Pink Lemonade Freezer Bars
Let’s pretend that you’ve just been invited to a baby shower, bridal shower, your daughter is having an impromtu slumber party for 7 of her closest little friends, you need to bring a dessert at the last minute to the Little League baseball team potluck dinner, and you have no idea what to make and definitely have zero time to slave away.
This is your saving grace.
It’s an easy, no-bake little diddy, combining sweet with tart, smooth with crumbly, salty with sweet.
And you can knock it out in 15 minutes flat.
The best part of these freezer bars, in addition to being pink, is the use of one of my favorite ingredients, COOL WHIP Whipped Topping.
Copious amount of COOL WHIP in the freezer for a rainy day was totally normal in my household growing up.
This recipe is a play on something my mom used to make called Lemon Lush and when I saw this recipe on the Kraft site for No-Bake Raspberry-Lemon Bars, it got my wheels turning.
In addition to my love for the fluffy stuff, I love a good crumble topping. Actually, I am one of those people who picks off the crumble topping pieces from blueberry muffins or peach cobbler.
They are concentrated little balls of butter and sugar so of course that’s what I go for.
Except this crumb topping is not made from butter and sugar and flour.
It’s made from butter and sugar and Ritz crackers.
I have spring fever, badly. Maybe if I keep making frozen desserts spring and summer will arrive faster.
This is the type of refreshing dessert you want after a hard day at the beach.
In between that beloved crumble topping and the buttery, slightly salty Ritz cracker crust is the tangy-yet-sweet COOL WHIP middle that’s fluffy without being airy.
Prepare to be that mom, that wife, that person whom everyone at the potluck runs up to trying to find out Who made THAT dessert. And is she sharing the recipe.
Pink Lemonade Freezer Bars (No-Bake)
3 sleeves Ritz crackers (about 120 crackers, 40 per sleeve)
1/2 heaping cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks)
1 12-ounce can pink lemonade concentrate, thawed to liquid (I used Ralph’s storebrand)
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 8-ounce container COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed to room temperature
red or pink food coloring, optional (I used about one dozen drops of red food coloring)
Line a 9-by-9-inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place the crackers and powdered sugar in a food processor or blender and pulverize. (Note if you are using a Vita-Mix, you may have to stop and tamp down a couple times and “fluff” up the mixture with a spoon, then turn the machine back on. Cracker-crushing can be done by hand by placing crackers into a large ziptop food storage bag, zipping it shut, and rolling over the bag with a large glass, coffee can, or rolling pin). Place the cracker crumbs into a bowl, add the melted butter, and stir to combine. Press a little less than 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, set the pan aside, and reserve the remaining 1/4 of the cracker crumbs.
In a large mixing bowl, combine pink lemonade concentrate, sweetened condensed milk, and stir until homogenous. Add the COOL WHIP and stir until homogenous. If desired, add food coloring drops to desired shade and stir until color is uniform. Pour the mixture over the crust, noting that you may have an extra half cup or so of the mixture depending on the height of your pan; do not overfill the pan. Use the extra mixture for a mini-tartlette, as a dip for fruit, or just eat it. Top the mixture with the remaining cracker crumbs by sprinkling them over the top. Place pan into the freezer to set up for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving. Store extra dessert in the freezer.
Recipe tweaks and notes:
I used Original Ritz Crackers but there are Low-Salt, Honey Butter, and Reduced Fat varieties that could work; or use another type of cracker, a handful of pretzels, or potato chips. Prepare and use approximately 3 cups of crumbs.
Graham cracker crumbs could be substituted. If using graham cracker crumbs, omit the powdered sugar. Prepare and use approximately 3 cups of crumbs.
Alternatively, you could use a prepared pie crust such as a graham cracker crust and pour the filling into it. I surmise you will be able to fill two 8-inch or 9-inch pie tins with the quantity of pink filling mixture the recipe yields.
Before sprinkling the final layer of cracker crumbs over the top, sprinkle 1/2 cup white chocolate chips.
You can make this in a 9-by-13-inch pan however the bars will be much thinner and the crust will be much thinner. I prefer the smaller pan and thicker bars and a thicker crust.
Gather the goods.
Place the crackers and powdered sugar into the cracker pulverizing container.
If you don’t have one of these or don’t have a food processor, place the crackers and sugar into a large ziptop bag and roll a glass or a rolling pin over it until you have crumbs.
Or hit the power-on switch for about 5 seconds.
Oh, the power.
How do you make Ritz crackers better? You crush them and add butter and sugar.
Stir until this hot mess combines and a dough forms.
Press slightly less than three-quarters of the dough into the prepared pan, reserving the remainder for the crumble topping.
Crack the seal on the thawed container of COOL WHIP.
How do you make a can of pink lemonade juice concentrate become amazing?
Add a can of sweetened condensed milk and a container of COOL WHIP. That’ll do the trick.
Pour the pink mixture over the crust, add the crumb topping, and freeze.
Allow this to set up for at least four hours. While waiting, remember that patience is a virtue.
The middle pink layer never quite freezes solid so you don’t have to struggle to slice it, yet it has a surprisingly long room temperature “shelf life” before it begins to melt.
Must be one of those magical properties of COOL WHIP.
I always go for that bite of softserve that is just slightly melty. This dessert tastes even creamier when it just begins to melt and is going to be my summertime go-to dessert.
Or my put-a-smile-on-my-family’s-face-in-a-hurry-dessert.
Another Ritz Cracker recipe:
Ritz-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cups (Vegan, use a GF cracker to make GF)
Related Sweet ‘n Salty Recipes:
Pretzel Peanut Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles (with Vegan & GF options)
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, laced with pretzels, encased in chocolate, and topped with more pretzels.
Compost Cookies – Chips of all kinds are included: Potato chips, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips.
Sweet, a hint of salty, and full of texture.
Do you have any favorite recipes using COOL WHIP?
Links welcome and I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to use COOL WHIP and what you make with it.
As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received coupons for free COOL WHIP Whipped Topping and a stipend. Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content.
What you add makes it. #coolwhipmoms