Vanilla Bean Rhubarb Bars

rhubarb bar2 w text

Every Tuesday evening, I meet up with six of my closest girlfriends.

We make dinner together. We drink wine, we talk, we laugh.

I look forward to it every single week. We’ve been making dinner together on Tuesday nights for almost 3 years now.

This week, we said goodbye to our friend Stacie. Stacie is getting married and moving to Spokane and is going to do all sorts of wonderful and exciting things with her life. I’m positively thrilled for her. But, she’s moving a lot sooner than expected – we thought we weren’t going to have to say goodbye until August. But, sometimes life hands you a curveball. In this instance, life handed Stacie a good job in Spokane. And the job starts now.

I’m horrible at goodbyes. But I showed up on Tuesday night with a bottle of champagne and some rhubarb bars. (I happen to think that bubbles and baked goods are a perfectly acceptable way to say goodbye.)

Here’s to you, Stacie! Safe travels and happy adventures, my dear.

P.S. I’ll see you soon, friend. This isn’t goodbye.

P.P.S. As for the rhubarb squares, they speak for themselves. We devoured them all in one sitting.

VANILLA BEAN RHUBARB BARS
Adapted from Two Spoons
(Makes one 8×8″ pan)

Crust ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Rhubarb puree:
3 cups chopped rhubarb stalks
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 a vanilla bean

Rhubarb topping:
1 (heaping) cup rhubarb puree
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup of white sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon corn starch

To make the rhubarb puree (can be done ahead of time):
Place rhubarb and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine rhubarb and sugar. The mixture will look dry at first, but as the rhubarb heats up it will release moisture. (You don’t need to add water, I promise!) Let the rhubarb simmer on the stove until it is soft and pulpy (10-15 minutes). When the rhubarb is soft, stir in orange zest and scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the mixture. Allow to simmer for a couple more minutes. Remove from heat and puree the mixture, using an immersion blender or food processor. Set aside to cool, or store in the fridge for later use.

Make the crust:
Mix together the butter and sugar until well combined (with a wooden spoon or mixer). Mix in the flour until the mixture in uniform. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. (Note: I ended up adding a little extra flour and butter to the mix, as I wanted the base to be a bit thicker). Place the crust in the freezer while your oven preheats to 350 degrees. Once your oven is preheated, remove the crust from the freezer bake it for 15-20 minutes, until golden at the edges. Remove from oven.

While the crust is baking, make the filling:
Whisk eggs and sugar together. Whisk in the lemon juice, rhubarb puree and corn starch until combined and uniform. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the crust. Return to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the topping is set and just starting to brown along the edges. Allow to cool completely before serving. Dust with powdered sugar (if you desire) just prior to serving.

16 Responses

  1. What I love so much about this post, is the rhubarb puree. It isn’t often you see a rhubarb recipe that isn’t chunky. I really love this.

  2. Vicki @ WITK says:

    Aww, that sounds like so much fun! All of my girlfriends live in my hometown and I moved away :( Thanks for the recipe too, it looks yummy!

  3. Kaitlin says:

    Yum. I wish a friend would make these for me! They look wonderful!

  4. Liz says:

    Oh, my, these sound fabulous!!! I’m a sucker for any dessert with rhubarb….mmmmmm.

  5. What a lovely little tradition. It must be so nice to have that to look forward to each week! These rhubarb squares look amazing! YUM

  6. Tiffany says:

    Aromatic from the vanilla and tart from the rhubarb… these bars are a must make!

  7. Kim Bee says:

    I am so in awe of your girl time. I don’t get enough of that myself. I wish your friend a lifetime of happiness. This was the perfect thing to bring to a goodbye party.

  8. Camille says:

    Can I clarify the amount of vanilla bean???? Thanks :)

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Camille! It’s just one half of a full vanilla bean. You could use a full one, but the seeds from 1/2 are quite enough. If you don’t have a vanilla bean, you could sub a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

  9. sara says:

    Yum, these look fantastic! I LOVE rhubarb. :)

  10. Chatrin says:

    Oh, I whipped the filling for to long, it got high and fluffy and I don’t think it’s even edible… Well, must do this again and do it right!

  11. Chatrin says:

    + Did you ad food color? Mine didn’t get that pink/red at all…

    • lindsay says:

      Chatrin, I did not add food coloring, but the rhubarb I used was quite ripe (and pink). The color will vary depending on your rhubarb!

  12. Joanna M says:

    Just in case anyone’s wondering, I did the math for these and 1/12 of the recipe comes out to about 200 calories. They were very very good! I loved them!

  13. Dee says:

    These are the best rhubarb bars EVER!!! I threw a few strawberries into the mix as I had a few that needed to be used – incredible!!
    I can’t thank you enough for this recipe!! (And it looked like the photo when done for a change!! :)

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