Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars {Farmer’s Market Friday}

Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars are thick and fruity whole grain bars with a rolled oat cinnamon crust and topping.  The rhubarb and raspberry filling is sweet and tart, with the brightness of fresh orange and a hint of fresh ginger.  These bars are like a fruit crisp in bar form, and are perfect for snacks, dessert, or even breakfast!

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Welcome to another installment of Farmer’s Market Friday here at Flavor the Moments!  I’m very excited about this week’s selection — the beautifully hued and often misinterpreted — RHUBARB. 🙂

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Most people either love rhubarb or hate it…or maybe it’s a complete mystery to you.  Is it a fruit or a vegetable?  Is it celery’s red cousin?  Rhubarb is a vegetable, and it may seem like celery, but you can’t eat it raw as it’s far too tart.  The red outer layer must be removed before cooking, as it’s very stringy and fibrous, but after that, when it’s cooked down with some sweetener, it’s out of this world.  I’ve seen it in both sweet and savory recipes, but so far have only managed to try it in desserts.  I intend on getting into some savory dishes in the very near future. 🙂

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Rhubarb is almost always paired with strawberries, because they are a match made in heaven.  If you’ve never tried that combination, you have to try my Strawberry Orange Rhubarb Pie.  The past several weeks as I geared up to post a rhubarb recipe for you, I made a strawberry-rhubarb crisp that, let’s just say turned out a little juicier than expected.  Still good, but I’m not serving you up a too-juicy crisp.  🙂  After that, I made a strawberry rhubarb galette that I thought was too juicy, but it was perfect once it cooled.  Alas, I got not photos of it before it was devoured.  I thought right then and there it wasn’t in the cards to bring you yet another strawberry rhubarb recipe, and that’s where the raspberries came in. 🙂

I wasn’t sure if the raspberries would pair as well with rhubarb because raspberries aren’t as sweet.  Obviously it worked out extremely well or these bars wouldn’t be here today.  There was still a delicious, tart-sweet thing going on, and I added orange zest and juice to give the filling a slight citrus flavor.  I have trouble not adding orange to anything rhubarb — I wonder if I’ll ever leave it out?   🙂  I also love adding ginger for a nice kick.  If you want to really up the ginger flavor, add crystallized ginger.  I opted for fresh this time around, so it was a bit more subtle.

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I learned my lesson from the crisp and added more cornstarch for the filling here.  I wanted a nice, thick, fruity filling for these crisp bars, so that they’re reminiscent of a fruit crisp.  They’re just that, except the fact that there’s a bottom crust means that they’re portable and you can eat these bars out of your hand.  What does this mean?  Picnics, barbecues, lunch boxes, you name it.  Oh, and don’t rule breakfast out either. 😉

The crust/topping for these bars is whole grain, with plenty of rolled oats.  I love oats for their nutty flavor, and since these bars are supposed to be like a crisp, you have to have oats and cinnamon. 🙂  There’s also plenty of  brown sugar as well to make it nice and sweet to complement all of that tangy, tart rhubarb.

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If you’re planning to make these, give yourself plenty of time to chill them in the fridge so they set up properly.  You won’t be able to cut them well unless they’re thoroughly chilled.  Once they’re cut, you can store them at room temperature or the fridge.  I highly recommend serving them heated with ice cream, too, because really, that’s what fruit crisps are all about to me. 🙂

If you haven’t tried rhubarb, I hope you scoop some up at your local farmer’s market while the getting is good.  Rhubarb season is typically April through late May, so there’s still a smidgen of time left.  If all else fails, hit your grocery store.  Rhubarb can be frozen, too, so you may want to stockpile some, because once you try it, there’s no going back. 🙂

raspberry rhubarb crisp bars6

Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars {Farmer’s Market Friday}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars are thick and fruity whole grain bars with a rolled oat cinnamon crust and topping. The rhubarb and raspberry filling is sweet and tart, with the brightness of fresh orange and a hint of fresh ginger. These bars are like a fruit crisp in bar form, and are perfect for snacks, dessert, or even breakfast!
Serves: 9 - 12 bars
Ingredients
Crust/Topping:
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, and cut into ¼" cubes
For the filling:
  • 1¾ cups rhubarb (2 large stalks or 8 ounces), red outer layer removed, halved lengthwise and cut into ½" chunks
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries (8 ounces)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • zest of one medium orange
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8" square baking dish with parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides and using scissors, cut a diagonal line from each corner of the parchment down to the each corner of the pan so that the parchment fits snugly. Spray the parchment with cooking spray and set aside.
Prepare the crust/topping:
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender, two forks, or your hands until the mixture resembles a coarse meal and the dough is pea-sized pieces. Press ⅔ of the crust-topping into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool slightly on a wire rack.
Prepare the filling:
  1. Place the rhubarb, raspberries, brown sugar, granulated sugar, orange zest, orange juice, cornstarch and ginger in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Pour over the crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining ⅓ of the crust/topping over the fruit, and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack, then place in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours or overnight to set. Cut into squares and enjoy cool, or heated with ice cream!
Notes
Total time above includes 6 hours for the bars to set in the fridge.

For a bigger ginger flavor, substitute a few tablespoons of crystallized ginger for the freshly grated ginger in the filling.

Recipe by Flavor the Moments.