Chocolate Strawberry Bars

1 stick unsalted butter

1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 c. sugar

2 T. heavy cream

1 large egg

1 1/2 c. finely ground graham cracker crumbs

1 c. sliced almonds

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 (1 oz.) package freeze-dried strawberries

2 c. white chocolate chips

1/4 c. heavy cream

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1 T. vegetable shortening

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8” square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides.  Melt the butter with the cocoa powder and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Whisk the heavy cream and the egg in a small bowl.. Whisk in a few tablespoons of the cocoa mixture, then pour into the saucepan.  Cook, whisking, until combined and thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and stir in the graham cracker crumbs, almonds and vanilla.  Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Transfer to a rack and let cool completely in the pan.

Meanwhile, make the filling:  Pulse 1 cup of the freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor until slightly powdery with a few pieces remaining.  Set aside the remaining strawberries for topping the bars.

Put the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, then pour over the white chocolate chips.  Let sit for 5 minutes, stir.  If the chips are not fully melted, microwave in 20 second intervals until smooth.  Stir in the strawberry powder.  Spread this mixture over the cooled crust.  Cover and refrigerate about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the topping;  Microwave the semisweet chocolate chips with the shortening in a small microwave-safe bowl in 20 second intervals, stirring, until melted and smooth.  Let cool slight.  Spread evenly over the filling.  Gently crush the reserved freeze-dried strawberries and sprinkle over the top.  Cover and refrigerate until set.  Lift out of the pan and cut into bars.

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