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