Dense brownie-like bars that bear no chocolate and instead burst with strawberry flavor. These bars are covered in a strawberry lemon glaze that really drives that summer flavor home.
These were inspired by my popular ‘lemon brownies’.
But really, let’s put the brownie part of this in quotations because without any kind of chocolate or cocoa, they aren’t really brownies. They are probably more similar to a blondie (minus the brown sugar); and technically blondies got their name by being a non-chocolate brownie.
They are very similar to a brownie in their texture and the way they are made: all in one bowl, very similar quantities of butter, sugar, eggs and flour.
And if you’ve run into a strawberry brownie recipe before, it was probably one made with cake flour. Those recipes use a strawberry flavored cake batter mix and instead of following the directions to make a cake, they add less eggs, etc. to make a denser bar that doesn’t rise.
Freeze dried strawberries
These will come in packages of about 35g or 1.2 oz. I buy mine at target or trader joes for about $4.
There’s no substitute for this ingredient, it’s where our berry flavor comes from. Fresh or frozen strawberries will add far too much water and ruin the texture of the “fudgy” bar.
I did try making these with freeze dried blueberry powder and found they really lacked flavor because freeze dried blueberries don’t quite deliver the same punch.
If you’d like to make these strawberry brownies gluten free use a gluten free flour substitute, like KAB’s measure for measure or Bob’s 1 to 1. Oat flour would also be a great substitute but add another ¼ cup of it or 30g and let the mix sit for a bit before baking so the flour can absorb.
I use the zest in the bar itself and then the juice in the glaze. The lemon in the glaze makes for a sharp flavor, you can use milk instead if you want to avoid that.
If you’d like to make these dairy free, use a df butter. Remember to not
I didn’t do it here but I can totally see these working with a white chocolate chip. I wouldn’t add fresh fruit here, it’ll add too much water.
I like to rub the zest of the lemon with the sugar because it allows it to pull the lemony oils out of the zest so you get more flavor into the batter.
We’ll do this by blending or grinding freeze dried strawberries (I use a small food processor) and then shaking the powder through a fine mesh sieve to remove the larger seeds.
Importantly, don’t let the butter spurt out of the bowl when melting. This will cause the loss of some of the liquid and fat needed to make a good bar.
Whisk everything really, really well up until you add the flour. Then a gentle fold and stir until the batter comes together.
I like to let the batter rest before baking, just for about 10 minutes until the oven preheats. This allows the berry powder to dissolve well into the batter so you’ll have a stronger tasting bar.
You’ll know the bars are done baking when the center is puffed up. It might look like they are undone once you cut into them later but that’s just the bar itself with its ratio of fat to flour.
Strawberry glaze: two ways
Once the bars are cool, you can top them. For the glaze you have a few options: use some more strawberry powder (this is what I did in the photos) or thaw some frozen strawberries and strain them to get a ‘strawberry juice’. Color will vary quite a bit depending on what kind of berries you have and how much juice or powder you add.
Whipped cream & Fresh Strawberries
In a food processor blend 1 cup heavy whipping cream with a tsp of vanilla, a pinch of sat and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Spread over the cooled bars and top with fresh berries.
For a white chocolate ganache you can use 200g chopped white chocolate (or chocolate chips) and 100g heavy cream.
For a milk chocolate ganache, use 200g finely chopped milk chocolate, and 150g heavy cream.
In either case, warm the heavy cream until it’s bubbling on the sides and a bit steamy. Pour it over the chopped chocolate and stir until it’s smooth. Spread over the brownies.
Frosting / Buttercream
Much like I do in these lemon cookies covered with raspberry buttercream, you can just top these with a strawberry buttercream (in that recipe sub strawberry powder for the raspberry).
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