Monday, May 31, 2010

Rhubarb Crumb Bars

When we moved into our new home and began poking around our yard this spring, I realized we had rhubarb growing along one of the fences. Let me tell you - there was excitement.

Do you know what I did to that poor, unsuspecting rhubarb? I plucked it bare. The first thing I made was a rhubarb pie - a new recipe. Total fail. Must learn to stick with tried and true recipes. Second thing? These crumb bars. Definitely
not a total fail.

But then I realized
lifeless my rhubarb plant looked with no foliage, no ruby red stalks. Had I...maybe it was...we've been living here less than six months and already I've decimated something that's probably been living here longer than I've been alive?!?

Total panic and utter embarrassment ensued. My in laws are gardening pros. They are really going to notice this. Maybe if I just never mention rhubarb again, and if they ask how my rhubarb is doing I'll just make a quizzical face - like, what rhubarb?

Several afternoons ago, I hesitantly walked over to the where the plant had previously been flourishing. Leaves! Tightly furled and quite dark, very new looking and very relief-inducing leaves! I haven't killed my rhubarb!

My mother in law made these rhubarb crumb bars last year and we thought they were delicious, so I bookmarked the recipe.

Rhubarb may not be the most popular fruit (vegetable?) but these bars are really quite good. The cake is moist and tender and the streusel, well, who doesn't like streusel? The rhubarb itself lends a certain tartness to the bars that overall might just convince a person to give rhubarb a fighting chance.

Rhubarb Crumb Bars
Martha Stewart
Makes 16 squares

For the streusel:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus softened butter for pan
1 cup flour, plus more for pan
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the cake:
1/2 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8 inch square baking pan. Line with parchment leaving an overhang on two sides. Butter and flour parchment and pan, tapping out excess flour.

Make the streusel by whisking butter, brown sugar and salt. Add flour and stir with fork till large crumbs form. Refrigerate til ready to use.

In a medium bowl, combine rhubarb, brown sugar and 1/4 cup flour. In another medium bowl, whisk 3/4 cup flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. With mixer on low, beat in vanilla then flour mixture. Spread batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with rhubarb and top with streusel.

Bake til golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 45-50 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift out cake and cut into 16 bars.

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  1. These look so good! My husband LOVES rhubarb...I do too but not to the extent he does! Anyway, rule of thumb is to never pull more than half the plant at any time. Since you have some coming, it may be best to leave those grow so the plant can store some energy before winter. Just something to consider. :) Love your blog, I don't post often, but I have you in my reader and enjoy your posts.

  2. I will be making these soon. I still have lots of rhubarb:)

  3. So glad you didn't kill your rhubarb plant. The rhubarb bars look wonderful and I'll have to give them a try.


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