Seasonal Baking: Rhubarb Crumb Bars

I was late to the rhubarb game.

rhubarb crumb bars

I was never exposed to it growing up, and would glance right over it on a dessert menu (admittedly, not really knowing what it was). But once I was living on my own – and baking more regularly – I discovered this delicious and versatile ingredient.

Though technically a vegetable, its tart flavor is fruit-like in taste and texture, and works beautifully in a variety of recipes – pies, jams and sauces.

I love tossing the cut up stalks with some flour and sugar and using them in cookies – like these crumb topped bars!

rhubarb crumb bars

You are going to LOVE this recipe – the cake base is light and tender. The crumb topping? Perfection – and so easy (I’m a crumb cake fanatic and this is one of the best I’ve tried). And the chopped rhubarb adds the perfect amount of tartness to offset all that sweet buttery goodness.

rhubarb crumb bars

You can get these bars in the oven in less than 30 minutes; your biggest challenge will be waiting for them to cool so you can dig in!

Rhubarb Crumb Bars (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients

  • 6 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 pound rhubarb (about 2 stalks), cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 T. light-brown sugar
  • 1 c. flour, divided
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar (132 g.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8" square baking pan with parchment paper in both directions, leaving a 2" overhang on all sides.
  2. Make streusel: Whisk together butter, brown sugar, and salt. Add flour and mix with a fork until large crumbs form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Make cake: In a medium bowl, combine rhubarb, brown sugar, and 1/4 c. flour. In another medium bowl, whisk 3/4 c. flour, baking powder, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and confectioners' 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.
  4. Bake cake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake from pan. Cut into 16 bars.
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