rhubarb bars

Beth Nervig

Oaty Rhubarb Streusel Bars

As a kid in Minnesota, I was fortunate to have an endless supply of rhubarb growing in my backyard from April through July. My mom loved to bake and used to make us rhubarb pie, rhubarb cake, and rhubarb bars (in Minnesota almost every dessert gets shoved into a 13 X 9 pan and labeled as “bars”). Fast forward to adulthood, and I live in an apartment in the city. I don’t even have a balcony, much less a free supply of tasty rhubarb. So after visiting family this past weekend, I was more than a little excited when my mom sent me home with a giant bag of fresh rhubarb (Mom, if you’re reading this, THANKS!). The minute I got home, I turned on the oven so I could make some bars, or more specifically, Oaty Rhubarb Streusel Bars.

The process for making these bars is all about the streusel-y oat topping. Streusel-y is totally a word, right? It accounts for both the crust and the topping so you know it’s good. I put all my dry ingredients right in the pan and used my hands to work the butter in until the mixture was even . The crust cooked perfectly in the allotted time, and even better, I just topped the still-hot crust with the rhubarb and the remaining streusel and popped it right back in the oven. 

After it cooled a bit, I drizzled it with a quick homemade icing. Three-ingredient icings that you can mix with a fork are kind of my favorite thing. They add a pretty touch, and are ridiculously easy to whip together. The recipe says to use nectar, orange juice, or milk, and I opted for the OJ since it was all the only thing I had on-hand. Feel free to add a little more or less powdered sugar to get the consistency and color you’re looking for. My icing was a little orange so I added more powdered sugar.

So how did they taste you ask? Amazing! Ground ginger adds a touch of zing to both the streusel mixture and the quick icing. Plus, you can’t go wrong with fresh rhubarb balanced by sugary oats. Oh and did I mention these can be a healthy dessert option, too?! Oh yeah. If you cut them into 16 servings, they come in at just 221 calories per serving. Sadly, I cut mine into 12 servings, but it’s the thought that counts.

If you’re lucky enough to have rhubarb growing in your backyard, I suggest you try it in these tasty bars. You can also find rhubarb right now in your local supermarket or farmer’s market. Oh and if you’ve got enough for more than one dessert, check out our other delicious rhubarb dessert recipes.