Strawberry Squares

This recipe for strawberries that are mixed with egg whites, whipping cream and sugar and then frozen between layers of crunchy nuts was a favorite of mine a long time ago.  I still remember the reason I didn’t make it very often though and why it eventually lost favor with me. It was a mess to make. Whipping the egg whites and whipping cream was easy enough but it was the addition of those strawberries that did me in. They would wrap around the beaters of my little handheld mixer and whip that mixture all over the place. So making this dessert was a true labor of love; it also meant wiping down not just counter tops but the floor and often cabinets too!

So what inspired me to give it another try beyond nostalgia (trust me I  had no nostalgia for the mess!). A couple of things. First, I can’t discount my love of strawberries and how I love to find new ways to use the bounty of the amazing berries we get in the spring; I’m remembering how much I love this dessert and it was time. The resulting texture is much like ice cream and when coupled with the combination of the brown sugar, flour, butter and nut crumble; they are simple yet simply divine. Secondly I had the notion that my larger capacity stand mixture would make easier work this time around and thankfully that was true. I did put the mixer attachment on that is actually used to make adding flour and other dry ingredients easier as a protective collar and it was just enough to catch the few droplets that were determined to make their way to my white cabinet doors.

But one of the main reasons? I think a great example of our food culture is within the story of this dessert and it serves to illustrate again why I feel so strongly about the current food blogging notions regarding  ‘recipe ownership.’ That notion coupled with the immediacy of the Internet has made this a situation that I think in many ways ruins the entire sense of how food has fit into many of our lives for decades. It’s meaning for me has always been a way to nurture those I love everyday, that time and attention to detail that says ‘I care’ in every bite. To show others that same sense through a gift of cookies, a pot of soup during an illness or a special cake for an even more special event.

Now it’s too often about inbound links and hits and revenue and an ugliness in that quest for those that has an entire generation of cooks not just claiming ownership of recipes but publicly maligning those they feel have ‘stolen’ from them. It’s not just ugly and rude; it’s plain wrong.Yes, I’ve had my own experience. A demand to take down my version of this Strawberry Pie recipe that I’m sure I was making before the person making the demand was born…another recipe from this very same cookbook as a matter of fact!

Why did this dessert so clearly illustrate to me why this is so often too much ado about nothing? I saw Amy of the website ‘She Wears Many Hats’ publish a post last summer about Strawberry Squares and she made a point of attributing them to her Aunt Carole’s  “Hearts Go Home for the Holidays” Cookbook; a cookbook her aunt had compiled for family members with her favorite recipes. I knew as soon as I saw the recipe that it was the same one I had used for years from an old version of ‘Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook’ published in the early 70’s. I suppose if I were BH&G I could make quite a scene with Amy about this not being her aunt’s recipe but before this whole food blogging thing, the sharing of recipes with friends and family was a given. No one expected that their name would forever be attached to a recipe. We just wanted to share with others something we loved. It really was that simple.

I for one think that one thing in this story of ‘recipe wars’ that is totally forgotten is that in the making of a recipe some ownership has got to be handed over to the maker of the dish. It’s not as if the ingredients miraculously hop off the page onto a prepared table where a camera is setup and ready to snap a pic with no interference whatsoever from human hands. Once I put my time and effort into anything…that recipe has MY name on it too. I’ve said it before and I remain steadfast in this. If I use a recipe from someone else, I will attribute but I will not forgo including the recipe on my site. This is my journal of what I prepare, not a marketing tool to push the websites or cookbooks of others. Weren’t they equally inspired in some way?

I’ve started a new practice that is particularly eye opening. After I develop something on my own and feel it’s successful enough to blog about I do a Google search. The results serve to prove my own point. Sorbets combining garden herbs and liqueurs from my bar? Done. A patty melt with jalapeno peppers and pepper jack cheese? That too. Strawberry Squares? Lots of different ones including an almost identical one on and and none referencing the one I have that precedes those by decades.

What is my point? Well, first this is a great dessert and I for one am happy that Amy chose to include this recipe from her Aunt Carole’s cookbook. As a reminder for me and I’m hoping as something new for someone else because first things first; it’s particularly perfect in spring or summer when fresh strawberries are in abundance. Beyond that it’s just a reflex to the continuous complaining that gets wearisome. Food and the preparation of it is about nurturing and caring for others. Our sharing it should be for the same reasons. That is all. :)

Strawberry Squares
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10-12 Servings
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries, crushed/smashed
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix first four ingredients and bake in shallow pan at . Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from oven when done and cool.
  3. Spread ⅔ of crumb mixture in 9X13" pan.
  4. Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form and set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl with clean beaters, combine egg whites, sugar, berries and lemon juice; beat on high speed for 10 minutes.
  6. Fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture and spoon over crumbs. Sprinkle remaining ⅓ of crumbs over top.
  7. Freeze for minimum of 4 hours; slice and serve.
  8. Sprinkle remaining crust/crumb mixture on top.
  9. Freeze for 3-6 hours.
  10. Cut in squares to serve. Garnish with additional strawberries if desired.


    • Creative Culinary says

      We have never worried about it but if you do, you could try finding eggs that have been pasteurized. I use fresh eggs, always wash the outside with antibacterial soap before cracking and have never had an issue but it is personal preference Shirley.

  1. Nicole says

    My family loves this recipe. My grandmother made a similar dessert. Instead of the nutty crust, her crust made with Oreos. The chocolate crust compliments the fruit. Use the food processor to crush the Oreos (the whole package). Save about 1/3 cup of the Oreos. Pat the Oreos in the bottom of your pan and use the remaining 1/3 cup to sprinkle on top. She also used raspberries as an alternative to strawberries. Thanks for bringing this recipe back to life again!

    • Creative Culinary says

      I’ve loved this recipe for more years than I want to admit…but making it was always a pain; silly me for not figuring a way to cover the bowl because I always had a mess to clean up afterwards. Everywhere! A chocolate crust sounds good too…I’ll have to try that!

  2. says

    Huh. So you beat the egg whites and berries at the same time? I was thinking you’d beat the whites and sugar separately, beat the cream separately, and then fold everything together, adding the berries. I guess it would get messy. This looks like some semifreddo action with a bit of crunchy goodness. Wow, I’d love some right about now. ; )

    • Creative Culinary says

      You do which is why with a much older mixer so much of the strawberry stuff got flung outside the mixing bowl. The strawberries break up much more, not leaving any big size pieces but becoming a part of the mix and of course giving it that pretty pink color too.

      I could sit and eat the whole tray. Don’t tell. :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thank you so much…glad you found me too! This recipe is truly one I’ve been making for 30+ years and sort of forgot about. I’m glad I rediscovered my own recipe; they are so good. Enjoy and welcome!

  3. Dee says

    Although I was attracted to this post because of the recipe, I found it quite interesting for other reasons.
    Recipes cannot be copyrighted, for many of the reasons that the comments have mentioned. A biscuit recipe contains flour, fat, and leavening. How original can it be? Somewhere someone has added every dried fruit or flavoring imaginable, dozens of times over.
    So, nobody “owns” a recipe.
    The ownership comes into play with the photos or personal comments regarding the recipe.
    In the publishing word, it is considered good form to mention your source (that source probably had their own source too!)
    Relax. Your friends will still rave about your dish at the potluck.
    PS English being the language it is I must mention that the “your” in the above sentence refers to the universal you and not a specific you.

    • Creative Culinary says

      All that being said Dee…amazing how many people ignore copyright laws when it comes to that issue. They made it and doggone it, it’s theirs! I am a staunch supporter of those laws when the issue is evident; though I don’t even take the time to hunt down people who take my photos. I would rather spend my time on something new and let them just have it! Not a popular methodology but it works for me. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by.

  4. says

    I love your recipe! I can’t believe I missed this beautiful thing:-) I love finding recipes that bring back happy memories! Beautiful! Hugs, Terra

    • Creative Culinary says

      I’m glad you didn’t miss them too…they are really SO good. I have to plan them only when I have company; I know I could finish the entire thing myself; just ‘one more bite’ at a time. :)

  5. says

    Your photos always make me want to head home and cook :) but seriously, I’m in absolute agreement with your post. IMO, recipes are made for sharing. Your blog is your haven for sharing a sip or a slice of something that was made with love and we appreciate you doing that. This whole “Recipe Wars” nonsense drives me batty. Food blogging is about community – I think that many lose sight of that in their quest for the 10 sec. of fleeting internet “fame”.

    • Creative Culinary says

      You hit several nails on the head with your comment. It’s sort of beyond me and certainly unbecoming to those that are so desperate for that fame that they lose sight of the community aspect altogether. It can be awfully lonely at the top I hear. :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      I recall when I made this when I was younger that I used the frozen strawberries; they are even better with fresh. I love how many people remember these from someone or somewhere.

  6. says

    As Lora said, I love your spunk! I agree. There are so many older recipes that are being published without crediting the orginal reference. I am sure some of this is innocent, but I do believe that many older cookbooks from Junior Leagues and churches are being pilfered with no attribution.

    Bunkycooks Most Recent Post: Honor The Animal

    • Creative Culinary says

      That might be true Gwen but those contributors simply give their names; they don’t attribute ‘an original source’ probably because no one remembers who gave them that recipe card!

      I think the whole attribution thing is a bit nuts as well as a lot of egos along with it!

  7. says

    What a great post Barb, and some very valid and interesting points. It does seem as though everything has been done at some point. Like you, when I come up with a recipe I Google it only to find it’s been done before. You’re right, we are all inspired in some way by what we see and eat, and that inspiration will pop up in recipes we create.

    My Grandmother always told me the secret ingredient to any recipe is love, and that no matter whether you follow a recipe to the letter the way you cook it is unique and will never taste exactly the same as the way someone else makes it. I think that’s true.

    By the way, I love your strawberry squares too. Strawberries are always a hit in our house.
    Jennifer (Delicieux) Most Recent Post: Banana ANZAC muffins – sugar free

    • Creative Culinary says

      I’ll probably stop doing that soon…it was sort of my own field work to backup my theory, and they did! Your Grandmother was so right…we all bring something of our self to what we do and hopefully a part of that is love.

      Thanks too…they are so simple and so wonderful I had neighbors here ready to help me devour them else I was afraid I would. Devour them. All by myself. :)

  8. says

    Strawberries were first and foremost on my mind today, unfortunately I dried mine, otherwise I would have made these bars!

    Whenever I create a dish, I no longer Google, because even when I feel like I’m being original it seems like someone has thought of it too. I know when I didn’t use someone else’s recipe so I’m okay with it. Plus I always attribute the origins of a recipe when I use one.

    I think you made some very good points.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Me too! I read someone not too long ago suggest that if we Google a recipe and find someone else made it to attribute it to them…now that is plain crazy talk! I’ve been doing it as sort of a test but won’t continue forever, just want to validate my point, even to myself.

  9. says

    A great post, Barb, with very interesting points. Although I have to say that is my mom’s recipe. Kidding! ;) I like your spunk and your passion in expressing a view. I also really like the creamy middle of the bars and I really do remember my mom making these bars when I was little. This was a yummy blast from the past!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Well, your mom did good! :)

      I guess I do feel passionate about this issue and it’s not that I don’t respect creativity; I do. Guess what I don’t respect is the arrogance of some that seem to think they have invented recipes and as a result I really dislike the subsequent whining and/or calling out of others. They often have me thinking…’me think thou doth protest too much’ too!

  10. Melanie says

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I have that same cookbook…page 218!! I’ve never tried the Strawberry Squares but I’m going to now! If you like rhubarb…page 272 has a rhubarb custard pie that has been made in my family for at least 60-70 years… I think it must have been in the B H & G cookbook that pre-dates mine.. anyway it’s DELISH! Even people that claim they don’t like rhubarb LOVE that pie!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Creative Culinary says

      I will look tomorrow…how fun huh? It’s a simple cookbook with some of my favorite recipes; so glad you are lucky to have one too!

  11. says

    Strawberries are my fav too…..looks beautiful am sure it must have tasted great too. Great post Barbara…reminded me of something that happened to me. Long back, another blogger stole my recipe…jes changed the conversions from cups to gms and felt they were smart enough and no body would understand. Well all I cud then is to feel bad!

    • Creative Culinary says

      The thing is Nina that I just think unless it’s something completely unusual with unusual ingredients that it’s easy for more than one person to have come up with a similar if not same recipe. You should see my post on a jalapeno patty melt. Doggone Carl’s Junior makes EXACTLY the same thing, even down to the layering of the ingredients…but I had never seen it before I made my own. I prefer to think it’s just circumstance and not get all wrapped up in the notion of stealing…but rather sharing. :)

  12. says

    It’s rare that I come across a dessert from “that era” (yeah, you know the one I’m talking about!!) that I haven’t either had or heard about … so the question of course is “where in the WORLD have I been??” This dessert is so “my kind of dessert”!!! The strawberry stand up the street just opened so guess what I am going to be making very soon?? This!!!
    As far as recipe atrribution, I could not agree with you more Barb and am so glad that there is a “voice of reason” out there in the blogging world – keep up the good work!!!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Such a seemingly innocuous little dessert I could see it being passed over but now you know! I don’t know if all will think I am the voice of reason Nancy but I sure feel passionate about this topic. Recipes were actually invented before food blogging. :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thanks on both points…sometimes my simple foodie self takes a back seat to ME…and I feel passionate about some of this stuff; this issue being my top one.

  13. says

    Barb I love your views on this and in a way you are very right. But I guess today many want to make sure their name is attached to what they have created simply because they know it will be all over the internet. Maybe they need their 15 minutes, maybe they feel attached to it. It’s a very thin line where recipe attribution is concerned.

    I am glad that you shared this recipe as it looks divine and can hardly wait till strawberry season starts here. thanks for sharing ;o)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Maybe Meeta but here is one thing that no one seems to consider. Were they inspired? Did they NEVER have something, somewhere that consisted of similar ingredients. Was a memory important to what came from their creative brain that they’re not even aware of. There is very little that is new or so unique that 99.9% of the people out there have no right bellyaching over this issue. They’re getting their fame alright…but maybe not in the way they expected. I told someone not too long ago…I’m more tired of the whiners than I am of someone not attributing. Often that’s an oversight and not even purposeful. The whining is. :)

  14. Robin says

    I agree totally with you about recipes. I think it is a way of showing you care about someone when you are willing to share a recipe with them. Specially one that you really, really enjoy. I would think, unless you were prideful and selfish, that you would want EVERYONE to experience the same joy and pleasure you felt when you taste a recipe that is really a good one, where the flavors compliment each other and make your taste buds sing!

    • Creative Culinary says

      YES! Sadly revenue generation on blogs has changed this perspective. I don’t have a problem with people making money…but when it becomes so paramount that the whole notion of food and how it fits into our culture gets forgotten, well, guess I have a problem with that.

  15. says

    great post Barb. I do the google searching too!! I just went through this with a recipe given to me by my SIL that ultimately came from my MIL. MIL is upset that she didn’t receive attribution in a magazine feature. Her recipe was changed by me and after several discussions, I learned that it wasn’t even hers to begin with. So why the hubbub? It’s tiring but I will continue to make what I want and attribute when necessary. Now – let’s eat some strawberry squares. :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Sort of eye opening isn’t it…and I won’t deny I do it because I’m adamant about this issue and even though I might think I’m creative in the kitchen…I’m seldom the only one! :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thank so much Danijela…it’s is a great, simple recipe and perfect for spring berries. And the same to you…have a great week.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Would you cook it and sweeten it during that process? I see no reason why lots of berries or fruits couldn’t be substituted Lindsay. Please let me know if you try.

    • Creative Culinary says

      As long as you have a place to freeze them…they will thaw and melt just like ice cream. Or as long as you have spoons. :)

  16. says

    Such a perfect way to start the summer season (here its already that hot). As you already know, I completely agree with you about recipe ownership.

  17. says

    A beautiful recipe, Barb, and one that I, too, have made many times from that old BHG edition. You know well my feelings on the notion that anyone can “own” a recipe. My viewpoint is this – my blog is a place where I share recipes that I have made and enjoyed. If I’m using a recipe from another source, I always try to remember to mention it. But as far as blogging goes – I feel that once I do the shopping, the cooking, and the photographing, then I have the right to blog my “experience” of that recipe. All this bickering about recipe ownership is petty and childish…just my two cents.
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme Most Recent Post: Pepperoni Pizza Grilled Cheese

    • Creative Culinary says

      Well together we have four cents! On the exact same page Lana. Not just what we do but the weariness of the bickering; it is so unbecoming.

  18. says

    Lovely post and what a fantastic fresh looking dessert! I particularly like what you say about ownership – that making a recipe imparts yourself into the dish as well – because you are totally right, those ingredients do not just hop up and make themselves into the foods we love!
    Jenn Most Recent Post: Shrimp and Rice Noodle Salad

    • Creative Culinary says

      Now if they did…OK, then I might link to someone else for the recipe; that would be nice huh? :)

  19. says

    Glad to know that your white cabinet doors survived a dessert that looks delectable. As you know, my mother-in-law’s tomato recipe is one of the most “reused” recipes around. As home cooks, we are flattered that people enjoy the recipe enough to feed their family and friends. In addition, when someone makes it their own, ie: adding jalapeno peppers, it becomes theirs. We just want people to eat fresh good tasting foods.
    Lael Hazan @educatedpalate Most Recent Post: American Politics and Food: Sandra Lee

    • Creative Culinary says

      Exactly…I share willingly so someone can make it their own; nothing makes me happier than someone trying something and enjoying it and I do love to hear that but I figure once I share it online…it’s up for grabs and no longer’ mine.’

  20. says

    You had me at ‘texture much like ice cream’. This is a fantastic recipe, and kudos to whoever did the ‘original’ leg work, but this whole recipe attribution bullying goes overboard, as does those who do not give any attribution at all, and would like you to believe they came up with the recipe themselves by changing the amount of salt a titch. Great read as always, and these are definitely on my summer baking list.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Do you know my daughter…she uses that word titch and I seldom hear anyone else do that! Hey, for all we know BH&G got it from somewhere else right?

  21. says

    I couldn’t agree more. Cooking and recipes are about sharing, first and foremost. Every single recipe that each of us make and spend so much time “developing” has been done before. We’re all adapting whether we think so or not. If done correctly, it’s a GREAT thing! This dessert is new to me and it’s definitely going to be made this summer! Thanks for sharing.
    kelley {mountain mama cooks} Most Recent Post: Salted Peanut Butter Rolo Cookies

    • Creative Culinary says

      See…just one more reason this ‘not quite mountain mama’ and you need to get together…this perspective is so mine too!

  22. says

    Geez! I don’t care who came up with this recipe, I’m making it. I am with you 100 percent. With my contesting history I have run into this same problem many times. You think you have come up with something you can call you own and it has been done before, and usually many times. On occasion, there is an exception to this and you do hit on something original. Then the reward is having people love it, and if it does become a favorite, make it many times over. You and I have talked about this before and agreed that this is why we started blogging. To spread the love of good recipes.

  23. says

    Beautiful, I also really love strawberries, these squares look light and creamy and delicious. I often get recipes from my Mother and she cannot always remember where they came from, you are so right when you spend time and effort on a recipe it becomes yours, I do always try to give credit where credit is due when I can. I love the BH&G cookbook and my Mom still uses hers, it’s old and stained, love seeing that red and white checkered cover, it brings me back to my childhood. This is such a wonderful recipe.

    • Creative Culinary says

      I can’t deny I am passionate about this issue…maybe because of my decades of cooking experience and never seeing anything quite like the current climate; the need to claim something and get ‘credit’ for it.

  24. says

    Barb, I too have many recipes that my mother collected over the years on bits of paper, some cut out of magazines, some hand-written and I too, and I don’t know where they originated to even begin to credit them back on my blog. This is such a high-charged issue these days and I always appreciate your honesty and point of view as I am so new to the blogging world, but certainly not new to making, baking and sharing food :) Beautiful photos as always.
    Wendy Read – Sunchowder Most Recent Post: Savory Gruyere and Corn Relish Bread Pudding

  25. says

    It really is getting frustrating and head scratching out there, isn’t it? I have to keep telling myself to just ignore it all and keep going on my way. It’s not always easy.

    These squares, like Jamie said, are a great way to get that ice cream feel without having to make ice cream. I love that! You got me at the crunchy topping!

    • Creative Culinary says

      It is and I do the same Elle and then every once in a while something brings it up to me and this recipe just was a great illustration of how recipes have been shared all over this country and world. Beyond that we are all inspired by cooking shows, magazines and more. Even those that insist it is ‘theirs’ had some inspiration from somewhere! Not to lament one group but I do think the younger bloggers, often with the entitlement that seems to come with younger generations, are the worst offenders. Those of us that are older and more experienced seem to see this from a larger, more global perspective and got into blogging not to be a star or to get rich but because we really love sharing what we do. Such different camps for sure.

    • Creative Culinary says

      A very real hot damn back in the day..or maybe just a Damn IT! I shouldn’t have waited so long to try my KitchenAid; I’ve missed a whole lotta years! :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thanks Georgie…there is simply no doubt that the nutting top and bottom layers sort of make this dessert special. I have to work very hard at not eating it all by itself.

  26. says

    I have many recipes handed down to me from my mom or dad and I have no idea where the original recipe may have come from, yet in that simple attribution I declare that the recipe is not my own invention and that truly it was somewhere along the line a labor of love handed down and around and shared. As are most recipes, as you say. I have one edition of this book taken from my mother’s cupboard and love it and love the recipes. This is one fabulous bar and maybe I’ll try it with mixed berries this summer. I love that it is like an ice cream treat without the trouble (for me) of making ice cream. And the crunchy topping is perfect for a creamy treat! Fabulous, Barb!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thanks Jamie; it is simple and so good. The recipe does have a substitution for using frozen berries but for me; this is a fresh berry dessert.

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