A healthier fruit dessert made with fresh strawberries, whole grain butter crumb topping, and a lightly sweetened vanilla glaze.
FOR THE STRAWBERRY BARS:
1cupold-fashioned rolled oats— gluten free if needed
3/4cupwhite whole wheat flour— or substitute all-purpose flour or 1:1 baking flour to make gluten free
1/3cuplight brown sugar
6tablespoonsunsalted butter— melted (or substitute melted coconut oil to make vegan/dairy free)
2cupssmall-diced strawberries— about 10 ounces, divided
1tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice— from about 1/2 small lemon
1tablespoongranulated sugar— divided
FOR THE VANILLA GLAZE (OPTIONAL BUT DELICIOUS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU PREFER A SWEETER BAR):
1/2cuppowdered sugar— sifted
1/2teaspoonpure vanilla extract
1tablespoonmilk— any kind you like
Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs two sides like handles.
In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, ginger, and salt. Pour in the melted butter and stir until it forms clumps and the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumble mixture, then press the rest into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan.
Scatter half of the strawberries over the crust. Sprinkle the cornstarch evenly over the top, then sprinkle on the lemon juice and 1/2 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Scatter on the remaining berries, then the remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs evenly over the top. You will have some fruit showing through.
Bake the bars for 35 to 40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbly and the crumb topping smells toasty and looks golden. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely (you can speed this process along in the refrigerator).
While the bars cool, prepare the glaze: In a medium bowl, briskly whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth. Feel free to add more milk if a thinner consistency is desired. Using the parchment-paper handles, lift the bars from the pan. Drizzle with glaze, slice, and serve.