I’m fairly certain these strawberry crumble bars could pass for breakfast — what with the oats and all — but they’re equally at ease when warm with ice cream for dessert. Your call. (Jump to Recipe)
We’ve got a star on our hands today, my friends. These strawberry crumble bars are dead simple to make, very few ingredients, yet taste like a summer day and (according to Brian) a super fancy Special K bar all wrapped in one. I’m not sure if that last part is really a compliment, but he meant it to be.
The truth is, these strawberry crumble bars did not start out as bars at all. They started out as croissants. Confusing, I know.
You see, I created these bars as part of a spring recipe collaboration with over 100 other talented food bloggers, and our challenge was to create a recipe featuring strawberries. I have a couple recipes on the site already that include strawberries (like scones and cake) but I wanted to create something new and exciting, and maybe you can see where this is going before I could, but I got a little overambitious.
I’d seen a few videos recently on the internets concerning how to make croissants. Those light, flaky, lovely pastries that I adore but have never been brave enough to tackle myself, best leaving them to snooty French pastry chefs and the like. But Sally’s Baking Addiction’s recipe challenge this month was to bake croissants, and if you’re interested, you really should check it out – she’s the best of the best when it comes to clear baking instructions. I felt like it was a sign.
So of course, in my eternal wisdom, I determined that the first time I would ever make croissants from scratch would be the time I also attempted to change the basic croissant recipe and make strawberry croissants. No, not regular croissants that have strawberries inside them — that would be far too simple and pedestrian. Croissants made with strawberry compound butter instead of normal butter. And of course, I’d first make that strawberry compound butter myself. As if croissants don’t already take long enough to make.
Are you rolling your eyes at me yet?
I don’t really need to tell you what happened. You already know. It was a total and unmitigated disaster. Not only did it take ALL day, ruin my apartment, and cover me and every possible surface, including my camera, in sticky strawberry butter and flour, the damn things turned out dense and floppy and somehow burned on the bottom and so un-croissant-like that you’d think I tried to make tough strawberry biscuits.
Where is the crying emoji when you need it?
After I’d pulled myself together and cleaned (and cleaned, and cleaned…) my apartment, I took a day off baking to reflect. I realized that in trying to execute on my grand idea of these strawberry croissants, I’d gotten carried away from what the purpose of this little blog really is.
My goal is not to create Insta-famous unconventional pastries; lots of people, far more talented than me, are doing that. My goal is to create simple yet sophisticated recipes you can make any day (or at least, any weekend day) for yourself, your family, and your friends. Approachable, yet nuanced (my dad’s word for it). Ready for any occasion, even just a Tuesday on the couch. Those are my kind of recipes, and they always have been.
And so these strawberry crumble bars came to life. A simple oat, butter, flour and brown sugar base, which doubles as the crumble on top. Diced strawberries tossed with lemon zest, a tiny bit of sugar, and cornstarch, letting their flavor shine. A bright lemon glaze to set it off. This is my kind of baking.
These bars are just as appropriate served with yogurt at the breakfast table as they are warmed with ice cream at dessert. You honestly can’t go wrong eating them straight out of the pan standing over the stove, either. Not that I speak from experience or anything.
Like I said, Brian calls these “Special K bars on steroids” so take that for what you will. It’s true that the bright and buttery strawberry flavor is slightly reminiscent of them. You’ll just have to try them and tell me if you agree.
See below the recipe for links to all the other recipes from bloggers participating in our strawberry roundup!
I'm fairly certain these strawberry crumble bars could pass for breakfast -- what with the oats and all -- but they're equally at ease when warm with ice cream for dessert. Your call.
- 1 cup old-fashioned (rolled) oats
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups finely chopped strawberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Zest of one lemon (around 1 tablespoon, and you'll use the juice for the glaze)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from the lemon you zested above)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 inch square pan with parchment paper (easiest method in my opinion) or grease the pan well, and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt. Stir in melted butter and vanilla until it's a well-mixed crumble mixture.
Set aside 1/3 of the mixture; pour the other 2/3 into the prepared pan and press into an even flat layer with your hands. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
In a medium bowl, toss strawberries, sugar, lemon zest, and cornstarch until strawberries are completely and evenly coated. Pour mixture over top of crust and spread into an even layer.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 crumble mixture over top of the strawberries as evenly as you can, but this isn't an exact science. Just make sure it all gets on top.
Bake for 35-37 minutes, until crumble and crust are golden and fruit may be bubbling, but it doesn't have to be. LET COOL COMPLETELY IN THE PAN (I put it in the fridge to help it along) before lifting the parchment paper from the pan to remove the bars, otherwise they will fall apart.
Whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice. Pour over cooled crumble and cut into bars!
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
Bars will keep, covered in the fridge, for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave before serving, or serve cold, whatever you prefer. I like these bars with yogurt in the morning, or with vanilla ice cream for dessert!
Here are all the other strawberry recipes – happy baking:
Square Meal Round Table’s Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Pavlova
The Cooking of Joy’s Strawberry Matcha Cream Cheese Tart
This Healthy Table’s Strawberry Tahini Shortcake
Flours in Your Hair’s Strawberry Milk Donuts
The Wood and Spoon’s Strawberry Icebox Pie
Smart in the Kitchen’s Rustic Strawberry Galette
The Herb and Spoon’s Strawberry-Jam Filled Brioche Donuts
Better with Biscuit’s Strawberry Cobbler
My Kitchen Love’s Strawberry Rhubarb Tart
Sift and Simmer’s Rose Strawberry Hibiscus Mille Crepe Cake
What Great Grandma Ate’s No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Bars (Paleo, Vegan)
A Modest Feast’s Greek Yogurt With Crispy Quinoa and Roasted Strawberries
Hola Jalapeno’s Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Margarita
Worthy Pause’s Strawberry-Basil Shrub Cocktail
Hot Dishing It Out’s Panna Cotta with Strawberry Jelly
Figs & Flour’s Shrimp Tacos with Strawberry Apricot Salsa
Pie Girl Bakes’ Strawberry Ginger Pie
Crumb Top Baking’s Strawberry Chia Jam Oat Bars
The Gourmandise School’s Strawberry Pistachio Salad
Tiny Kitchen Caper’s Strawberries and Cream Pound Cake
Cook Til Delicious’ Mini Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Ganache
Something New For Dinner’s Watermelon, Tomato and Strawberry Salad with Burrata
A Spicy Perspective’s Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake
Easy and Delish’s Strawberry Brigadeiros
Plays Well with Butter’s Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese, Grilled Chicken, & Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Katherine in Brooklyn’s Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream
Sugar Salt Magic’s Strawberry Mousse Tart
The Healthy Sins’ Coconut Flour Crepes Topped with Fresh Strawberries and Coconut Yogurt
Lemon Thyme and Ginger’s Strawberry Basil No Churn Ice Cream
Jessie Sheehan Bakes’ Strawberry Basil Turnovers
Bavette Meat & Provisions’ Pickled Green Strawberries
Rezel Kealoha’s Apple Cider Rose Poached Strawberries with Thyme Flowers
Made from Scratch’s Roasted Strawberry and Basil Ice Cream
Eat Cho Food’s Strawberry Basil Glazed Donuts
What’s Karen Cooking’s Strawberry Eton Mess
More Icing Than Cake’s Strawberry, Balsamic & Black Pepper Babka
Well Seasoned Studio’s Classic Vanilla Layer Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream and Fresh Strawberries
Farm & Coast Cookery’s Strawberry & Thyme Shortcake
Marianne Cooks’ Strawberry Madeleines
Clean Plate Club’s Mini Strawberry Bundt Cakes with Lemon Glaze
My Berkeley Kitchen’s Strawberry Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
The Cinnaman’s Rose Hibiscus Strawberry Icebox Pie
Prickly Fresh’s Strawberry Burrata Kale Salad with Pistachio & Lemon Vinaigrette
Maren Ellingboe’s Angel Food Cake with Whipped Cream & Strawberries
Baking the Goods’ Mini Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes
Fufu’s Kitchen’s Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches
What Annie’s Eating’s Vegan Strawberry + Basil Ice Cream
Cosette’s Kitchen’s Strawberry Shortcake
Blossom to Stem’s Strawberry Pavlova with Mezcal and Lime
Babby Girl Yum’s Strawberry Spinach Almond Salad
It’s a Veg World After All’s Butter Lettuce Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
Le Petite Eats’ Strawberry Orange Blossom Tartlets
Cooking with Cocktail Ring’s Basil Balsamic Strawberry Shortcake
The College Housewife: Mixed Berry Whiskey Crisp
Frosting and Fettuccine’s Strawberry Basil Layer Cake with Strawberry Simple Syrup
Zestful Kitchen’s Strawberry & Pine Nut Brittle Salad