Proving that shortbread doesn’t have to be boring with this delicious strawberry pop tart shortbread! Thick and buttery shortbread is baked with a layer of strawberry preserves in the center and is then topped with icing and sprinkles. It’s like the grown up version of a pop tart (and tastes better than one too!). The richness of the shortbread pairs perfectly with the jammy and tart strawberries. Each slice just melts in your mouth!
HOW TO MAKE BUTTERY SHORTBREAD
When developing this recipe, I was inspired by Scottish shortbread. It’s typically more rich, dense, and thick compared to regular shortbread due to its high fat content. In other words, it’s just better.
So for this recipe, I made sure to up the butter and bake these bars low and slow. By doing so, you’re left with a dense but buttery tender shortbread bar that just melts in your mouth.
Another ingredient I used to boost the richness of these bars is almond flour. By swapping out some of the regular flour with almond flour, I’ve decreased the absorbency of the dry ingredients. Almond flour does not absorb as much liquid as regular flour, so these bars are able to remain extra buttery but with a dense and closed texture.
TIPS FOR MAKING SHORTBREAD COOKIE DOUGH
- Properly measure the flour – I say this in every post, and for good reason. It’s the number one reason why most recipes fail, especially for cookie dough. If there’s too much flour, this shortbread will turn out dry and crumbly. If you can, measure the flour with a food scale. Otherwise, to ensure you use the exact amount needed, gently spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level if off with a flat edge. If you scoop directly into the flour container, it packs it down into the cup which could leave you with 1/4 cup or more of added flour.
- Softened butter – Before you start, make sure your butter is softened to room temperature. This will create a smooth shortbread dough that bakes into a delicious melt-in-your-mouth texture. Alternatively, you can pop the butter bars in the microwave and heat in 5 second intervals, turning the bars between each time. Be careful not to overdo it as you don’t want MELTED butter. Then, place just the butter in the mixing bowl and mix on high speed until smooth.
- Powdered sugar – This is the secret to a buttery shortbread. Powdered sugar blends seamlessly into the dough, creating a soft texture. I don’t recommend replacing this with any other sugar as the outcome will be very different.
- Mixing – After adding the flour, gently mix together the dough. Over mixing will create a tough shortbread.
How to layer strawberry shortbread
The one and only tricky part of this recipe is sandwiching the strawberry preserves between two layers of shortbread dough, especially because the dough is soft and sticky. It requires some slight arts and crafts, but works like a charm!
First, take a sheet of wax paper and place it under your baking dish. Trace the outline of the dish onto the wax paper using a marker. Then flip over the sheet (to conceal the marker) and set it aside.
Then, spread half of the shortbread dough into a prepped square baking dish. Spread the preserves on top and place into the refrigerator.
TIP: Chill the preserves overnight. This will thicken the preserves and prevent it from running out of the sides of the shortbread.
Now back to that sheet of wax paper. Scoop the remaining shortbread dough into the center of the square and spread it even to fill that entire square. It can be a bit tricky, so I recommend holding the paper opposite the side you are spreading to prevent the sheet from moving around.
Once smooth, quickly flip the sheet of wax paper overtop the second half of the dough inside the pan. Peel back the paper and voila! Your strawberry shortbread is now sandwiched. Gently smooth out the edges and it’s ready to bake.
THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP IN THIS STRAWBERRY SHORTBREAD RECIPE
Once the bars are baked, it’s VERY important to let them chill for at least 2 hours. If you dig in right away, they’ll fall apart and turn into a buttery mess.
It’s the same reason why you must let brownies cool before slicing. When chilled, the butter will solidify giving you a dense but soft texture. So if your shortbread come out of the oven looking TOO buttery, don’t worry. Chilling will completely set these bars.
Strawberry shortbread filling options
To stick with the strawberry pop tart theme, I opted for strawberry preserves in this recipe. I recommend preserves because they’re thick and flavorful. Alternatively, you can use any flavor preserves you like.
You can also use jelly if you like, but jam will be a bit too thin for this recipe. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s thick enough and doesn’t slip and slide around inside of the jar.
How to store strawberry shortbread
Keep the shortbread in the refrigerator in an air tight container. It will keep for up to 5 days.
For more strawberry dessert recipes, check out my:
- Strawberry Pretzel Dessert Tart
- Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies
- Roasted Strawberry Cupcakes
- Fresh Strawberry Sheet Cake
- Fresh Strawberry Layer Cake
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and leave a review below if you make these Strawberry Pop Tart Shortbread Bars. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print
Strawberry Pop Tart Shortbread
- Total Time: 1 hour + 2 hours chilling
- Yield: 15 bars
Buttery shortbread baked with a layer of sweet and tart strawberry preserves in the center and topped with vanilla icing.
- 1 1/2 cups (195g) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (100g) almond flour*
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup (220g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 1/2 cups (170g) powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup (230g) strawberry preserves, chilled in the refrigerator overnight
- 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
- 4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 1–2 tbsp water
- Rainbow sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 325F and coat a square 8×8 dish with nonstick spray and line all 4 sides with parchment paper, allowing it to hang over the edges of the pan for easy release. Trace the outline of the pan on a sheet of wax paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the salt, almond flour, and flour. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, using a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. Start on a low speed then slowly work your way up to prevent the sugar from flying out of the bowl.
- Once smooth and fluffy, mix in the egg, vanilla, and almond extract.
- Next, add in the dry ingredients and mix until combined. The consistency should be similar to mashed potatoes.
- Scoop half of the dough into the prepared baking pan and spread it even. I recommend using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to get it as even as possible.
- Spread the preserves on top of the shortbread and place it in the refrigerator.
- With the other half of the dough, spread it onto the sheet of wax paper that we outlined earlier. Spread it to fit the square as best as possible.
- Take the pan out of the refrigerator and carefully flip the sheet of shortbread on top of the strawberry layer. Pull the paper back and gently spread the edges even.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the edges are a pale golden brown.
- Let the shortbread rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill uncovered for at least 2 hours. Do not dig into the shortbread too early as it will not be set.
- Once chilled and set, make the icing by whisking together all of the ingredients. Start with 1 tablespoon of water and add another if needed.
- Lift the shortbread out of the pan and drizzle the icing on top. Add the rainbow sprinkles and place the shortbread in the freezer for 20 minutes to allow the icing to set. Now slice and enjoy!
ALMOND FLOUR – Although I highly recommend sticking with almond flour, the only other substitute for this would be oat flour. You can make your own by grinding oats in a food processor. Do not swap with regular all purpose flour as this will make the bars too dry.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
Keywords: strawberry shortbread, shortbread cookies, shortbread bars, strawberry shortbread cookies
Ah Jenna lassie…inspired by Scotland and our love of shortbread. If I could find a Barnard tartan, I’d knit you an honorary Scots scarf for winter! Great recipe…looks a wee treat, as your recipes always do…
What size pan fo double the recipe
A 9×13, although it may be a bit tricky to place that top layer of shortbread for a larger pan!
What a very creative idea. How gorgeous! Thank you for sharing!
On the whole I really loved this recipe! The end product was delicious. However some clarity might need to be added, though maybe my kitchen was too hot (I do weigh all of my ingredients). I’d recommend placing the rolled out too portion in the fridge before flipping it onto the rest. I initially tried it without chilling it, but I couldn’t get it off the parchment paper. The chilling definitely helped. I’m not sure part already in the pan needs to be chilled beforehand, but it can’t hurt.
Also, my glaze was extremely runny, so much so it wouldn’t set. I did the 4 tablespoons of heavy cream, and added no water. I should have added the heavy cream a tablespoon at a time and trusted my instincts. Still super tasty!
Hi Sarah! Next time try using wax paper instead of parchment paper. It should help with the sticking 🙂
I’m working through your recipes this summer as my summer project! 😀
I made these last night and they are so yummy! I have a little learning to do for next time around but I made notes and can’t wait to try again! Once I get the bottom layer to be a little less buttery (sort-of looks undercookied imo) I’ll be sure to tag you in my efforts! Thank you for all the suggestions and notes! It has helped! 😀
Ah yay! Best of luck!
Caroline Rosengarden says
This is delicious!! Mine is slightly less cooked than I’d like it to be, after baking for the maximum recommended. It doesn’t look as cooked as this photo does. I believe that I’ll use a metal pan next time and also lose the ‘grease’ under the parchment paper. It’s just not necessary w/ the parchment and only causes the shortbread to not crisp up.
I also followed the chilling other people recommended for each layer. Thank you!!!
Yep if you used glass, it’s likely the shortbread couldn’t heat fast enough. I always use a dark or light aluminum square baking dish 🙂
These are amazing! There’s something about adding the almond flour that makes them extra tender. I actually made mine with cherry preserves and they were great. One of my coworkers said, “ If pop tarts tasted like this I’d weigh 300lbs!” Thanks for sharing this, will definitely make again!
Haha your coworker is right! Cherry sounds so delicious here. Thanks for sharing!
Made these the other night and they are flying out of the kitchen! The shortbread is so delicious and the texture is perfect, it reminds me of a Bakewell tart. I’ll be trying this recipe with a few different spreads I think, wondering how lemon curd might go…
Like everyone else, I recommend that you refrigerate the top layer before you flip it over to save you a lot of hassle!
Thank you for sharing! I bet lemon curd would be delicious!
I realized I have made this recipe 8 times now because it is such a winner and I haven’t left a comment to tell people how amazing it is. I have shared the recipe with everyone who has tried them. I’ve used all kinds of different fillings and they are always amazing! Thank you for this recipe!
Yay! Thank you!
So the only downside with this recipe is the glaze. Mine never set and it made the bars look unappetizing 🙁 …. but, the shortbread recipe is ASTOUNDING. I’ve baked all-flour shortbreads and all-almond flour shortbreads but never used a recipe that called for both. The shortbread was tender, not too sweet, and just simply perfect! The bake time was spot on as well. The jam added a little extra sweetness. I dont think these need a glaze at all but if you do want some extra sweetness then i think some powdered sugar dusted on top would be cute and sweet!
Brava to such a great shortbread recipe and I will definitely make these bars again (I’ll just skip the glaze next time!)