Freckled Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Sometimes I think about the kisses I’ve kissed. I do. I’m shameless. Me, a happily married wife of 14 years, and I’ll be driving down the road, remembering one summer afternoon when a metal-toothed teenager showed me how to kiss on the beach. I think about a starlit evening when a shy high school boy leaned in and closed his eyes. When a cute college beau smooched me on the doorstep of my dorm. Kissing is nice.

But, here’s the thing about kissing: Kissing gets better as you get older. You grow up and get to kiss a handsome guy, and call him husband. You get to kiss a warm baby bundle for the first time and second, and everyday thereafter. You kiss boo-boo’s better, kiss a lovely father-in-law on the cheek, kiss the tips of your finger and wave goodbye as your clever children bound out the door for their first day of school.
And there, right there, is the other thing about kissing: It’s so often to say goodbye. The kiss to a beloved sister at the end of cherished visit. The kiss of chubby cousin cheeks that won’t be seen again for another year. The kiss of the summer air as you drive slowly home. It somehow sounds sad. But, that’s the other thing that makes kissing especially good as you grow older. Every kiss becomes ever more delightful, because you realize how precious each one is.
Which is a realization I’m glad I didn’t have in high school. There’s only so much delight one girl can take from boys in braces.


Freckled Strawberry Lemonade Bars
Not ready to kiss summer goodbye quite yet? Try these tangy, sweet, and simple strawberry lemonade bars. I love how the flavor of fresh strawberries kisses the sour lemon custard in these gorgeous bars. You probably will like them enough, you’ll wanna to kiss me. Do try to refrain.
1 c. flour
½ c. butter, softened
¼ c. powdered sugar
Dash of salt
3 eggs
1 oz. cream cheese
2 T. flour
1 ½ c. sugar
¼ c. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c. strawberries
2 T. sugar
1 t. cornstarch
In a large bowl, combine 1 c. of flour, butter , powdered sugar, and salt until well mixed. Press into the bottom of a 9×9 inch baking pan. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, combine eggs, cream cheese, 2 T. flour, 1 ½ c. of sugar, and lemon juice. Pour over cooked crust. In a blender, puree strawberries, 2 T. sugar, and cornstarch. Spoon here and there over the lemon mixture. Return to oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until lemon mixture is fully cooked and firmly set. Cool completely before cutting into squares (or triangles). Dust with powdered sugar before serving.