Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars

Summer is a season of abundance, and the abundance is all around. In this summer’s earliest days, I’ve watched my small garden blossom. I’ve spent hours ambling through my parents’ overflowing gardens, marveling at the beauty of all that new life. I’ve walked outside and felt the sunshine streaming down, creating a feeling of more indulgence than I think I’m entitled to. I’ve felt the grass in the backyard of my new home under my toes, a mix of exhilaration and pride overwhelming the fear of this new responsibility. My life feels incredibly abundant lately — and the feeling of fullness sometimes makes me feel like I might explode.

It wasn’t all that long ago that things felt really hard. Personally I was struggling, professionally I wasn’t where I wanted to be, and it made my days feel lackluster and pointless. But I battled back, and have been incredibly rewarded for that effort. Now, a rough week at work makes me reflect on how much I’m growing and learning. A difficult interpersonal interaction gives me pause, and makes me consider how I might be able to remedy the situation without argument or accusation. There is a rosy sheen to my days, even the bad ones, that I’m completely unaccustomed to. It feels like a giant blessing that I’m not sure I’ve even earned, and I wish I could share it with everyone I touch.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars - Sweetly Serendipity

It could be young love. It could be my incredible family. It could be my new home, or my rewarding job, or my closest friends. It could be the sun hitting my face at just the right angle, or the movement of water around my when I bob in a lake or wade into the ocean. There are so many occasions now – big and small – that just make life glow in a way that it hasn’t before. I’ve learned to be grateful for everything I have, but it feels now that my gratitude can’t even begin to repay the goodness around me.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars - Sweetly Serendipity

For Father’s Day weekend I was home with my family, and harvested rhubarb from my parents’ garden for these bars. It’s a certain luxury to be able to walk a handful of steps outside your back door, and find loads of fresh produce ready for the taking. Something about that simple act never gets old.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars - Sweetly Serendipity

These bars are lovely – part crumb bar, part fruit bar, and 100% summer in a pan. They’re easy and delicious, and sure to become a favorite. I used white wheat flour which lent a wonderful nuttyness, enhanced by gobs (and gobs) of butter. I’d like to try them with rhubarb only, as I think the base could handle a bit more tart, but as they were, they were wonderful. You all know I’m not typically a recipe-repeater, but I think I’ll probably make this one again.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars - Sweetly Serendipity

And as for all that abundance… I don’t know who determines good fortune in this world – whether it’s more luck or hard work or fate or God – but I’m so grateful to whomever/whatever that governing force is. Life is good.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars - Sweetly Serendipity

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars

Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • 2 cups strawberries, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • For the dough:
  • 2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

Directions

    For the fruit filling:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and toss to coat fruit. Cook over medium heat until the fruit has started to break down, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. For the dough and assembly:
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the butter and mix with a hand (or stand) mixer on low speed until the butter is incorporated and a cohesive dough has formed.
  5. Pat half of the dough mixture into a parchment lined 9×13-inch baking pan and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then evenly spread the strawberry rhubarb filling over it, and return to the oven. Bake bars for an additional 18-20 minutes, until the top begins to brown and the fruit filling is bubbling.
  6. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.
http://www.sweetlyserendipity.com/dessert/brownies-and-bars/strawberry-rhubarb-crumb-bars/



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