Raspberry Lemonade Bars

I’m still in total denial that summer isn’t going to last forever. So we won’t talk about the fact tomorrow is the first day of September, or that it’s also the start of Labor Day weekend, which always seems to, unofficially anyway, signal the start of fall. Nope, temperatures are expected to climb to 90 degrees here today, and so for at least one more day I’m going to pretend summer is in full swing. And accordingly, I’m sharing a bright, fresh summery treat with you!

Not to worry pumpkin and apple lovers, there’ll be plenty of those (and other) great fall flavors coming soon :)

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

Earlier this week I was cleaning out my fridge and freezer, trying to decide what to do with the random odds and ends that were starting to take up way too much space. I came across a half bag of frozen raspberries and a few sad looking lemons, and as luck would have it, it was just enough of each to make these raspberry lemonade bars I’ve had my eye on for nearly a year. They were meant to be!

Lemon bars are one of my favorite desserts in the world so I had pretty high hopes for this raspberry-infused adaptation, and it definitely did not disappoint. From the buttery shortbread crust to the luscious filling, which was equal parts sweet and tangy, and packed with raspberry and lemon flavor, I just loved everything about these bars. Oh, and how gorgeous is the vibrant pink color? Not a drop of food coloring in sight either, it’s all accomplished through the raspberries!

If I can offer just one word of advice, it’s make sure you let these chill thoroughly before attempting to cut them; I recommend letting them sit overnight in the fridge. I was impatient, and consequently mangled the bars when slicing them. Luckily I salvaged a few for photo purposes :) The rest were no less delicious, but they definitely won’t be winning any beauty contests…

Raspberry Lemonade Bars
adapted from Sophistimom via Annie’s Eats

Crust
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites
1 large egg
2/3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the bars out afterward.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low, add the flour and salt and beat just until the flour is incorporated. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and press into an even layer to form the crust. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until set and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling: Place the thawed raspberries in a fine mesh sieve and use a rubber spatula to mash and press them through the sieve into a small bowl. You’re trying to extract as much of the pulp and juice as possible while keeping the seeds in the sieve. Set the raspberry puree aside. Whisk the sugar, flour, lemon zest and salt together in a large bowl. Add the egg whites and the egg and whisk until combined. Pour in the lemon juice and raspberry puree and whisk until smooth.

Pour the filling over the crust. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until just barely set – the center will not jiggle when gently shaken. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cover the pan and refrigerate overnight (others who made this recipe cut them after 2 hours, but mine definitely needed longer). Use the parchment “handles” to lift the bars from the pan and cut into squares before serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.