Watermelon Dessert Bars
August is the perfect summer month filled with hot days meant to be enjoyed by the pool. When I think of summer in August I think of the delicious taste of watermelon. This sweet fruit is at its peak in August and is the perfect cool and healthy treat. There are so many ways to enjoy watermelon. Cut it up and eat it as is, add it to a salad, or my personal favorite turn it into a mouthwatering dessert.
Watermelon Bars are the perfect dessert to make with any leftover watermelon you might have. These creamy and refreshing bars are easy and taste amazing on a hot summers day!
Let’s get cooking!
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Freeze Time: 2 hrs
Total Time: 2 hrs 40 mins
12 oz round vanilla wafers
6 tbsp butter, unsalted
5 cups watermelon juice (see instructions below)
½ tsp lemon zest
½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup sugar
½ cup 2% milk
1 oz unflavored gelatin (packaged in small envelopes located in pudding and gelatin aisle)
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar or 1 cup whipped cream, for garnish
- Remove the rind from the watermelon and cut the rest of the watermelon into cubes.
- Place the watermelon cubes in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. (To save time, use a juicer if you have one).
- Strain the mixture with a strainer into a bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang on the long sides of the pan. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
- Mix the melted butter into the finely ground vanilla wafers and add 2 Tablespoons of water. Mix well and press the crumbs onto the bottom of the prepared pan, forming a crust. Bake the crust for 20 minutes and allow to cool.
- Set aside 2 cups of the watermelon juice in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 3 cups of watermelon juice with the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and milk.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the reserved 2 cups of watermelon juice. Allow to sit for 2 minutes so that gelatin can dissolve and begin to absorb liquid, or “bloom.” After the gelatin blooms, heat it in the microwave for 2 minutes on high, or heat gently in a small pot over low heat on the stove top, until the gelatin has completely melted into the juice and the liquid is smooth.
- Add the watermelon juice with the melted gelatin to the larger bowl of juice from Step 3. Stir to combine. Gently pour the mixture over the prepared crust from Step 2 and place in the freezer for 2 hours or until the mixture is firm. (Alternately, place the pan in the refrigerator and allow to set for 3 to 4 hours.)
- Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Before serving, cut the watermelon bars into squares. If desired, sprinkle each serving with confectioners’ sugar or a dollop of whipped cream.
Tip: The watermelon bars will keep in the freezer for 2 weeks or in the refrigerator for 1 week.