"I always keep a box of fresh strawberries on hand when I know my grandchildren are coming to visit," says reader Anna T. of Naples, Florida. That's because she knows she's going to make this cool and easy dessert, in which a simple graham cracker crust is topped with a silky-smooth filling that gets much of its flavor from real fruit. "It's a nice alternative for a summer barbecue menu."
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter or margarine
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries or 1 package (11 ounces) frozen strawberries
1 package (3 ounces) sugar-free instant strawberry gelatin
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix graham cracker crumbs and butter together. Press 3/4 of crumb mixture into a 9x9-inch baking dish, reserving remainder for the topping.
3. Bake graham cracker crumb base for 7 minutes.
4. In a saucepan, bring strawberries to a simmer. Add strawberry gelatin and 1/2 cup of sugar. Mix together and then cool.
5. Add lemon extract into cooled strawberry mixture and combine.
6. Whip cream. Fold half of the cream into the cooled strawberry mixture. Spread this over the graham cracker crumb base.
7. Add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar to the second half of the whipped cream. Spread the whipped cream over the strawberry mixture. Sprinkle top with remaining graham cracker crumbs.
8. Refrigerate. Cut into serving portions and serve strawberry squares chilled.
Your finished product may appear slightly different from the pictured version. Our tester skipped the whipped cream topping and used a somewhat larger pan.