Aaaaanyway, let’s talk about pink lemonade bars, shall we? I love these little bars — they taste just like pink lemonade, one of my favorite drinks to sip on in the summer. Equally a shortbread crust and a tart-sweet raspberry lemonade filling, I can’t get enough of them. Now I’m torn between whether I like drinking or eating pink lemonade better — which is why I usually do both simultaneously. It’s a delicious combo, let me tell you.
Of course, pink lemonade bars hardly are a new invention — just Google them and you’ll find a million different variations. But I preferred this version from the get-go because 1) the pink in the pink lemonade comes from actual fruit, not red food coloring and 2) it’s based off a Smitten Kitchen recipe, so you know it’s good. Some people prefer to make their bars with strawberries or even cherries, which is cool, too, but I love the color and sweetness that comes from a raspberry. You may disagree — but I urge you to at least try one, which will then lead to trying five more, which will lead to realizing that yes, in fact, raspberries make a dang good pink lemonade bar. That’s been my experience, anyway.
Make them for your family, make them for a friend who needs support, make them so you can eat the whole batch by yourself while watching The Bachelorette — hey, whatever works. It’s summertime; let’s make the best of it!
Pink Lemonade Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yields: 28 bars (or 16, depending on how you cut them)
For the crust:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
For the filling:
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
- 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-by-8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, extending up two sides (for “handles”). Lightly grease bottom and sides of pan with cooking spray.
- In a food processor, combine sugar, lemon zest and salt. Add butter and pulse until crumbly and well combined. Add flour and pulse until a dough forms.
- Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared baking pan. Bake 15 minutes or until set and lightly golden on the edges. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.
- Puree raspberries in food processor (no need to clean) until liquid. Strain mixture to remove seeds and excess pulp. You should be left with about 1/3 cup raspberry puree.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and lemon juice. Add in about 2 tablespoons raspberry puree and the flour; stir until well combined. Pour filling onto crust and bake until set, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan before dusting with powdered sugar and cutting into bars.