For a few years of our childhood, we lived in a house with a huge, flat yard and a big garden in the back corner. Our mom planted and kept the garden — we don’t remember helping her much, perhaps as a single mother with three young daughters she enjoyed the peace of doing it alone. We do remember reaping the rewards of the garden though — picking sugar snap peas and digging up potatoes — but mostly we remember the rows of rhubarb. Our mom has since mentioned the fact that rhubarb grows like a weed and she never intended to grow so much, but lucky for us the rhubarb she did use from the garden came to us in the form of strawberry rhubarb pies.
Prime rhubarb season is April through June (we Googled it), so we thought we’d share a couple of our favorite rhubarb recipes!
Shirey’s Favorite - Raspberry Rhubarb Almond Bars by Bakerita
Until I moved back to Oregon a few years ago, my baking ventures were very limited. Limited as in I really didn’t bake much other than chocolate chip cookies and maybe cakes on birthdays, and I’d definitely never baked anything with rhubarb.
It turns out rhubarb is a cold weather plant (learned that from Google too), so it grows really well in the PNW and can be found in great abundance at pretty much any farmers market. Seeing so much of it around that first year back in the PNW had me nostalgic for strawberry rhubarb pie, so I decided to attempt to make one. But fate intervened, and in my search for a good pie recipe, I stumbled across the Bakerita’s recipe for Raspberry Rhubarb Almond Bars.
Being a baking novice, it wasn't a “love at first sight” situation with this recipe. I almost abandoned ship when I saw tapioca flour listed as an ingredient, and then again when I arrived at step 3 and saw that I had to blend ingredients in a food processor — I didn’t have one. Still don’t. But I decided this recipe looked delicious enough to overcome my fear of tapioca flour and food processors. Surprisingly, it’s pretty dang easy to find tapioca flour at the store and it turns out a NutriBullet can be used as a food processor in a pinch! I’m still pretty proud of myself for overcoming this baking hurdle.
I don’t make this recipe very often because I eat the whole pan — I really do. I especially love having them with my morning coffee. At least they’re gluten-free and paleo, right?
Angela’s Favorite - Rhubarb Bars by Garnish with Lemon
I can remember pretty clearly sneaking out to mom’s garden with a cup full of sugar, prepared to pick and feast on stalks of rhubarb. My lips still pucker when I think about peeling back the tough outer layer, dipping it in the sugar and then taking a bite. To be honest, there was no amount of sugar that could actually mask that level of tartness, but that didn’t stop us. Like Shirey, when I think about rhubarb, my “default memory” is strawberry rhubarb pie. I can still picture the gooey-red deliciousness, topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. YUM. Typically, I’m not a baker. I lack the attention span that most baked goods require, which is probably for the best because I also lack the willpower to not eat baked goods.
Last spring, I came across an easy to follow recipe for Rhubarb Bars (say that 5 times fast) by Garnish with Lemon. At a glance I knew this was my kind of baking; the ingredients were basic and the steps were minimal — two requirements of mine when it comes to the kitchen. The “crust” becomes a perfectly crunchy shortbread and the filling is gooey and tart. One might even say that the flavor combination is about as close as you might come to dipping a peeled rhubarb stalk into a cup of sugar, but minus the painful pucker. I recommend doubling the recipe because if you’re like me you’ll be sneaking bites every time you pass the kitchen.
P.S.-1 We’re pretty sure we need to make this Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake this season. *drool*
P.S.-2 You really can learn so much from Google. Check out this fun article for Four Things You Didn’t Know About Rhubarb!
P.S.-3 We did take our own pictures of the recipes when we made them, but lets just say our photography skills are not so great yet.