Yes, I know. Another, ooey gooey bar recipe, Sarah?? For real?! Yes, FOR. REAL. I can’t help it! Trust me, this recipe started off as far away from ooey gooey and baked as you can get but somehow evolved to what you now see! I don’t know what happened, honestly. I intended to make a super fruity, summery, refreshing drink for all of you and somehow ended up with my oven on and my KitchenAid mixer going full throttle. Ugh! I seriously racked my brain for a looooong time trying to think of a unique, colorful and delicious drink and all I repeatedly kept going back to strawberry lemonade, specifically a Sonic Lemonberry Slush. Obviously I love the cherry limeades from Sonic but the Lemonberry Slush is a pretty close second. And all I wanted to do was turn it into…cake. Ooey gooey butter cake.
Yes, I have a problem (as documented here, here and here). Sigh.
So, I resigned myself to baking and did I have any regrets? Heck no! These ooey gooey bars turned out awesome! What I really like about these is you could do the lemon cake base and then get creative with the gooey top part. It calls for strawberry pie filling but you really could do cherry, blackberry or even blueberry–they’d all be delicious! Drinks can wait people. Trust me.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9x13 pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, butter, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat well. With mixer on low, slowly pour in butter. Beat in strawberry pie filling. Pour onto the cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 55 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack.
This past Friday night we had our once-a-month Gourmet Cooking Club that my friend, Shawna, hosts at her house. It was a pizza themed event this time (yum!) and while everything was delicious, my favorite thing was actually a drink that Shawna made. When we walked into her kitchen there was a beautiful glass punch bowl with what looked like lemonade but with something additional floating on top…basil leaves and sliced jalapenos! Yes, somewhat uncommon for a sweet punch but trust me on this, it is AMAZING. The lemonade is sweet and tart and bubbly and the basil is the perfect, refreshing addition. And then there is just the slightest kick and spice from the jalapeno…it’s barely there but definitely noticeable and honestly, delicious!!
Put this one on your list for your Memorial Day party–I guarantee it will end up in your regular drink rotation for the summer!
For basil syrup, in a large saucepan combine water, sugar, and basil. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Strain syrup and discard leaves. Cover and chill syrup for 2 to 24 hours.
For lemonade, in a very large punch bowl combine chilled syrup, club soda, and lemon juice. Serve over ice and garnish with jalapeno slices and fresh basil leaves.
Makes 16, 8 oz. Servings
*Tip:Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If bare hands touch the peppers, wash hands and nails well with soap and warm water.
I heard earlier today that we are in an “excessive heat” warning for the next few days, all the way through July 4th and beyond. Ugh. While I love the July 4th weekend, I am dreading the thought of being outside for hours while my makeup runs off my face, my hair falls flat and pit stains form under the arms of my non-black shirt (Because who wears black in the middle of summer?! Unless it’s a bikini??). Lovely. So I thought I could perhaps cheer myself up by finding some delicious, cold drinks to share on here. It’s worth a try!
(I want one of these…whatever it is.)
First, I have a recipe for a Thai Tea that is out of this world! If you’ve never had Thai Tea before, now is your chance. This recipe is so delicious…sweet, spicy (as in cinnamon/clove spicy) and creamy. Unfortunately, I don’t have photo but I’m sure it’s not too hard to imagine a glass of tea with half-and-half poured in. Delicious.
I also linked to a few more yummy summer drinks below, in case you need more beverage inspiration. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making that Sour Cherry Fizz concoction this weekend…sounds ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.
6 c. Water
1 c. Thai Tea Leaves (found at Asian market)
4 Cardamom Pods, crushed
1 Whole Clove, crushed
1/4 t. Cinnamon
1 c. Granulated Sugar
1 c. Half-and-Half
Bring water to a boil in a large pan. Stir in tea leaves and next 3 ingredients and cover. Remove from heat and steep 5 minutes.
Pour tea through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a pitcher, discarding tea leaves. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Cover and chill.
A couple of days ago I found myself with a few strawberries that desperately needed to be used and found this recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Truffles. Obviously mine didn’t turn out as truffles because the mixture never stiffened up completely so I just turned them into candy cups. While not quite as simple as scooping the mixture into balls and dipping them in chocolate, it worked just as well.
The end results were quite tasty. They reminded me of the Lemon Berry Slush at Sonic…only dipped in white chocolate. And they definitely are on the sweet side due to all the white chocolate but the tartness of the lemon helps to balance that out. A nice and different summertime treat!
Strawberry Lemonade Candy Cups
8 oz. Fresh Strawberries, sliced (will yield 1/3 c. strawberry puree)
1 T. Heavy Whipping Cream
1 t. Light Corn Syrup
12 oz. White Chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 t. Citric Acid (find at local health food store)
Place the chopped white chocolate in a medium size bowl and microwave until melted stirring every 20 seconds.
Place the sliced strawberries in a medium saucepan and heat them over medium heat until they release their juices and become a chunky strawberry sauce. Blend them in a food processor or blender and then strain them to remove any seeds (I didn’t bother with straining them). Set aside 1/3 cup of the strawberry puree.
Combine the 1/3 cup strawberry puree, heavy whipping cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over into melted white chocolate and stir to combine. Add the citric acid, lemon zest, strawberry extract and chopped dried strawberries and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Let chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
Place the white chocolate wafers in a small bowl and melt in the microwave stirring every 20 seconds. Fill each cavity of a candy cup mold with one teaspoon of white chocolate. Gently tip and rotate the mold to cover it’s sides and bottom with the chocolate and place in the freezer for one minute to completely harden. Fill hardened candy cup mold with 1/2 teaspoon of the strawberry lemonade mixture and then carefully cover with more white chocolate and decoration of your choice. Place in freezer for one minute to harden. Carefully flip mold upside down onto foil and press gently on bottom of each candy cup until they pop out.