Buttery Rhubarb Crumb Bars
I’m pleased to welcome our newest guest blogger, Taryn Collins of Sweetly Serendipity. She’s a food obsessed Bostonian who dreams of owning her own bakery. A professional blogger for over 7 years, we are excited to have her onboard!
This rhubarb crumb bar recipe is a true summer treat, and highlights rhubarb in all it’s glory. A dense, buttery cake gets shrouded by a generous layer of lightly sweetened rhubarb, and topped again with the most magnificent sweet and salty crumble. The play on flavors and textures strikes just the right balance for a truly decadent summer dessert.
My appreciation for and adoration of rhubarb started at an early age and these rhubarb crumb bars showcase the magic of this summer “fruit”! The plant — not truly a fruit, though often referred to as one — grows freely in my grandparents’ backyard, and as kids we would throw giant stalks into the pool, and bob for it like you might bob for an apple on Halloween. I probably consumed an unhealthy amount of chlorinated water in those days, but I was never happier.
Rhubarb is a magical plant. It’s hardy and prolific, uniquely tart and bizarrely textured, and one of my all-time favorite baking ingredients. More than any other ingredient, it goes through the most stunning transformation when baked, and has a distinct and wonderful flavor that I can’t get enough of. I love it with the traditional strawberry pairing, but think it can also shine just on it’s own.
Buttery Rhubarb Crumb Bars
Yields: 16 bars
For The Struesel:
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (can also substitute “Cup 4 Cup” gluten free flour mix)
For The Filling:
- 1 lb rhubarb, cut into ½” pieces
- 3 tblsp brown sugar
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided (see above for gluten free substitution)
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting finished bars
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9×9” baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on 2 sides (you’ll use these to help remove the bars from the pan later). Butter and flour parchment paper and pan, tapping out the excess flour, and set aside.
- For the streusel: In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, and salt. Add the flour and continue mixing with a fork until ingredients are well incorporated, and large crumbs start to form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- For the bars:
- In a medium bowl, add the rhubarb, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of the flour. Mix well to coat the rhubarb entirely.
- In a separate medium bowl, add the remaining 1¼ cups of flour, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a separate large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla and beat to combine, then add the flour mixture and continue beating until well incorporated.
- Spread the batter in your prepared pan. Top the batter evenly with the rhubarb mixture, then top the rhubarb with your prepared streusel.
- Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, about 50 to 55 minutes (to be safe, you can start checking after 45 minutes). Let cool completely in in the pan.
When ready to serve, run a knife around the edge of the pan, and using the parchment paper overhang, lift the rhubarb crumb bars from the pan and place on a cutting board.
You can serve these rhubarb crumb bars with a dusting of powdered sugar, a dollop of fresh whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you’re feeling indulgent. You can even top the ice cream with some rhubarb compote (recipe here). These buttery rhubarb crumb bars also taste great on their own. Bring them to the office and watch them disappear!
Special Equipment Required:
- Electric hand or stand mixer with paddle attachment
- 9×9″ square baking pan
can be made gluten free