The actual name of this dessert in the recipe book is “Streusel Strawberry Bars,” but that just didn’t sound right. So I changed the name. Now that summer is almost upon us, make room in your picnic baskets for some strawberry goodness!

From the Better Homes & Gardens Hometown Potluck Favorites recipe book.

Strawberry Streusel Bars (or Streusel Strawberry Bars…take your pick)
recipe makes about 24 pieces

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. pecans, coarsely chopped
1 10-oz. jar strawberry preserves or seedless red raspberry preserves*
1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing or sifted powdered sugar

*I use Trappist strawberry preserves from St Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, MA. You can buy their preserves online here, if your local stores do not carry it. It’s satisfyingly sweet and an excellent thickness for baking. 10 ounces is almost a full jar, with a couple of ounces left over for your morning toast or oatmeal or your lunchtime peanut butter & jelly sandwich.

In a large bowl, beat softened butter and granulated sugar together using an electric mixer on medium speed until combined, scraping occasionally. Beat in the egg. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, then switch to folding in remaining flour by hand. Add pecans. Mixture should be somehwat crumbly but buttery. Set aside about two cups of the pecan mixture.

Press the remaining pecan mixture in to the bottom of an ungreased 9×9 pan. Sometimes I will dip in to my reserved pecan mixture for a few more clumps of dough, if I feel like I have thin spots in the base layer. If you have a silicon pan, use that, because it’s a dream to remove the finished bars from. Spread the preserves to within about 1/2 an inch from the edges. Dot the reserved pecan mixture all over the top of the preserves.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once the bars are cooled, I remove them from the pan, cut them to desired size, then rearrange them on the wire rack over a cookie sheet or cutting board. Then, drizzle over the Powdered Sugar Icing or sift over regular powdered sugar if you are short on time. Excess icing will drip through the wire rack to the cutting board beneath, leaving your bars all very neat-looking and your work surface clean. I use the same trick when icing my Soft Pumpkin Cookies. I let the icing set up until it starts to get hard, or about half a day at room temperature. Plan ahead for these bars if at all possible.

Powdered Sugar Icing
In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. milk, and 1/4 tsp vanilla. Stir in additional milk, 1 tsp at a time, until icing achieves desired drizzling consistency. You will probably have a lot of icing for one little batch of strawberry bars, so ice just until they’re the way you want them. No one’s going to make you use up all the icing, unless you want to.

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