5.31.2012

tastes of summer

Some foods just go together. Grilled cheese and tomato soup, creamed butter and sugar, garlic and caramelized onions… for me, I'm addicted to raspberry and lemon. So when I saw these bars last year, I knew I had to make them. A little less than a year later and I finally made the recipe. 

Tangy, vibrant, subtly sweet with a rich, buttery crust. These raspberry lemonade bars are the perfect summer dessert. They're a little bit more dense than your typical lemon bar which makes them even more baker friendly! Easy to cut and they have a GORGEOUS vibrant color. Dust them with powdered sugar if you want but I actually like them better without. Also, DO NOT BAKE THESE IN A METAL DISH. Metal and citrus don't' mix well… it gives it a weird metallic-y flavor, no good. 

Looking for something to make on The 4th of July? These are the perfect backyard party treat to bring! See my improv suggestions below to make it even more patriotic for the 4th!



raspberry lemonade bars
adapted from sophistimom

ingredients:

for the crust:
9 T. (1 stick + 1 T.) butter
¼ c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 t. vanilla extract
pinch of salt

for the filling:
12 oz (heaping 2 c.) frozen raspberries thawed
¾ c. sugar
c. lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
2 T. lemon zest (3 lemons worth)
3 egg whites
1 egg
c. flour
pinch of salt

optional:
powdered sugar for dusting on top

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper so you can easily lift the bars out once they've cooled. If you don't have an 8x8 that's ok. I did this in a smaller rectangular pan too and they turned out just fine. You may have to adjust the baking times depending on the size.

To make the crust:
Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer, then add in vanilla. Add flour until just incorporated. Dump dough in baking pan and press with your hands until it evenly covers the bottom of the dish. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until slightly golden brown. 

To make the filling:
If you, like me didn't have enough time for the raspberries to thaw on their own, place in microwave for 1 minute to soften them up. Then put in a fine mesh sieve and press the berries through (this removes the seeds) into a large bowl. If you don't mind seeds, you can add them in whole. Or if you don't have a sieve, you can blend them up in a food processor or blender. Add sugar, egg whites, egg, lemon juice + zest, flour, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the crust (don't worry, it's a very loose mixture, it will thicken) and bake for 25 - 30 minutes depending on your oven and the sized baking dish you use. 

Let cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for 4 hours (or until they've cooled completely). You can place them in the freezer if you need them sooner but refrigerator is best. If you let them cool overnight, they're even better! 

improv style:
i prefer my bars with a good amount of tartness. if you have a sweet tooth, consider increasing up to 1½ c. sugar.

there's TONS of possibilities to change this recipe up! strawberry lemonade bars anyone?! you could make this a fun 4th of july treat by doing blueberry lemon and strawberry lemon bars (red, white - crust, and blue!). i'm going to show you how i improv'd these bars tomorrow but here are some combinations to consider:

• cherry lime
• blackberry lime (coming in tomorrow's post)
• strawberry orange (use less sugar)
• grapefruit bars
• blueberry lemon
• strawberry lemon






92 comments:

  1. These look so good and I can't wait to make them (along with the other combinations you listed)!

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    1. you'll have to let me know which combination ends up being your favorite! thanks for stopping by :)

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    1. thanks angie :) i couldn't agree more!

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  3. oh My!! this is a treat I am looking forward to make.. thanks for the recipe.

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    1. thanks for stopping by! i hope you enjoy them as much as i did :)

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  4. do you have to store them in the refrigerator as well or can you leave them at room temperature? Thanks, cant wait to try them!

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    1. yes, make sure you store them in the refrigerator! they'll be fine for a few hours at a party but they're best right out of the refrigerator!

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  5. has any tried with a graham cracker crust?

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    1. you could definitely try making them with a grahm cracker crust. i'm sure that would be fantastic. i'm not a huge fan of grahm crackers so i'm always looking for crust alternatives. i bet the panko coconut crust i did for my key lime pie would be delicious too! if you make it with a different crust, let me know how it turns out! great idea!

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  6. Hello! I made this recipe earlier this week, only instead of using just one type of berry, I mixed raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. It came out a lovely purple color and tasted great. I did use an 8x8 pan, and it took considerably longer than the listed time here to cook all the way through, close to an hour. I think next time, I'll try it in a 9x13, because I tend to prefer my bars to be thinner.

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  7. I made these last week the day I went into labor. I was craving lemon and raspberry flavored food and drink the whole last month! A week later, and post baby, they actually taste better, if possible. I think these are best a couple days old (although I didn't really get to eat them right away since we were at the hospital!). Thanks for the recipe!!!!!

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    1. im so glad you liked them emi! congrats on your new addition - SO EXCITING!!! i agree, the bars are fantastic days later. it's such a forgiving recipe!

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  8. Mmmmmm! These look so yummy! I use a very similar crust for a lot of things, but the filling is just great! I want to try it with rasberries and blackberries:]]]

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  9. Just made these with a few changes - strawberries instead of raspberries, quinoa flour, earth balance. My strawberry lemonade bars are beautiful, delicious, dairy free, soy free, and gluten free. Yum! Thanks for the jumping off point.

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    1. so great! thanks for sharing your improv's!

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  10. I agree with you: desserts are better when you combine tart and sweet. And raspberries are one of the best tart fruits I can think of! And just look at that gorgeous color! Wonderful recipe :-)
    I found this post though Pinterest. The photo was so beautiful that I just had to come here to read the recipe! And I am so glad I stopped by - love your site!
    I would like to invite you to share your recipes on a new photo based recipe sharing site that launched in May. The idea is simple: all photographs are published within minutes of submission. And, of course, the images link back to the author's site.It's called RecipeNewZ (with Z) - http://recipenewz.com
    Hundreds of bloggers have already joined. I hope you too get a chance to visit and try it out. It would be a pleasure to have you on board :-)

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    1. thanks! i'll be sure to check out your site! i'm glad you love the blog. it's always so nice to hear positive feedback :)

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  11. I'm making these right now, the cook time suggested for final cook was a bit short (I think) for my oven, though as the middle is still jiggly. I'm hoping that means it's not cooked through and not the way it's supposed to be? Being that there's no explanation of what it should look like when done, I'm assuming that, since there are eggs in the mix, one would want it to not jiggle when cooked through...They smell heavenly! Can't wait to serve them tomorrow :) Thank you for the post...I've shared via Pinterest.

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    1. every oven is different. i just made these at my future in-laws and it took 20 more minutes than at my house. it all depends on your oven and the size/type of dish you use. you'll want it to giggle slightly (think a little stiffer than jello). but if it wobbles like crazy, you know you still have some cook time left.

      thanks for sharing the love on pintrest and thanks for stopping by!

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  12. Just have to say, I made these yesterday for my brothers and they are absolutely amazing! I will definitely be making these again. And I love how easy they were!

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  13. Made these today for the 4th, they were great. Thank you!

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  14. I did make these for the 4th. Mine turned out a little more pinkish than red - not sure why...they were very tasty. I may have added more raspberries than needed, as I went with fresh raspberries and were concerned I didn't have enough after I tossed out the seeds. I also had to bake for closer to 40 minutes.

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    1. pink sounds pretty! i'm not sure why either, probably just the color of the raspberries. baking time totally varies depending on the size of the dish/type and on the oven.

      thanks for the comment and for stopping by!

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  15. I made these today but didn't have any lemons. What I did have was pink lemonade so I substituted and added less sugar. They are baking right now. I'll let you know how they turn out! Thanks!!!

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    1. WOW! that is some awesome improv thinking :) do share with us how they turned out!

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  16. Ahhh Appears to be awesome and tasty, well i don't have skill to give things a try, but i'll think about this one..!

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  17. I made these for a bake-off at work last week, and took second place! Instead of just raspberry-lemonade, I made them raspberry-strawberry lemonade, and they turned out a nice bright pink. They were such a hit! I can't wait to try more. :)

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    1. woop woop! love your improv and so happy it got you a 2nd place!!! thanks for sharing!

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  18. Saw these on pinterest and was HOOKED!! I'm making them tomorrow! That color is fabulous, and I have a bag of raspberries just waiting to be used! I love all the variation idea too, have to try grapefruit next.
    Your Newest Fan,
    April

    Dimplesanddelights.blogspot.com
    PS- I LOVE your photography!

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  19. Hmm could I use fresh raspberries instead of frozen?

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  20. I'm making these right now, strawberry lemon, and for the crust i added 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg. It smells amazing in the oven.

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    1. I also added 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract to the filling with a pinch of ground ginger and a small pinch of nutmeg to add depth to the flavor. I'll let you know how it tastes tomorrow. :-D

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    2. I completely forgot to update, but the bars were a massive hit. The guest of honor devoured them and demanded the recipe.

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  21. I really wana thank you for providing such informative and qualitative material so often.
    payday advance

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  22. These look so yummy. Im a huge fan of a berry and citrus combo. I think I'm going to try these and let it set up overnight and then add another fruit on top and let it sit again to setup. Have you tried this? almost like a trifle bar??

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  23. These are cooking as we speak I used the raspberries and grapes along with the lemons. I will have a report soon and although its not summer thanksgiving is an awesome time to cook these beautiful looking bars

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  24. Makes me dream about the warm days of summer... Happy new year by the way!

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  25. these bars are just beautiful! I came across them on pinterest! I have now made them five ways from Sunday! I like to blend the fruit then press through fine sieve. I had a lot of summer fruit that I prepped and froze myself and it worked fabulously. however, my fave one I made was classic raspberry with a decoction of lemon balm. I have some lemon balm in a pot and just did 1 cup mashed leaves and 1 cup boiling water til it turned nice and pale yellow, about 10 mins. I topped the bars with lemon zest. they were awesome! Thanks so much for a beautiful recipe for anytime of the year!! I love how versatile it is!

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  27. i'm from Slovenia (country in Europe between Croatia, Austria, Italy and Hungary) and i thought i would have problem with the measures cuz we don't use the same, but i managed to translate them and i made these today and they are soooo goood :)

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  29. This recipe looks incredible and I am really looking forward to trying to recreate the magic :) What is your opinion on substitution in this recipe if I cannot use butter, would you suggest substituting shortening or margarine?

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  30. I LOVE lemon + raspberry! I look forward to making these this spring!

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  31. I can't wait to try these! I came across the picture on Pinterest, and it immediately caught my attention. Props to the photographer! I'm planning on trying the raspberry first. Murfreesboro, TN :-)

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  32. I will try to do them and I think that instead of raspberries I'll use passion fruit (frozen). Maybe even both.

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    1. sounds AMAZING - send me some?! let me know how it turns out! thanks for the idea.

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  33. My daughter and I made these today for a family get-together. They were a hit. Fabulous recipe!!! We'll have to try some of the other combinations. Thank you

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    1. thanks desiree - so glad you guys liked them!

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  34. Made these with a cake mix crust. Delicious!

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    1. that's a great improv idea - thanks for sharing!

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  35. Yes Please!
    I think I will try these this week.

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  36. Do you drain the raspberries before passing through the sieve or keep the juice?

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    1. yes, definitely keep the juice! that's just raspberry flavor/goodness!

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  37. The knowledge on your website never confuses me Ur Hun Tips And Tricks

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  38. I made these last night (so they would sit in the fridge overnight to chill), and there was a lot of oil run-off in the bottom of the pan. The dough was entirely too wet and was more butter than anything. I looked up the original recipe, and it looks as though you've cut down on a cup of flour in the crust.

    The filling taste DELICIOUS though, almost like a raspberry cheesecake but no dairy (which is fabulous because I've a friend who can't eat dairy).

    I'm going to try them again in a couple weeks, but I'm going to use a biscuit base (possibly a chocolate biscuit base). That way I can cut way down on the butter. :)

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    1. Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear that the crust didn't turn out for you. It's very strange because I've never had a problem with them. I double checked and the measurements on the crust recipe are actually identical to the recipe posted here. Maybe something got flopped around when you were baking them?!

      Love the idea of a biscuit base but you might want to keep the components separate. A biscuit would most likely be too absorbant of a dough to hold up as a bar. Although I'm sure it would make an interesting crumble type of bar! If you try it, please let me know how it turns out!

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  39. These look wonderful, but would they keep 2 weeks in the freezer?

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    1. I've never frozen them Elizabeth but I'd be very curious how they hold up. If you do, please let me know!

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  40. have some in the oven right now, hope they turn out as good as yours!

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  41. I made these yesterday for the 4th of July, and they were a big hit! Thank you so much for the post :)

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  42. Hello I have a question when you put 9T for the butter does the T stand for tablespoon?


    Thanks I'm on my way to the grocery store to get the ingredients =-)

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    1. Hi Oscar, sorry it took me so long to write you back. Yes, 9T = tablespoon. Hope they turned out great!

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  43. Have you ever put these in the freezer to eat later on?

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    1. I haven't but if you do, let me know how they work!

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  44. Fantastic learning guys! I’m a die heart fan of your respective blog site.
    Click CIAM Link

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  45. Looks too delicious ...can i use pineapple ...or banana ..?

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  46. Hi I would to to make this recipe it looks soo good...bt I dnt understand how much butter I need..? I dnt kno wat T stands for is it teaspoons table spoons or I dnt kno sorry

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    1. T. is Tablespoons and t. is teaspoons.

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  47. Making this right now. For Easter Sunday Let you know

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  48. Hey Improv,

    I have just found your post here for these amazing bars. I hope to be making them this week.

    All this time later, which combo do you feel is your personal favorite? I wanna try the raspberry lemonade combo, but think I would like to try another as well.

    Thanks for the recipes and ideas.

    -GreyStreet

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    1. raspberry lemonade are definitely my favorite as i'm quite the sucker for that combo. i also really enjoy doing a lemon + thyme infused combination - it's a little adventurous for some but i love combining herbs into desserts. hope you love them as much as me!

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  49. I tried making these because they looked really good, but the filling was really soupy even after hours of cooling!!

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