Usually I don't like to start a recipe from a mix, but I make an exception sometimes. This was one of those times. It was a late evening. I had a few glasses of wine and a very filling dinner. A movie was in the DVD player and Hubs was sprawled across our club chair. We were absolutely in for the evening. And I found this most interesting strawberry bar recipe, plus had (just by coincidence!) sugar cookie mix and a quart of strawberries begging to be used.
I am never one to sit still for a movie, not ever. Even if I have been dying to see it. We rarely go to the theater to see a movie, and that's because I can't just sit and watch. I need to be doing SOMETHING, whether self-pedicure-ing or idly flipping a magazine or reorganizing my closet (a favorite of mine, by the way).
Baking is my favorite movie activity, so baking I did. I couldn't resist. Plus: we were doing some Royals Gaming and tailgating the next day, with a great group of friends. Who would be happy to have some dessert to munch, right?
Strawberry and Cream Bars
1 pouch Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. white vanilla baking chips (6 oz)
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
4 c. sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 c. water
10 to 12 drops red food color, if desired
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray bottom only of 15x10x1- or 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. Press evenly in bottom of pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
In small microwavable bowl, microwave baking chips uncovered on High 45 to 60 seconds or until chips are melted and can be stirred smooth. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in melted chips until blended. Spread mixture over crust. Refrigerate while making topping.
In small bowl, crush 1 cup of the strawberries. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Stir in crushed strawberries and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Stir in food color. Cool 10 minutes. Gently stir in remaining 3 cups strawberries. Spoon topping over filling. Refrigerate 1 hour or until set; serve within 4 hours. Store covered in refrigerator.