Grown-up strawberry jam bars with black pepper in a shortbread crust will be your favorite cocktail party dessert! The peppery zing with have guests puzzling over the secret ingredient! Make ahead strawberry dessert recipe – so you can spend time at the party!
Did you know strawberries love black pepper? Adding black pepper to strawberry jam bars shortbread crust imparts a surprising pop of flavor. Joyce Pinson, Friends Drift Inn
Strawberry Jam Bars Recipe At-A-Glance
- Prep Time 15 minutes – Bake Time 40 minutes – Cool Time 15 minutes
- Total Time about 1 hour and 10 minutes
- Yield 16 generous bar cookies
Recipe Ingredients All-Purpose flour – Cane Sugar – Salt – Black Pepper – Butter – Egg – Friends Drift Inn Strawberry Moonshine Jam – Confectionary Powdered Sugar
Equipment- Mixing Bowl – Whisk – Measuring cups and spoons- 8 x 8 brownie pan lined with foil
About Baking Strawberry Jam Bar Cookies
- Bar cookies take less time to make than a dropped or rolled cookie and pack an impressive flavor profile. Bake these when you are short on time – but still need a wow factor.
- Brownies, blondies, and jam bar cookies are simple desserts. Do not let this turn into a major production. Shortbread is one of the most basic of cookies – and a shortbread crust is just as easy.
- To aerate flour, just take a whisk and stir right in the flour bag. Spoon flour into measuring cup. Easy and no extra bowl to clean!
- For best results when lining brownie pan, leave a couple of inches extra foil on each side. You can then easily lift the baked product out of the pan using foil “handles.” This will not only make it easier to slice with precision; it will save your pan from being scarred by cut lines.
- Do take the time to rotate pan halfway through the bake cycle. To keep a consistent texture for both the bar cookie and the strawberry jam, this is critical.
Strawberries and Pepper – It Will Keep Your Guests A’ Wondering
Strawberry jam bar cookies are easy to make, but anything but boring. The flavor profile is unexpected but somehow familiar. We love the zing of black pepper in this strawberry dessert recipe!
Jam bars are one of those standard desserts your guests likely take for granted. Right?
They see the cookies on the table. They chat. They absently pick up a bar because it is homemade, casual, and familiar.
They complain about work or start to tell you about their kids. They take a nibble.
Oh, but hey! What is that?
The Pepper, Moonshine and Strawberry Jam Brain Boggle
Because the pepper is so subtle, many will not be able to figure out just what makes strawberry jam bar cookies so unique. They will go crazy analyzing these unassuming strawberry desserts.
Do not tell them what you know. Not everyone is ready to embrace a relationship between strawberries and pepper. It can be a brain boggle, y’all.
Strawberry Moonshine Jam is especially well-suited to this recipe. Our strawberry jam focuses primarily on the strawberry taste. We think strawberries should be the first smooth taste sensation you experience.
We don’t use high fructose corn syrup, preservatives or food coloring. They are not in our strawberry jam. But we do add a splash of moonshine!
A Word About Moonshine Flavor
Here in the mountains, moonshine is what legends are made of. One mountain over from the big red barn, a small legal moonshine producer cranks out some of the smoothest moonshine we have ever tasted.
There is the expected hint of corn. It is so smooth going down, you hardly notice it – there is a delay in the taste finish. The little kick that comes at the end, can best be described as gingery or peppery. There is a little burn – subtle and intriguing.
Like using vanilla, moonshine added to our Strawberry Moonshine Jam, is mostly cooked off. But the flavors remain to keep your brain wondering what that unique background note is.
Shipping, Gifting and Freezing Jam Bars
These strawberry desserts are very firm. Send them to your college students. Ship them to your momma. Pack tight. Double wrap, then box up.
Going to a cocktail party? Bake a batch and pair with a jar of Friends Drift Inn Strawberry Moonshine Jam for a thoughtful and tasty hostess gift.
Momma is all about quality control. She said these shortbread strawberry bars freeze well. Momma knows things!
Serving Strawberry Jam Bars
Like all shortbread cookies, strawberry jam bars are a bit crumbly when that first bite gives away. A perfect foil to cocktails. Try a bourbon strawberry cocktail. Better yet; a strawberry jam infused moonshine cocktail would be divine!
Other serving ideas:
- For summertime picnics pair jam bars with freshly squeezed lemonade.
- For fall tailgating and hayrides, I like these bar cookies with a hot orange flavored tea.
- Fancy Christmas tea party on your calendar? Create smaller jam bar cookies by slicing on the diagonal; making diamond shapes. So festive!
- Sure to raise some eyebrows, I would not hesitate to serve these flavorful jam bars at a holiday cookie exchange. Who needs those iced reindeer cookies anyway? Giggles
With the peppery finish of these bar cookies, they are amusing with an after-dinner aperitif – especially amaretto.
Getting married? These are a fun dessert for bachelor or bachelorette parties. Great compliment to a peppery wine or a mellow bourbon cocktail.
Strawberry Jam Bar – A Passover Dessert
As an unleavened dessert, jam bars are very popular in the spring amongst Jewish communities.
Just after Passover, comes the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It is said that in the Jewish exodus from Egypt, the people packed in such haste they did not have time to bring their “mothers” of yeasted bread dough. To commemorate that tradition, no leavened products are found in the houses of observants during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Cocktail Party Conversation Starter – How Strawberries Got Their Name
Momma always kept a bed of strawberries growing about twenty paces from the kitchen back door. For weed control, and to conserve soil moisture the berries were mulched with straw. But there is more to the word origin.
According to the North Carolina Strawberry Growers
The word Strawberry is, peculiar to the English language. The name has a variety of possible origins. Straw was commonly used to mulch the plants during the winter and as weed and soil control to keep the berries cleaner.
In London children used to collect the berries, string them on pieces of straw, then sell them at the markets as “Straws of Berries”.
When you serve this unique cocktail party dessert, start the conversation rolling with this little piece of trivia.
Hurry up and bake some! I’ll be over this afternoon. Giggles
Choose Your AssortmentPrint
Grownup jam bar cookies, with a peppery zing will keep your cocktail party lively! Subtle but beguiling, these strawberry jam shortbread bar cookies are a snap to make!
- 2 ½ cups of All-Purpose Flour, whisked
- 1 cup of Pure Cane Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Black Pepper
- 1 cup (2 sticks) organic Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 1 large Egg, organic preferred
- ¾ cup Friends Drift Inn Strawberry Moonshine Jam, warmed
- 2 tablespoons Confectionary Powdered Sugar
- Set oven for 350.
- With aluminum foil, line an 8 x 8-inch brownie pan. Leave extra foil along the borders; it makes it easier to lift the uncut strawberry jam bar cookies out of the pan for cutting.
- Cover bottom and sides of foil lined pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- In large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Add butter and cut into fine crumbles. Use a pastry cutter or two butter knives.
- Add egg. Mix to the consistency of soft dough ball.
- Separate dough into two equal portions. Pat one portion into prepared pan, taking care to fill in corners.
- Spread Friends Drift Inn Strawberry Moonshine Jam on dough. Get it in corners!
- Pinch remaining dough into small bits and scatter randomly on the top.
- Bake for about 40 minutes. Turn the pan once, midway through the baking cycle.
- Remove from oven. Jam will be oozy, and the top will be just a tinge brown.
- Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. I lift entire “cake” out of the pan with the aluminum foil “handles” as soon as it is out of the oven. Let rest on a cutting board.
- Cut into two-inch bars.
- Dust with confectionary sugar just before serving.
This strawberry dessert is especially tasty with cocktails. You might like a strawberry bourbon cocktail, or perhaps served with Amaretto.
For mocktails, try a cool summery lemonade or a fall-inspired cup of warm orange flavored tea.
For fancy occasions, try slicing strawberry jam bars on the diagonal. Great for holiday cookie exchanges or tea parties.
For extra punch, sprinkle coarse sugar and a tiny pinch of white pepper on the top layer before baking if serving at a cocktail party. The extra spice enhances most mixed drinks.
Strawberry Jam Bars brown up nicely. Because some ovens do not heat evenly, it is important to rotate the pan halfway through the bake cycle, so the strawberry jam remains the star of the show.
These are a firm bar cookie, easy to pack on a picnic or to a holiday cookie exchange. They ship without too much crumbling making strawberry jam bars a favorite with the college crowd.
If put in an airtight container, bar cookies will keep several days in the refrigerator. They freeze well too! Keep a batch ahead in case friends drop by.
A gentle reminder, this recipe was developed using Friends Drift Inn Strawberry Moonshine Jam. We cannot predict how other jams will perform in this recipe.
Keywords: Bar Cookie Recipe, Strawberry Jam Bars, Strawberry Jam, Holiday Baking, Cookie Exchange, Cocktail Dessert, Strawberry Dessert