I love rhubarb season! It's one of the first things to appear at the farmers market each spring and leads the way for all the other local fruits and veggies to come! I came to my love of rhubarb later in life, as I don't think I was ever exposed to it until after college.
These bars are typically make in a square or rectangular plan, but as you can see, all I could find was a round one. I put the excess in a loaf pan and baked that up, too. Whatever works for you; this isn't one of those fussy desserts. The star of the show is the taste and texture - crunchy, buttery top and bottom layers and the nice sweet/tart filling sandwiched in between! I had a piece still warm from the oven and topped it with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt. The bars firm up quite a bit after they are cooled.
I adapted a recipe from Culinary in the Country, which is an awesome blog that you should check out: http://desertculinary.blogspot.com/2005/05/strawberry-rhubarb-oatmeal-bars.html I added cinnamon and coconut to mine because I think they go together so well with rhubarb.
- 1/2 cups 1" chopped fresh rhubarb
- 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened but unsweetened would be good)
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 9"x 13" pan.
- Cut strawberries and rhubarb into roughly 1" pieces.
- Cook rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar in a saucepot over medium heat until rhubarb begins to soften - about 8-10 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent any burning or sticking.
- Dissolve cornstarch in cold water (this is called a slurry and prevents the cornstarch from clumping) and then add to rhubarb strawberry mixture. Stir mixture vigorously and continuously, boiling for about a minute (make sure there are bubbles in the middle, not just around the edges of the pot).
- Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl or other container (to stop cooking and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan). Set aside.
- Combine all of the crust ingredients in a bowl, except the walnuts.
- Stir until mixture resembles coarse crumbs but is well-combined.
- Press 2/3 of crust mixture into even layer in your pan.
- Spread filling evenly on top, making sure to get into all the corners!
- Sprinkle remaining third of crust mixture and the chopped walnuts on top.