Redemptive Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble Bars
May 29, 2012 § 13 Comments
Recently, I have made it my mission to seek out the redeeming qualities in things, people and decisions. Biscuit’s redeeming qualities are that he is cute, soft and cuddly, unconditionally loving, and endlessly entertaining. A few weekends ago, I discovered that one of my redeeming qualities is my ability to make rhubarb strawberry crumble bars (among numerous other qualities of course). These bars also redeemed one of the poorer decisions I made that weekend (The Pool Disaster Weekend).
One of the good decisions I made on Pool Disaster Weekend was to make my first farmer’s market expedition this spring. The rhubarb at the market immediately caught my eye. It is one of the few vegetables that is currently in season in Minnesota. It was in full force at the market and looked deliciously fresh. After going past stand after stand of rhubarb, trying to eye up the perfect batch, I spotted intense hues of red and green in sturdy, crisp stalks. I could not resist buying a few bundles to make rhubarb strawberry crumble bars.
As I made the bars, everything seemed to go together perfectly – the rhubarb was crisp and tangy, the strawberries sweet and juicy, the buttery crumble and crisp crust complemented each other like an old married couple.
I decided to bring these bars and pair them with vanilla ice cream for a poolside get-together at my fiancé, Sam’s, parent’s house – a good decision.
Then, I made one of the worst decisions of the weekend. I decided to bring Biscuit to the pool get-together. To understand why this was such a bad decision, some background information would be beneficial about Biscuit’s pool tyranny. The following is a typical step-by-step pool gathering for Biscuit:
Step 1: Whine and bark at a high-pitched level during the car ride to the pool. Optimal whining and barking to be done directly behind owners’ ears.
Step 2: Bust out of car and sprint directly to backyard pool gate upon arrival, dragging owner on leash behind.
Step 3: Enter backyard pool vicinity. Go directly to pool, jump in when guests are yelling, “No Biscuit, No!” Swim immediately to pool kiddie toys and floaties and take them as own.
Step 4: Initiate game of chase with a three-year-old’s pool floaty in mouth. Run around the yard and through the woods with pool floaty. Do this super fast and taunt those trying to catch you.
Step 5: Drop pool floaty after about five minutes of running around the yard and head for the chip and dip table. Perfect nose height! Grab all the chips that can fit in one mouthful
Step 6: Get dragged out of pool area by mortified owner.
I made the decision to bring Biscuit because he had not been at the pool since last summer’s horrific pool side behaviors and has matured quite a bit since then ( I tried to come up with an example of how he has matured but couldn’t think of one. He is a year older though).
To my dismay, the pool trip this year had the same outcome as all the other fateful pool trips. We entered the pool area and only moments later Biscuit had a child’s pool toy in his mouth as shocked and horrified voices screamed at him to, “Drop it!” Sam, my fiance, and I helplessly yelled at Biscuit to, “Heel”, “Sit!” “Drop it!” “Come!” “Stay!” After grabbing a mouthful of chips and jumping in the pool one more time, I decided it was time to get Biscuit out of there before any more damage could be done. We dragged him back to the car, and I drove a tired but content Biscuit home.
I did not even want to begin to think of what was being said or thought about Biscuit and his owners back at the pool. As I was on the brink of tears wondering how Biscuit and I would redeem ourselves from yet another horrific pool-side disaster, I remembered the rhubarb crumble bars I baked for just this event. This was my redemption ticket.
I returned back to the pool Biscuit-less but with rhubarb crumble bars and ice cream in hand. To my surprise, everyone seemed glad to see me.
As all the pool guests enjoyed their hot dogs, burgers and rhubarb strawberry crumble bars with ice cream, it seemed as if order had returned to the pool. Sam’s parents were even talking fondly of Biscuit. Although everything ended well, I probably will wait another year until I bring Biscuit back to the pool again. I may have redeemed myself in the eyes of the pool guests, but I don’t know if I can say the same for Biscuit quite yet.
Redemptive Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble Bar Recipe
½ cup unsalted melted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
⅓ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cups unsalted butter room temperature
1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 lb rhubarb diced into ½ inch pieces
1 lb strawberry hulled and sliced ½ inch thick
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
Heat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Line a 9 inch baking dish with parchment paper, allowing paper enough paper to hang over the edge of the dish on two sides. Butter and flour parchment paper and dish. Tap off excess flour.
Make the crust:
In an electric mixer, mix together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs and vanilla extract to the mixer. Mix until combined. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Don’t over mix. Pour the crust mixture into the bottom of the lined baking dish.
Make the filling:
Combine chopped strawberries and rhubarb in a large bowl. Mix in flour and brown sugar until spread evenly over strawberry and rhubarb combination. Pour on top of crust mixture.
Make the crumble:
Whisk together melted butter, brown sugar and salt. Add flour and mix together with fingers to create large crumbs. If mixture is too soft, refrigerate shortly and then mix. Sprinkle crumble on top of filling in baking dish.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool, then cut bars to preferred size. Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.