Rhubarb Streusel Bars

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My friend Lisa has a rhubarb plant volunteering in her yard. When she asked me if I wanted to help myself, I *jumped* at the chance!  Freshly-cut, organic rhubarb?!?!? For free?!?!?  Yes, please!

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I harvested 10 pounds, and once the leaves were trimmed and each stalk was scrubbed, I probably had 7 pounds. I don’t expect you to ever have your hands on 7 pounds of fresh rhubarb, so scale the rhubarb-compote recipe accordingly.

  • 7 pounds rhubarb, large diced
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • zest of 3 oranges, minced

Combine in a large stock pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring periodically until you rhubarb starts to exude its own juice and rhubarb starts to simmer. Turn to medium-low heat and allow rhubarb to simmer and break-down into a pink, fiber-ous compote.  Taste and adjust sugar-content, if desired. This should taste sweet-tart, and not overly sweet.  Allow to cool.  You will need 4 cups for this recipe. Freeze the rest, to use in other recipes. Or you could can it to give as gifts of rhubarb compote — very good over oatmeal or granola, over ice cream or vanilla pudding, or just eaten, as is.

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As it cools, work on bar-cookie-base:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar

Stir together.

  • 1 egg

Add and stir to combine.

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Add and stir to combine. Dough will be very dry (see above in bottom right of photo). Line 9″x13″ baking pan with parchment paper. Press dough evenly into bottom of pan.

Make streusel topping:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup chopped, toasted  nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts are all good choices)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir to combine. With clean hands, you can also use your hands to combine ingredients (my preferred method).

Assemble bar-cookies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove 4 cups of rhubarb compote into a separate, smaller bowl and add 1-1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch. Use whisk to stir to combine, making sure there aren’t lumps of cornstarch.  Spread cornstarch-compote over bar-cookie base.  Sprinkle streusel topping over rhubarb.

Bake 35-40 minutes. Streusel topping should be light brown. Let cool before cutting.

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Yield: approximately 40 bar cookies, if cut 8 rows wide and 5 rows across.  These freeze beautifully. They are good warmed with vanilla ice cream, with more rhubarb compote spooned over top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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