8.07.2013

Frozen Strawberries and Cream Bars


I scream, you scream, we all scream for frozen strawberries and cream bars!


The reason that we're not screaming for actual ice cream is because I do not own an ice cream maker. So while all the other bloggers out there are coming up with fancy ice cream flavors, I'm over here trying to come up with no-ice-cream-maker-required treats for you and I to enjoy. I think I'm doing a good job so far.

Two months ago (wow, does time fly!), I shared with you guys this strawberry banana ice cream which I think you guys enjoyed quite a bit, mostly because of it's simplicity and guilt-free-ness. Well, today, we're kicking the skill level up a notch and adding a whole lot more ingredients that won't be so friendly to your waistline...but they'll be worth it.


There's two steps to making these bars. The first is making the outrageously delicious crust/topping. You do that by crushing some graham crackers and walnuts (or pecans) then adding melted butter, flour, and brown sugar, and baking it all together in the oven. So good. Crumb toppings are where it's at, always.

Then you mix together the "ice cream" part which is made out of sugar, egg whites, heavy cream, cream cheese, and a splash of lemon juice.  It comes together super easy, and after that you just layer the crumbs you baked in a pan, pour the filling on top, and then sprinkle on the rest of the crumbs. Then you wait, which is always the hardest part about making frozen desserts.


The second hardest part is then waiting again to cut into the frozen dessert after it freezes. But you know what? It's always worth it. Especially with these bars. They are something else. You know what they taste like? It just hit me. Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Bars. I swear they're twinsies. They've got the whole crunchy/creamy thing going on, plus lots of amazing strawberry flavor. I don't even usually like strawberries in my ice cream and I ALWAYS pick them out, but I really loved these.

And apparently my guests did too since these dissappeared faster than I could save a piece for my dad. Perfect excuse to make these again? I think so.

Frozen Strawberries and Cream Bars

Yield: 24 bars
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Ingredients:

For the crumb crust/topping:
4 graham cracker sheets
1/2 cup walnuts
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar

For the filling:
2 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
Juice of one medium lemon
2 cups strawberries, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse together graham cracker sheets and walnuts until finely ground. Pour mixture into a bowl. Then, add butter, flour, and brown sugar, and mix together with a fork until thoroughly combined.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the crumb mixture in an even layer on the sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring the crumbs halfway through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a bowl, using an electric hand mixer (or in a KitchenAid stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment), beat egg whites and sugar until frothy, about 3 minutes. Add heavy cream and beat for an additional 6 minutes. Then, add cream cheese and lemon juice, and mix until well-combined. Fold in chopped strawberries. 

Press half of the crumb mixture onto the bottom of prepared 9x13 inch pan. Spoon the cream filling over the crumb mixture. Then sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture on top of the filling.

Cover with aluminum foil and freeze for a minimum of 3 hours, best if overnight. Before serving, let sit out for 10-15 minutes to make it easier to cut into.

Adapted from Pip & Ebby
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