Rhubarb Squares

25 05 2011

*ding dong ding dong ding dong…*  Someone was ringing my door bell but when I went to the door, no one was there; however, my neighbour – the friendliest curmudgeon – had left a pile of rhubarb on my doorstep.  Rhubarb!

I love cookies but sometimes I want something that seems fancier, more grown-up.  My grandmother used to make squares, all kinds of squares.  What I remember most vividly is that she cut them into tiny pieces.  Take a look at the squares in your local coffee shop, then cut that into four pieces, that’s about the size of my grandmothers squares.  As a grown-up, I can now see that the tiny squares allowed me to try lots of different things; those tiny squares (portion size!) might also be the reason why my grandmother was always a trim looking lady.

Squares.  Rhubarb squares.

I found a recipe for raspberry crumb bars, which I made last summer.  Then I modified them in the fall to make carrot bars.  And now I’ve modified them again to make rhubarb squares.  I’ll be honest, I only took them out of the oven 30 minutes ago and I tasted them 20 minutes ago – they were just sweet enough to cut through the tartness of the rhubarb, and the crust was crispy.  Like my grandmother did, I would recommend enjoying these in small, bite sized morsels; however they’re healthy enough to be eaten in colassal sized portions.

Rhubarb Squares

5 cups rhubarb, chopped

2 Tbsp arrowroot flour

1/2 cup sugar + 1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)

1/2 cup flax

1 – 1/2 cups pecans

2 – 1/2 cups oats

1 banana

2 Tbsp Earth Balance or margarine

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Prepare a 13″ x 9″ pan, either greasing it or spraying with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, mix rhubarb, arrowroot flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and all-purpose flour together.  Set aside.

With whatever tools you have, you need to grind up the flax, pecans, and 1 cup oats.  I used a blade grinder (aka coffee grinder) to grind up the flax and a mini food processor to handle the pecans and oats.  If you have superior kitchen tools, I suggest you use them.

In another large bowl, mix flax, pecans, ground oats, whole oats, banana, and Earth Balance together.  This is the fun part: get your clean hands in there to incorporate everything until the ingredients stick together in small clumps.

Press 2/3 of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan.  With the remaining 1/3 of crumb mixture, mix in 1/4 cup of sugar and reserve for topping.

Grab your rhubarb mixture and spread it evenly over the crumb base, then sprinkle reserve topping over rhubarb.

Bake for 45 minutes and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting into squares.  The cooling time will allow the rhubarb mixture to set up a bit more.  Ideally the squares should be allowed to cool completely but I can never wait that long, so I won’t judge if you can’t wait either.

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