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Kitchen Drama.  Does anyone know what I’m talking about?  You have a recipe all planned out and for some reason, it doesn’t go your way.  I take it all in stride now.  You have to adapt, use your baking skills and move on with confidence that you can pull it off and everything will be okay.  If it doesn’t turn out, that’s okay too because every baking adventure is a learning experience, good or bad!

Take these strawberry bars, for example.  The original recipe called for fresh raspberries (original recipe found here, but I could not use them because my raspberries that I bought the day before were rotten (I’m still mad at that store, lol!) I was feeling the pressure because I had a lot of other desserts to make that night, and there was no time to jump in the car and exchange them.  Thank God I had fresh strawberries in my fridge and I just substituted this ingredient and made a few other changes.  More drama:  It was also a new, untested recipe for me.  I was taking my chances, but really I had no choice.  In the end, it turned out fabulous and I got rave reviews! I can confidently add this recipe to my “tried and true” Diabetic Desserts File.

I must warn you though, as I post this recipe, the changes that I made in the recipe are from memory. I did not write down the changes as I went along, but I’m 99.9% positive.  Do not expect a dessert bar like a brownie; it’s more like one of those light gelatin pies that are cut into squares. Try these, but I’m warning you…

are you ready for some drama?

Strawberry Bars



  • 3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1-2 teaspoons Splenda Blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Strawberry Filling:

  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup Splenda Sugar Blend
  • 4 tablespoons nonfat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar

1.  To prepare crust:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

2. Food processor method:  Place flour, pecans, Splenda, and salt in a food processor; process until the nuts are finely ground.  Add butter one piece at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition, until incorporated.  Add ice water and vanilla and pulse just until the dough starts to come together.  Transfer to prepared pan.  Press evenly and firmly into the pan to form a bottom crust.

Blender method: If you do not have a food processor, use a blender (like I did):  Place flour, pecans, Splenda and salt into a blender.  Mix until nuts are finely ground.  Transfer to a medium bowl.  Using a pastry cutter or clean washed hands, add butter and mix until it forms a coarse meal consistency.  Add ice water and vanilla and mix until dough starts to come together.  Transfer to the prepared pan.  Press firmly into the pan to form a bottom crust).

3.  Bake the crust until it looks set, but not browned, about 15 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack.

4.  To prepare the strawberry filling:  Wash strawberries.  Smash strawberries in a medium bowl with a potato masher.  Transfer to a medium saucepan and to this add gelatin packet, 2 tbsp. water, and 1/4 cup Splenda Blend.  Stir.  Cook over medium heat until bubbling.

6.  Fill a large bowl with ice water.  Pour the strawberry mixture into a medium bowl and set it in the bowl of ice water.  Refrigerate, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of loose jam and is beginning to set around the edges, about 30 minutes.

7.  Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, milk, and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixture until smooth. Add strawberry mixture and mix until well incorporated.  Dollop then spread over cooled crust.  Refrigerate until the bars are completely set, about 3 hours.  Cut into 16 bars.  Serve in a muffin size paper cup.