Strawberry-Lemon Shortbread Bars

Makes 4 dozen

Ingredients:

Crust

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

3/4 teaspoon lemon zest, divided

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter

Filling

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup strawberry preserves

Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish

Fresh strawberry slices, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest. Add butter and, using a pastry blender, cut butter into the dry mixture until crumbly. Press mixture onto bottom of prepared dish.

Bake until lightly browned, 20-22 minutes. Let cool.

To make the filling, in another medium bowl, add cream cheese and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat just until blended after each addition. Stir in fresh lemon juice and remaining 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, beating well.

Spread strawberry preserves over cooled crust. Pour cream cheese mixture over preserves, spreading to edges. Bake until set, 28-32 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and chill 4 to 8 hours. Cut into bars; garnish, if desired.

Sponsor: Harmons Neighborhood Grocer