Dessert Recipe: Spring Rhubarb Almond Squares

Time for a special spring treat!

Imagination is the highest form of research.

― Albert Einstein

You know it’s a good life when you’ve got great neighbors. Let’s hear it for great friends and neighbors, shall we?

When it comes to our hood, we’ve lucked out to the max, as was evidenced by the large bushel of blushingly gorgeous rhubarb that was harvested across the lane and delivered to my back deck this past week (thanks Brian!).

I'll call this the Diva salad today πŸ™‚ It's so yummy!

But before we dive into this gorgeous recipe, I’ve got to say a very special thank you to another kind of friend.

The blogging kind!

Sarah at the Healthy Diva has a guest post up over at her Sydney, Australia based blog featuring IPOM and a simply yummy salad dressing recipe .

Feel free to pay her a visit to see what was up with this salad I enjoyed this past week. It’s a goodie!

Thanks so much to Sarah for the wonderfully kind invite – and welcome to any Diva readers who may be visiting IPOM for the 1st time!

β€œBe humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars”

― Serbian proverb

This rhubarb gifting came to me just as I had picked up a magazine dedicated to spring recipes – it’s easy to stumble upon delightful ways to use asparagus, rhubarb, nettles, and the many other wonderful spring foods that come at this time of year here in Canada.

I made a few alterations, based on what I had on hand, and went straight to work – reserving the remaining rhubarb to stew and use later (I grew up eating it with plain yoghurt for dessert).

The result was a beautiful, date square like dessert, with a bright gooey filling and gorgeous light texture.

All over town now, there are shoots of rhubarb plants exploding in backyard gardens everywhere.

I’ve never made space to plant it in my small backyard garden, and I figure as long as Brian’s across the lane I won’t need to πŸ™‚

I used real butter in this version as the recipe called for, but I would be delighted to see it veganized with coconut butter too.

There is no other dairy in the recipe at all, so making this adjustment would be easy!

The Less:

Less far away fruit desserts means easy ways to eat local. Less tough to find ingredients means using what’s on hand, so you can get to work as soon as harvest is done. Less heavily sweet and cakey desserts means savoring without filling up, so you can still feel the pleasure long after you are done.

The More:

More rhubarb means more fresh, lively flavor. More local food means less carbon, and less cost to the planet and your pocketbook. More neighborly ways means stronger community, and more yummy desserts means inviting them over is easy.

Spring Rhubarb Almond Bars:

Adapted from Canadian Living Magazine

  • 6 cups chopped fresh rhubarb (about 6 thick stalks)
  • (3/4) cup brown sugar
  • (1) tsp grated orange zest
  • (1/3) cup fresh orange juice
  • (1) tbsp all purpose flour
  • (1.5) cups quick oats (not instant)
  • (2/3) cup all purpose flour
  • (1) cup brown sugar
  • (3/4) tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • (2/3) cold butter, cubed
  • (4) tbsp sliced or slivered almonds, chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees and get a 9 inch square cake pan ready (no need to oil it).

In a large saucepan, combine the first 5 ingredients – rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and flour – and bring to a boil with the lid on. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, partially covered until the mixture is reduced to 1 3/4 cups or so – about 25-30 minutes. Make sure to stir regularly to keep the mixture from burning at the bottom.

Once cooked and reduced, turn the heat off and allow to cool for a few minutes, about 10 – 15 minutes or so.

While the rhubarb cooks, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. With fingers or a pastry cutter, blend in the butter (I always use my hands for this – nature’s tools – but that’s just me!).

Press 2/3 of the mixture into the cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 2 minutes. remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before adding the rhubarb mixture.

Add the cooled rhubarb mixture to the pan and spread until it is even.

Next, add the chopped almonds to the remaining crumble mixture, and gently press together into small clumps. Sprinkle the mixture over the filling and distribute evenly.

Bake at 350 until the crumble is golden, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.

β€œThe truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”

~ Bob Marley

Cut the cold butter into the bowl with a knife. Get ready to mix it all together.

A person’s a person, no matter how small.

~ Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who

Crumble it all up until the mixture is well-integrated – making sure there are no large chunks of butter or sugar left straggling around in there.

I get in there like a kid in the dirt. I don’t like to wear gloves to garden either, do you?

Press the 2/3 of the mixture into the pan as tightly as you can. This will be the base for this wonderful yummy filling!

I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.

― Helen Keller

Let this mixture cool before adding it to the base – about 15 minutes or so.

Try not to eat too much of it as it does this (but do be sure to eat a little).

You never fail until you stop trying.

~ Albert Einstein

Any almonds will do for this, sliced, slivered, even chopped whole almonds if that is what’s on hand.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

The result, a beautiful pan of (neighborly) spring goodness. Worthy of stopping to enjoy with friends, neighbors and family.

Serve these with or without vanilla ice cream, and give some to your neighbors (or not).

These guys will keep in a container or tin at room temperature – I am sure they would make a rather smashing breakfast served alongside some cashew cream or thick greek yoghurt.

How’s that for versatility?

You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.

~ Colette

I can’t wait for the next harvest from across the lane! Truthfully, Brian has got a pretty sweet garden and so I just might head over there with these bars awfully soon.

They just might be good enough to keep him delivering more of his earthly goodies πŸ™‚

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

~ John Lennon

I hope each and every one of you had a fabulous weekend – next up, I’ll share with you a kick ass salad recipe inspired this week by a gift from another great friend of mine!

It features a favorite of mine that I haven’t posted about for a while…yep….it’s kale!

So stay tuned it’s that good.

  • Are you gearing up to use rhubarb this spring or better yet, do you grow it?
  • What is your favorite rhubarb or spring dessert recipe?

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did – and thanks again for reading and for your comments! I had a lot of fun with the last post and got more than a few awesome ideas for not only making but seasoning popcorn. Thank you!

Wishing you all a truly fabulous week – PS – I am traveling again (this time to the TDOT aka Toronto) so I might be spotty with my comments – I’ll be back the end of the week though!

Yours in Less (from out east),

52 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Desserts, Food, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Vegan, Vegetarian

52 responses to “Dessert Recipe: Spring Rhubarb Almond Squares

  1. Somer

    What a beautiful post and recipe! I think it would be absolutely delicious made with earth balance or coconut butter! I love the Bob Marley quote!

    • Oh thanks Somer – and welcome to IPOM! I am so happy you like that quote – it is one of my faves! These bars were really amazing…! Thanks for stopping by!

      • Somer

        We share lots of bloggie friends, so I could hardly resist. Your site is beautiful!

      • Thanks! Looking forward to following YOU! Adorable gravatar photo – too cute! xo!

      • Somer

        Thanks!!! I’m embarrassed because me blog needs a little fancying up, but all in good time eh?

      • No way! There is no need after looking at your amazing recipe selection – damn! So much to look through, and it all sounds amazing! xo!

      • Somer

        Thanks Shira! I love having all the recipes up, certainly helps with ease of use when one can’t think of what to make!

  2. Your rhubarb bars look dandy, Shira, so bright and delicious. Just one question: your recipe currently reads 2/3 butter. 2/3 cup? 2/3 of a stick? I know it’s not 2/3 of a pound…

  3. As usual and as I’ve come to expect: beautiful photos, delicious recipe, thoughtful words. Thanks for the Dr. Seuss – hadn’t heard that one in a while :-).

  4. these rhubarb almond squares look yummy!

  5. I love, love, love rhubarb! Its one of my favourites so, I’m thinking this may be a go, my friend!

    I shall also have a wee look-see at The Healthy Diva – a fellow Sydney-sider, no less! Cheers for this tip, S

    Looking forward to the next Kale instalment from IPOM – you know how much I loved the last one. As ever – a beautiful, vibrant post from Van-city. πŸ™‚

    • Hey J! Writing from Toronto – I had a sneaking suspicion you would be a rhubarb fan! This is a killer recipe!
      Almost as good as the salad coming up but I’ll let you be the judge of that!
      xo! ~ S

      • PS – Sarah’s smart as a whip – all the more reason to be impressed by you smart and charismatic creatures from Sydney!

  6. Gorgeous post!!! πŸ™‚ i adore your writing and appreciate your thoughtfulness you put into all your posts.
    As for the bars, I’d love to make a gluten free version! Mmmmm

    • Thanks Nora, that makes me blush (just a little)! I’d love to see that gluten free version too…it would be dynamite! Cheers! xo!

  7. YUM!!! i love rhubarb!!! and i can’t wait for your next post on kale!

  8. yumyumyumyumyum!!! not sure if rhubarb is in season here but could definitely use this recipe for apple squares…would be amazing too I think. Thanks as always for the recipe. Hope work goes well in toronto πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Sarah! I think apple would be most perfect alternative – I’m already thinking of other fruits we could sub too πŸ™‚ hope you had a fab day! xox!

  9. Neighbors ARE the best! I’m at my neighbors house right now, haha. We’re just hanging out, and I’m catching up on blogs πŸ˜‰

    I don’t think I’ve ever even HAD rhubarb!

    • Haha! LOL! That’s awesome! You’ve got to love a neighbor you are that comfy with..lucky girl (and lucky me too!) πŸ™‚ It’s worth trying for sure! xo!

  10. I shall check out the salad, Shira. It’s nice that you have such good neighbours. We have good neighbours, but I don’t think any of them grown anything… Oh well – lucky. This looks really yummy

  11. S.

    mmm even though I love rhubarb, I don’t use it nearly enough! Great inspiration, thanks Shira πŸ™‚
    XO

  12. Yum! Rhubarb is something I’ve only come to like in the last year but now I LOVE it! I’m so excited that we’ve started seeing it in corner shops in the UK recently; over the weekend we had a party and I made an Eton Mess, but threw some stewed rhubarb in with the strawberries… or rhubarb on oatmeal… these are next on the rhubarb-recipe list!

  13. Wow you are so lucky to have local rhubarb delivered right to your door! And those rhubarb squares look amazing πŸ™‚ I used to eat t dipped in sugar when I was younger. Such a simple treat that I haven’t had in years and these bars are bringing all those lovely spring/summer memories back!

    I hope you enjoy Toronto and that you find some of those goodies I mentioned on my blog. I can’t wait to move there in September! Take pictures πŸ™‚

    Take care and safe trip! xox

    • Thanks Gabby! I know, right? He said I could harvest it myself….but then showed up with a giant bundle! It was great! πŸ™‚
      Having fun in Hogtown…it’s a fun city for sure! xo! πŸ™‚

  14. I’m totally in love with these bars! It’s morning as I’m reading your post and I’d so love one with my coffee. On my “to bake” list this week. πŸ™‚

    • I hope you get to make them Karista – the are so good I could have eaten the whole pan! They would be amazing with a good cup of coffee! xo! πŸ™‚ Thanks!!

  15. Hey Shira! You’re in my ‘hood this week! Would’ve been nice to have done a blogger meet-up of sorts πŸ™‚

    I have to admit, I’m not a fan of rhubarb. I find it way to too tart for my palate. In saying that, the appeal of this recipe comes from the fact that you got it from your neighbour! How amazing is that?! I’m telling you, you’re making me want to move out to the west coast!

    Looking forward to that kale recipe as I’ve never made it before myself and would love some inspiration.

    • Oh too funny! Next time for sure :)! Funny I find rhubarb super tart too, and something about the brown sugar makes it rather caramely and subdued, it’s amazing – and yes, waaaay better when it comes from someone’s generosity and kindness πŸ™‚
      It’s a good life on the West Coast for sure…but TO is pretty darned fun too! Stay tuned…I hope you like the kale salad! xo!

  16. What a lovely post! I love the sense of community in it πŸ™‚ As usual, wonderful quotes and a post that will inspire me to discuss rhubarb recipes with my baker-husband πŸ˜‰ Enjoy T-dot! Which part are you staying in?

    • Oh thanks Marina! Yes, we are so lucky to live amongst good friends who share such things! I hope you arm wrestle that wonderfully talented husband of yours to treat you to some! πŸ™‚
      TO is awesome, I am right downtown with easy access to my fave areas, it’s awesome!

      • I tried to arm wrestle him – it was so easy for him to just beat me πŸ™‚ I have the worst upper arm strength ever! I used to live in TO – spent a few months in that Flatiron looking building behind Front Street, and lived up near Bloor St too πŸ™‚ Glad you’re having fun!

      • Awesome – you’ve lived in all the cool spots! I miss the kids a little but will be home soon enough! Who needs upper arm strength anyway?! πŸ™‚ Hehe..

      • Enjoy the time Shira – it’s all about the moments!

      • Most definitely! That is TOO true my friend! πŸ™‚

  17. Shira, this is just excellent! When we are back from Italy I really want to order some coffee from you πŸ™‚

  18. This looks wonderful! I think I’m going to have to hunt down some rhubarb!

  19. tactlessgracewriting

    Rhubarb is one of those fruits I’ve put on my “get to know you better” list this summer. Now I just have to make this recipe gluten free and I’ll be good to go! And I just had some amazing kale salad the other day- I kind of wondered what kale and rhubarb would taste like in a salad together…

    • That sounds like a super great combo! Rhubarb and kale…..challenge heartily produced! If you do it before me let me know how it goes! This rhubarb recipe is a pretty great one – thanks for stopping by!

  20. delightful almond & rhubarb orange squares! I love them so much! πŸ™‚

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