Stawberry Shortcake Bars
Summer was more than just a compilation of catching lightning bugs, running through the sprinkler, and annoying the babysitter. It was a way for the kids in the neighborhood to bond and let off some steam. We rode our bikes as fast down the hilly streets as we dared, played hide-and-go-seek until it was so dark we couldn't see anymore, and most of all, we waited everyday for the sound of the ice cream truck to make its way through the neighborhood.
Then, like clockwork, we'd start trying to wear our parents down for the odd cents needed to buy a cold confectionery treat. And, it was a race of time; you had to work hard and have a compelling argument and the ability to not take no for an answer. And therein lay the delicate balance of pushing hard, but not so hard that you'd wind up with a spanking and an evening alone in your room. I've long believed that my determination and ability of convincing others is rooted in negotiating for ice cream.
In general, the treats were a dime apiece, although if you wanted a 'Bomb Pop'--one of those red,white and blue and twice the size confectioneries--you had to fork over a quarter. I know that for a fact because my brother always seemed to have more money than the rest of us and he would lord that 'Bomb Pop' over us, licking it slowly so that we'd be dully tormented.
I was never picky about what I got off of the truck--they were all good to me. Rather, the real pleasure for me came in having the money to run down the street and stop the truck. I would have never realized it then, but chasing after that ice cream truck as evening fell, dusk obscuring everything into hazy grey shadows, and laughing with the neighborhood children as we triumphantly ate our treats, then sent our sticks airborne into the night, would be among the best times of my life.
There's no ice cream truck in my neighborhood and honestly, I can't tell you when I last heard those bells. But the other night, I whipped up a confectionery treat that reminded both Mr. B and I of those halcyon days. We ate them outside as dusk fell, laughing and sharing stories of days long since past.
Old School Strawberry Shortcake Bars
4 cups of ripe strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 32 ounce container of 2% Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon of real vanilla extract
2 sleeves of graham crackers
1/2 cup of coconut
4-5 tablespoons of coconut oil
pinch of salt
1. In a food processor, grind graham cracker crumbs, coconut, coconut oil and salt until coarse and crumbly.
2. Press 3/4 of the mixture into a 10 x 10 baking pan; set the rest aside.
3. Chop the strawberries in the food processor, then add the heavy cream, yogurt and vanilla; process until smooth.
4. Pour the strawberry mixture onto the crust and then top with remaining crumbs.
5. Freeze until firm, then cut into bars. If you'd like, add a stick.