It is March now and a very mild winter in the Pacific Northwest has rendered the valley that I call home alive with blooming flowers and the first of the spring grass (as is important to us farmer types). The ground is still yet too damp to work up and frost comes too often to consider planting the garden. But I yearn for the textures, flavor and aromas of full blown spring. Rhubarb is that perfect, refreshing bright beacon of the spring to come. So for the Nitty Gritty Man’s birthday, I was inclined to produce something to celebrate his special day and the coming season. These easy-peasy rhubarb bar cookies, topped with just a little vanilla bean ice cream were the perfect indulgence for a weekday celebration.
I am going to let you in on a little secret – the rhubarb season is not yet in full swing here in Oregon as of the date I composed this post. Pssst, I had some pre-sliced and frozen in the freezer. There are moments in my life when I just adore “past me” – like when a major step in the prepping process is already done. So while I await the fresh stuff for jams and pies, this little rhubarb cookie doesn’t even suggest that its star ingredient spent a lengthy hibernation in my freezer.
Here again is a treat. A sugary, buttery, naughty, not altogether “good for you” treat. But these rhubarb bar cookies are just that – a TREAT! I spend a lot of time and effort making sure that my family eats a balanced and healthy diet loaded with fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, free ranged eggs, grass fed meats and dairy and wholesome minimally processed grains, so I don’t carry even a smidge of guilt about indulging ourselves with some naughty morsels every once in a while. Feel free to adjust the recipe according to your preference or dietary restrictions (in fact, I think that almond meal would be a wonderful GF flour substitute in this recipe).
- 4 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, sliced approximately 1/4″ thick
- 1 cup organic sugar
- 3/4 water
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups all purpose flour (or almond meal for a GF option)
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup butter, cut into small cubes and softened
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a medium sauce pan, combine rhubarb, organic sugar and water. simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until thickened to a jammy consistency, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and allow to cool.
- Place remaining dry ingredients into the bowl of stand mixer or food processor. Pulse or mix to combine. Add the butter and pulse or mix until the mixture becomes a coarse meal.
- Firmly press about 2/3 of the crumb mixture into a lightly greased 9″x13″ pan. Pour cooled rhubarb mixture over crumb bottom, distributing evenly. Use the remaining crumb to sprinkle of the top of the rhubarb mixture, leaving small windows of rhubarb showing through.
- Bake on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, until crumb topping becomes lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting with a sharp knife.