Easy Rhubarb Crumb Bars are a tart rhubarb compote baked up in a buttery shortbread crumb crust ~ it’s the ultimate spring rhubarb dessert!
I don’t think you could possibly imagine how I agonized over what to do with my little bag of rhubarb from the farmer’s market this week. I went back and forth looking at endless recipes, I scoured the internet, even started a rhubarb board on Pinterest…it was insane. The thing about rhubarb is that it has a wonderful tangy flavor, different from any other fruit (possibly because it’s actually a veg) and a drop dead gorgeous color that makes me crazy.
But it’s not just me, rhubarb inspires passion in a lot of people. It’s is a true harbinger of spring, being one of the first crops to be harvested as the weather warms. You’ll see hot house crops come first to market, followed by the regular harvest soon after. A lot of recipes combine rhubarb with other fruits like strawberries or peaches, but I like to use it all by itself to get the full rhubarb experience. Why mess with a great thing?
love rhubarb recipes like I do?
ingredients for rhubarb crumb bars
- fresh or frozen rhubarb will work for this recipe
- granulated sugar and brown sugar
- lemon juice
- vanilla extract
- all purpose flour
- old fashioned rolled oats
- brown sugar
- baking soda
- you can substitute cinnamon
I love love love love love these bars. I know I make a lot of this type of thing on the blog and I tried to resist, I really did. You might have made my Blackberry Pecan Bars or my Fresh Cranberry Bars already. But here’s the thing ~ every bar is uniquely delicious, and deserves its moment in the spotlight. My only excuse for peppering you with fruit bars is that they are Faaaaah. Buuuuu. Lus. These rhubarb crumb bars were so good I had to break my only taste one serving of whatever I’m photographing rule. I had two. Before lunch.
what do these rhubarb bars taste like?
These rhubarb crumb bars are a little lighter than my regular shortbread crumble bars. The rosy pink filling is flavored with vanilla…it’s basically a quick rhubarb jam. If you haven’t had rhubarb before, the flavor is like a tart raspberry. The color of your jam will vary depending on the depth of color of your rhubarb stalks, Some are green or pale pink. I always choose the deepest red stalks I can find for best color, no matter what I’m making. The simple dough is spiced with cardamom. I didn’t put that in the title because I post so many cardamom recipes some of you are starting to think of me as the crazy cardamom blogger. That’s fair. I try not to go overboard, but it’s so hard. (I have a cardamom board on Pinterest, too 🙂
storing and freezing rhubarb crumb bars
These are best the day they’re made. Fruit has a tendency to release extra moisture into baked goods as they sit (read: they can get soggy over time.) If you do need to save them overnight I would leave them on the counter, loosely covered with foil so air can get to them. Yes, they will freeze well.
I highly recommend you reserve a few of those precious rhubarb stalks to make these bars, you won’t regret it.
I just made these and they are divine, thanks for the easy recipe 🙂 ~Meaghan
Rhubarb Crumb Bars
- 9×12 baking pan
- Set oven to 350F
- Rinse and trim the ends off the rhubarb stalks. Slice them in 1 inch pieces and put in a heavy pot. Toss with the sugar, lemon juice, and water. Stirring constantly, bring the mix to a boil and cook until the rhubarb has broken down and the mixture is thick. Add a little more water if needed as it cooks if it gets too thick. This will take about 20 minutes or so. You can puree it if you want a smooth texture, I used an immersion blender and pulsed a few times to get any larger lumps, but some texture is fine. Stir in the vanilla and set aside to cool.
- To make the crust, put the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add in the butter and pulse until the mix has a texture of coarse crumbs.
- Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the mixture and press the rest into a buttered 9×13 baking pan. Pat down the crust and level it out.
- Spread the filling evenly over the crust, and then crumble the remaining dough over the filling.
- Bake for 30 minutes until golden.
- Cool before cutting.