Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars

strawberries sliced!

Spring is here! Kind of. It's been warm and sunny, but still windy and chilly. I really wanted to go strawberry picking and make strawberry rhubarb jam. But the strawberries aren't ready, and I'm too busy packing and cleaning to make jam. Even so I was determined to make something with the rhubarb, before I went and left the country and missed rhubarb season entirely.

and crumbled! (#128)

So Sunday afternoon I made these Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars. My they were good. The perfect amount of sweet and tart and soft. Trust me on this one. Make these immediately. They taste and smell like summer.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars
adapted slightly from Martha Stewart

For The Streusel
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus room-temperature butter for pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

For The Cake
1/4 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces*
1/4 pound strawberries, quartered*
1 tablespoon light-brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter and flour parchment and pan, tapping out excess flour. (I didn't use the parchment, and I had no problem getting the bars out of the pan).

Make streusel: Whisk together butter, brown sugar, and salt. Add flour and mix with a fork until large crumbs form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make cake: In a medium bowl, combine rhubarb (and / or strawberries), brown sugar, and 1/4 cup flour. In another medium bowl, whisk 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, one at a time. With mixer on low, beat in vanilla, then flour mixture. Spread batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with rhubarb and top with streusel.

Bake cake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake from pan. Cut into 16 bars.

* Martha only uses rhubarb, but mentions you can substitute up to half of it with strawberries. I didn't really measure the berries and rhubarb by weight, I just cut up some of both, tossed them in the flour and sugar and spread them on top of the cake. I didn't want just a smattering of fruit, I wanted lots of it. I recommend you follow this impulse.

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