet, humble lady.  I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of her before.  I called her and explained what we were doing and asked if we could bring her a treat to church last night.  I could hear her delight in her voice.  She almost sounded like she was going to cry at one point.  Tears of happiness.  

Annika and I got right to work making these bars.  They're very easy.  The base is just a lovely sugar cookie dough...baked in a bar form.  I loved the texture of it....and might sometime just make it by itself!  Lots easier than rolling out sugar cookies.  I loved the strawberry layer, simple and fruity.  The topping, I don't know.  Mine did not turn out like Sweet Kat's did....that's for sure.  Her's looked crumbly and beautiful....mine stayed flat and refused to get browned at all until I turned on the broiler for a couple of minutes and nearly burnt it.  
I think I would prefer a streusel topping with oats and brown sugar, a little flour and softened butter.  But maybe that's just me.  Anyways, these did turn out yummy and so simple to make.

When we delivered them to our friend, she said that she had been having a rough day and hearing from me just turned it all around for her.  She was so blessed.  Not to mention glad that her name starts with "S".  

It felt really good to make someone so happy by such a small gesture.....never underestimate the power of giving!

Recipe: (from Sweet Kat's Kitchen)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 (10 oz) jar strawberry preserves (or desired flavor)

1 cup flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter, cold

Preheat oven to 350°.
With an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add egg and mix well. Gradually stir in flour until well combined.  
Press the mixture into a buttered 13 x 9" pan.  I found it helped to put a bit of flour on my fingers to press it in; the dough is very sticky.
Put the preserves into a microwave-safe bowl and heat until nearly melted.  Spread over base.
For topping, combine ingredients until crumbly using a pastry blender or two forks.  Sprinkle evenly over preserves.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until top is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes about 24 bars.  

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