Strawberry Shortcake Bars

Strawberry Shortcake Bars

Strawberry Shortcake Bars, Bakerita by Rachel Conners with Mary Goodbody.

Bakerita

Rachel Conners began her blog as a hobby to share baking recipes with friends, but when she started to focus more on gluten-free, paleo, and vegan recipes to make things she could share with her sister, who was following a strict diet due to health concerns, Rachel quickly realized she was onto something. Bakerita surged in popularity as fans flocked to it for delicious and beautifully photographed recipes.

Interest in gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar–free foods continues to grow in popularity, yet there are remarkably few books available focused just on desserts, and even fewer with recipes that even beginner bakers can make at home.

That’s where Bakerita comes in, offering recipes for everything from breakfast treats like Lavender-Lemon Raspberry Scones, pies and tarts such as Chocolate Mousse Pie, cakes including Mocha Chip Cheesecake, and updated all-time favourites like chocolate chip cookies and strawberry shortcake bars, all made without any hard-to-find ingredients.

Bakerita: 100+ No-Fuss Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free Recipes for the Modern Baker is available at Amazon.com and Indigo.ca.


Strawberry Shortcake Bars

PALEO, GRAIN-FREE, VEGAN, NO-BAKE, GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE

This is one of the first cashew-based desserts I ever made (clearly the plumber of cashew-centric recipes in this book, I’m a big fan now). It helped me fall in love with the creamy texture and luxurious flavours that can be created with raw cashews, without any baking necessary. The flavours here closely mimic the mouthwatering flavours of the other Strawberry Shortcakes in this book, but as a no-baking-necessary, refreshing bar dessert. On a hot summer day, there’s nothing better than grabbing one out of the freezer to help cool you down!

Prep time: 20 minutes
Chill time: 3 hours
Total time: about 3 hours
Yield: 16 bars

2 cups (240g) raw cashews

FOR THE CRUST

¾ cup (90g) raw cashews

¼ cup (24g) blanched almond flour

4 Medjool dates, pitted

2 tablespoons refined coconut oil

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

FOR THE FILLING

½ cup canned full-fat coconut milk

¼ cup (50g) refined coconut oil, melted and cooled

1/3 cup (113g) pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, or ¾ teaspoon vanilla bean powder

2 cups hulled and halved fresh or frozen strawberries

BEFORE you begin, soak the cashews for the filling. Put the 2 cups cashews in a large bowl and add enough water to cover by 1 or 2 inches. I prefer to use filtered water but tap water is also fine. Let the cashews soak for at least 4 hours on the countertop. If soaking longer, refrigerate for up to 12 hours. If you don’t have time for the longer soak, cover the cashews with boiling water and let them soak for I hour. This speeds up the process, although the nuts won’t be as creamy as after a longer soak. Drain and rinse the cashews before using.

LINE an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and grease well with coconut oil.

FOR THE CRUST: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade or a high-powered blender (I use a Vitamix but most powerful blenders should do the job), mix the % cup raw cashews (not the soaked nuts) with the almond flour, pitted dates, coconut oil, and salt and pulse until the ingredients come together in a sort of sticky dough. Don’t overprocess or the dough will turn into nut butter! Press the date dough evenly along the bottom of the prepared pan.

FOR THE FILLING: In the same food processor or high-powered blender, combine the drained cashews, coconut milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla and blend until silky smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl or blender as necessary. You may need to add more coconut milk or lemon juice to get the filling to blend smoothly, especially if your blender isn’t super high powered. Once it’s smooth, taste the filling and adjust the sweetness and tartness levels, if desired.

POUR the filling into the prepared pan over the crust. Smooth the top and tap the pan hard against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Press the strawberry halves into the bars as desired. I like putting them cut side up.

REFRIGERATE or freeze the shortcake bars for at least 3 to 6 hours to give it time to firm up. It should be completely firm before cutting. I recommend running the knife under hot water to warm it up and drying it before cutting the bars with the still-hot knife. If frozen, let the bars thaw at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Well-wrapped, the bars can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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