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Strawberry-Lemon Shortbread Bars

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell
Hands-On time 20 mins
Total time 8 hrs, 8 mins
Yield Makes 4 dozen
Bar cookies go glam in this sweet-tart shortbread bar treat. Cut the bars into single-serving sizes and top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sliced strawberry for top-notch presentation.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon zest, divided
  • 3/4 cup cold butter
  • 2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup strawberry preserves
  • Garnishes: sweetened whipped cream, fresh strawberry slices

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together flour, powdered sugar, and 1/2 tsp. lemon zest in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Press mixture onto bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan.

  2. Bake at 350° for 20 to 22 minutes or until lightly browned.

  3. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat just until blended after each addition. Stir in fresh lemon juice and remaining 1/4 tsp. lemon zest, beating well.

  4. Spread preserves over shortbread. Pour cream cheese mixture over preserves, spreading to edges. Bake 28 to 32 more minutes or until set. Let cool 1 hour on a wire rack. Cover and chill 4 to 8 hours. Cut into bars; garnish, if desired.

Cook's Notes

Refrigerate leftovers. Store them in an airtight container up to 2 days.