Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Roasted Strawberry Blondie Bars Balsamico

Rome wasn't built in a day, was it?

Someone really needs to remind me of this because I have been in crack-the-whip mode around here and I think I may be about to drive my husband to the point where he announces that he can no longer live with "the lady and all her crazy."

So, I had to force myself to chill out on Sunday.  I did not turn on the computer, none of us watched TV,  and I tried really hard not to think about my two-page list of tasks I would like to accomplish on this five acres before noon on such and such date. (Because the universe may explode if those particular tasks are not completed, you know.)  I even prepared most of my Sunday meal on Saturday so I wouldn't be in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove for too long.

And Sunday was nice.  Really nice.  Kind of like an old fashioned Sabbath except that I had to run to Dollar General to pick up some graduation cards, and spending money on the Sabbath probably wouldn't have gone over too well in the bible days.  But it was a start.

I think I'll try really hard on every Sunday to just relax, chill, visit, talk, and rest.  No TV.  No Computer.  No thinking about my lists.  (This will be a challenge.  My mind is notorious for wandering.)  I think somewhere I read that it was perfectly okay to do this once a week.  And I'm just gonna roll with that. 

One of the things I made on Saturday were these bars, because isn't it a sin or something not to have dessert after Sunday dinner?  I'm thinking yeah.  The bars themselves are chewy with chunks of strawberries baked in them. The balsamic vinegar is subtle, so no worries about an overwhelming vinegar taste in your blondies. It gives the bars a slight twang in a really good way.  I love the way the fruit is slightly tart with the sweet frosting. A really nice change from a brownie or traditional blondie.

So to recap, Sundays I shall be found resting and enjoying life and the people around me.

And hopefully I can keep my ox out of the ditch.

Here are my notes:

-I think the sliced almonds made this.  Be sure to toast them. It makes all the difference in the world.

-These were really delicious chilled in the fridge and easier to eat by hand.  Out of the fridge, they are a great dessert bar to be eaten with a fork.

-I didn't test with mascarpone cheese, I tested with cream cheese, which was delicious, but I really envision this with mascarpone cheese.

-I lined the pan with parchment paper sprayed well, and let the edges overhang to form handles so I could easily lift the bars out when they were cool.  I also made a second batch where I didn't line it with parchment paper, so it will work either way.  The parchment paper just makes it a little easier.

Roasted Strawberry Blondie Bars Balsamico

1 pound strawberries, chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup of butter, melted
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mascarpone frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
3 ounces mascarpone or cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup sliced, toasted almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss strawberries in a bowl with the balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons sugar; transfer berries and liquid to a large baking sheet and spread in a single layer.  Roast for 40 minutes, stirring every ten minutes.  

Meanwhile, spray an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, then line with parchment paper, letting about 4 to 5 inches overhang on two opposite sides to form handles so the bars can be lifted out later.  Spray parchment with nonstick cooking spray.  Whisk together the melted butter and dark brown sugar in a bowl.  Add the egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon almond extract and whisk until smooth.

Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt until combined.  When strawberries are done, stir them in along with the syrup just until evenly distributed.   Spread in pan evenly. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. 

While bars are cooling, make the frosting.  Beat 1/4 cup butter, the mascarpone or cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract until light and fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.  Remove cooled bars from pan by picking up the edges of the parchment paper and sliding to a cutting board.  Spread the frosting evenly over the top, then sprinkle with the almonds.  Keep refrigerated.

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  1. Gorgeous photos as usual Lorie. I agree 100% that toasting almonds (or any nuts as a matter of fact) makes all the difference in the world in the flavor. These bars are inspired as are all your recipes. I can't wait to give them a try.

  2. I thought the title looked intriguing, but after reading your post, Lorie, I am totaly sold on this! Yummy! Can't wait to try it!

  3. What a decadent dessert! I think we would all be better off if we could rest on Sunday!

  4. I made it today! I'll tell you later how my friends liked it:)

  5. Can fresh frozen strawberries be used?

    1. Anonymous--you know, I am not sure. I feel like there will be too much water in them, but I don't really know. In the past I have tried to roast frozen vegetables and I didn't have very good results.

  6. well ok.
    i came back to this mouthwatering cake after one year to make it again for a special occasion -mother's day!
    this is one of the best desserts I've ever made.
    thank you for this opportunity of making my taste-buds go crazy and my brain to have such memories filled with sweetness.