Strawberry picking and Strawberry Lemonade Bars

The weather here in Pittsburgh has been absolutely perfect and last week I took my daughter strawberry picking at Simmons Farm.  

We had a great time, although I think my helper ate more berries than she picked!

We had such a fun time and got lots of berries!

We've been snacking on them all week long but I still had lots left over so I wanted to make a sweet treat with the remainders - Strawberry Lemonade Bars!

The recipe calls for 12 ounces of strawberry preserves.  You can certainly buy a jar of preserves and use that, but since I had so many berries, I made this quick and super simple homemade jam. The recipe makes a little more than what you need to make the bars, but thats not a bad thing!  You can keep it in the refrigerator for toast the next morning.

This recipe is a great base for any kind of fruit bar.  You could substitute blueberries, apples, lemon, raspberries, blackberries....just about any kind of fruit jam!

Strawberry Lemonade Bars


For the Fresh Strawberry Jam (can be made ahead of time)

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 cups of fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

For the Bars

  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (divided)
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4-6 tablespoons cold water
  • 12 ounces strawberry preserves
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries,hulled and coarsely chopped


For the Jam

Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the strawberries and continue to cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes, until the strawberries release some of their juices and the mixture boils slowly. Cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate. (I keep one in the freezer.) Pour carefully into 2 pint canning jars, seal, and keep refrigerated.

For the Bars

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Butter a 9 x 13 inch non-stick cake pan  or spray with cooking spray.  Place a piece of parchment paper inside the cake pan so that some paper hangs over the edges.

In the base of a food processor, combine 3/4 cup of oats, flour, sugars, and salt until coarsely ground.  Add the butter and vanilla and pulse to create a crumb.  Gradually add in water and pulse until a dough forms.

Dump the dough into a large bowl. Divide the dough in half.  Press half of the dough into the prepared pan. Place in the oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool slightly.  Crumble the rest of the oatmeal-shortbread dough into a mixing bowl and fold in remaining 1/4 cup of whole oats. Set aside.

Meanwhile, make the strawberry-lemonade filling.  In a medium bowl, mix to combine the strawberry preserves, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add the strawberries and stir to combine. Set aside. 

Spread the strawberry-lemonade filling onto the baked crust.  Sprinkle remaining dough-oat mixture on top of the filling.  Place in the oven to bake until golden brown on top, about 25-30 minutes. 

Remove and let cool completely.  The bars will set up as they cool.   Use the parchment paper to help lift the bars out of the baking pan.  Cut into squares and serve.  Makes 12 squares.