I am absolutely loving the amount of fresh fruit that is in season right now. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries… all sorts of delicious little morsels to snack on. Which is why it’s exciting that this month’s MiniMoFo theme is fruit. Fruit is something that can sometimes seem a little uninspiring and “healthy”, but it can also sometimes seem exciting and fresh and tasty!
I’ll start off by saying, if you’re looking for a super-healthy fruit recipe… this is not your place. But I imagine most of you know that by now. This recipe is sweet and tasty, stuffed full of lots of strawberries (it’s a great recipe to use any you haven’t got round to eating yet) and topped with a gorgeous white chocolate crumble.
If you’re in the UK, you can get vegan white chocolate fairly cheaply from Tesco or Sainsbury’s, and the Co-Op do white chocolate buttons in their free-from section too. Or you can splurge and buy the wonderful iChoc white chocolate which is absolutely delicious.
The way I “crumble” the chocolate actually was born out of my laziness. I like to make chocolate chip cookies but sometimes I have difficulty finding vegan chocolate chips, so I often use a bar of chocolate chopped up for chunks. In my laziness, however, this sometimes translates to me bunging the bar of chocolate in the food processor and blending a few seconds to chop it up. Once, I blended a few seconds too long and ended up with crumbled chocolate…and it works perfectly in this recipe.
The crumbled chocolate gets mixed with flour, (vegan) butter, sugar, and oats to make a crumbly topping for the strawberry bars. You bake the shortbread first, then top with the strawberries, then the crumble, and finally bake again until it’s nice and golden brown.
The strawberry topping is made by chopping strawberries, mixing with a little vanilla and sugar, and leaving them aside to macerate for half an hour. This allows some of the juices to drain so they’re not too soggy for your bars. Then you drain the juice (keep it – it’s tasty!) and put the strawberries on top of the cooked shortbread.
These bars should be kept in the fridge because of the fresh fruit, and they’re delicious on a warm sunny day, such as the one we’re strangely having right now in the UK!
Strawberry White Chocolate Bars
- For the Shortbread
- 150g vegan butter
- 80g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 225g plain flour
- 35g cornflour (cornstarch in the US)
- pinch salt
- 500g strawberries, roughly chopped
- 100g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 150g vegan white chocolate, blitzed in a food processor to a crumbly texture
- 50g vegan butter
- 25g oats
- 50g brown sugar
- 100g plain flour
For the Strawberry Filling
For the Crumble
- Preheat the oven to 175C/350F
- First, make the shortbread. Cream together the butter and sugar until well mixed, then mix in the vanilla.
- Add the flour, salt, and cornflour to the butter/sugar mix and combine. The mix will be quite dry and crumbly – use your hands to bring it together into a dough.
- Press the dough into a baking tin – mine is 9×13 inch – and squash it down to make it level.
- Bake the shortbread in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
- While the shortbread is baking, prepare the strawberries. In a large bowl, mix together the chopped strawberries, the sugar, and vanilla. Set aside for 30 minutes, and then drain the liquid off.
- Next, make the crumble topping. In a bowl, add all the crumble ingredients and rub together with your fingers until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Keep in the fridge until you are ready to use.
- Once the shortbread is baked, spread the drained strawberries on top of it, making sure to cover the biscuit evenly.
- Sprinkle the crumble topping over the strawberries, again covering it evenly.
- Place back in the oven for a further 30 minutes until the crumble is golden brown.
- Cool in the tin, then slice and serve! Store in the fridge.