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Summer Tastes Like Rhubarb

by Nicole Hewitt 3 months ago in recipe
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Rhubarb Squares and Rhubarb Raspberry Cookie Recipes

While living in the tropics, I hunted for what summer flavour I had missed. It did not take long to realize what it was; I was craving the sour-sweet-tart taste of rhubarb. I remember trying substitutes to feed some of that summer craving, passionfruit got close, but nothing tasted like summer. I am in love with the strange, stocky plant. Rhubarb is visually a unique addition to landscaping and flower gardens, with stocks varying from red to pink or spackled to green. While wide varieties are eatable, some are decorative and can be highly toxic, and the leaves are poisonous (but still have some great uses).

I would love to introduce you to two of my favourite ways to bake rhubarb. However, if you want to know more about this strange vegetable, read on between and after the recipes! I include some helpful tips and notable facts about it!

Recipe #1 Bold and Filling:

Rhubarb Squares:

These are tangy sweet-sour squares loaded with rhubarb. It aims to keep some true sourness but tuns it down to be more palatable. This recipe uses a whopping 8 cups of rhubarb and 6 eggs! So, it is a prime recipe for summers when the rhubarb grows, and the chickens increase their laying. It is easy to make as well. Start with the crumbly topping and pressed crust, then make the egg mixture into which you will combine your rhubarb. Then, into the standard rectangular baking pan (12” x 9” up to 14” x 10” work best, just the depth of the filling and baking times will change a bit), toss on the topping and bake for around an hour at 350 F and you have a delicious dessert that is great warm and cold (warm it loves ice cream!). Of course, since it has a lot of egg, you will want to refrigerate the leftovers.

Yields 1 cakepan (12-15 servings)

Ingredient List:

Crust and Topping:

4 cups flour

1 cup margarine or butter (soft but not melted)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1 cup white granular sugar

¼ cup brown sugar (approx.) to spread on top

Filling:

1/3 cup white granular sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 cup melted margarine or butter

4 eggs

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 cups rhubarb

Recommended kitchen tools and rhubarb care:

Standard oven at 350 F or 175 C. Stand Mixer for the filling (not needed, firm stirring will also work). Rectangular cake pan/ rectangular baking pan – no need to grease it. 1 extra-large mixing bowl (or the bowl with a stand mixer) for the filling. 1 medium mixing bowl, a mixing spoon, and a pastry blender (or knife and fork) to blend the topping. Teaspoon and half teaspoon measure. Rubber scraper to access the bottom of the bowl for proper mixing (do this once when half mixed) and for emptying bowls. Dry cup measures (1, 1/3, 1/4). A small bowl to crack eggs into individually before adding to the ingredients (to remove shells and ensure the quality). Oven mitts. Cooling area.

If your rhubarb is not already chopped, wash it with water in a sink, then use a chef’s knife and a cutting board (or kitchen scissors) to under half-inch chunks – around 1 cm chunks is best. Keep them in a bowl until ready to use. If your rhubarb is cut and frozen, you will not need to thaw them if they can mix in (are not stuck together) and bake it a little longer. If you thaw them, you may need to drain excess liquid.

Directions:

Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and granulated sugar for the crust and topping first. Then cut in your margarine or butter and blend in with a pastry blender or by the knife and fork method or hand method. Once the combination is pea-sized or smaller pieces of margarine or butter coated in the powders, you may mix the 2 eggs (it’s best to break them in a separate bowl first!). After mixing the eggs, it will become more of a batter.

Save about a cup and a half to make the topping later. Press the rest of the batter into the bottom and the sides of the rectangular pan (or lightly grease the sides and only press it in the bottom). Preheat your oven.

For the filling, mix the sugars, butter or margarine. Mix. Add the eggs. And mix until blended. Scrape the bottom of the bowl. Add the flour and vanilla. Mix until combined. Finally, add the chopped rhubarb (see the above note for rhubarb tips if unsure). Mix until the rhubarb is fully incorporated.

Pour the rhubarb and egg mixture into the crust. Smooth out, so it is even. Add the saved topping. It should look crumbly. Finally, sprinkle the brown sugar on top. It can be a little uneven and crumbly to add to the texture.

Place in your preheated oven (350 F). It is best to bake in the middle rack of your oven and rotate it after about 30 minutes for more even baking. Bake for 50-65 minutes. The top should be golden, insides should be firm.

Raw and Health Benefits:

Eating it raw? Yes! Especially in the spring, you can enjoy it freshly picked. The abundance of sunshine or blooms have not caused the stocks to grow woody yet; while sour, it also contains a sweetness. If you enjoy the sour taste, you can sometimes just eat it that way, crunching the stock like a celery stick, or cutting it into chunks in a bowl. If the taste is too overwhelming, try making a bowl of sugar or salt to dip or sprinkle on your cut rhubarb. People usually look at me strangely when I say salt, but don’t insult it until you try! For more variety, try a cinnamon-sugar mixture or mix it with other sweet-cut fruit or berries. The sour and sweet are a fun combination. Then, of course, the cooking and baking possibilities are plentiful!

Then the benefits! In addition to its taste, rhubarb is a very healthy choice! Huge when it comes to anti-oxidants, it is also an immune system booster and said to be good for your heart, liver, bones, skin and hair. However, some studies suggest that too much of it can cause other health problems (like boating or the growth of kidney stones), but cooking it far decreases that risk.

Recipe #2 Light, Soft Snack:

Rhubarb-Raspberry Cookies:

This is a cake-like or cobbler-like cookie recipe you will want to save! They are soft and moist. The soft texture can sometimes be a little crumbly in the way cake is. Children and adults love these white and red-purple cookies, and they look great on a platter. However, because of the moisture naturally contained in the berry and stocks, they have a short shelf-life as they continue to soften over time (2 days without refrigeration), so you may want to refrigerate them if you want them to last several days.

More about the berries and stocks: It is better to use thinner stocks of your rhubarb plant to make these cookies, and feel free to use frozen or fresh rhubarb and raspberries. I know in my home region, both rhubarb ad raspberries are plentiful during the summer, so this is the perfect recipe for summers (or for winters with my frozen berries and stocks).

Yields 15-20 cookies

Ingredient List:

½ cup margarine or butter

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup white granular sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup diced rhubarb (preferably thinner stocks)

1 cup raspberries (fresh or thawed)

Recommended kitchen tools and rhubarb/ raspberry care:

Refrigerator to chill the dough (chilled will make it easier to work with). Standard oven at 350 F or 175 C. 1-2 baking sheets with parchment. 1 large mixing bowl (or the bowl with a stand mixer). Teaspoon and half teaspoon measure. Rubber scraper to access the bottom of the bowl for proper mixing (do this once when half mixed). Spoon or cookie measure. Dry cup measures (1 & ½ ). A small bowl to crack the egg into before adding to the ingredients (to remove shells and ensure the quality). Oven mitts. Cooling racks. Thin lifter or flipper.

If your rhubarb is not already chopped, wash it with water in a sink, then use a chef’s knife and a cutting board (or kitchen scissors) to under half-inch chunks – around 1 cm chunks is best. Keep them in a bowl until ready to use. If your rhubarb is cut and frozen, you will need to thaw them and may need to drain excess liquid.

With fresh raspberries, wash and dry them before using them. If your raspberries are frozen, thaw them first as well. You may need to drain their excess liquid. Make sure you add the raspberries last and only just mix, as the more it is mixed, the more the raspberries will dilute the dough, making it runnier and harder to work with.

Directions:

Cream together the fat and sugars until they are light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla and mix again. Now add the dry ingredients, mixing together until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and mix just a little more.

Now it is time for the rhubarb; add it, slightly mix, then add the raspberries. Gently mix. Remember not to overmix, or the raspberries will add too much moisture to your dough.

Chill your dough for about 1 hour for easier handling. Preheat your oven.

Form your cookie balls. You may do this with 2 tablespoons, a cookie scoop, or even by hand. Leave generous room between your cookies as they can spread. Give the balls of cookies a little press and ensure they are about even for the best baking results.

Bake for 12-16 minutes. It is best to bake your cookies near the top of your oven and rotate the pans (and locations if you have 2 pans) around 6 minutes into baking.

When you remove them from the oven, let them cool for a while on the pan first, then transfer them onto the cooling racks. Make sure they are completely cooled before storing. They can keep for about 2 days at room temperature, but 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

Non-Stock Usage:

Since rhubarb leaves are relatively toxic and you certainly do not wish to consume them, you can use them in other ways. They are a natural pest control, a great compost, a barrier for weeds, and if you like crafting, rhubarb leaves leave beautiful imprints in pottery and painting! I used the leaves to make an insecticide one summer and was very happy with the results. Free, natural insecticide is always a win! For the most part, I use the leaves in compost. However, they have dozens of usages I haven’t tried yet too, even a household cleaner and a dye! Just type it in a search engine, and you will be surprised at all the ways you can use the leaf.

I have also ignored its most traditional use. Apparently, its roots have significant health effects, being used in Chinese Medicine and even areas in and around Russia to make teas to cure or soothe a variety of ailments.

Other Ways I Make Rhubarb:

I also have a wonderful recipe for Cinnamon, Rhubarb Muffins that is astounding. And recently, I found my favourite recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. Of course, don’t forget scones and pies!

My family traditionally makes delicious Rhubarb Juice with a stovetop juicer (when you add soda to it, it foams with an extreme head!). Also, we often make Rhubarb Sauce on the stove with added strawberry jello powder which is excellent by itself or on ice cream.

Please share your favourite way to have this super flavour too. I would love to add to my summer recipes!

recipe

About the author

Nicole Hewitt

Stability is good, but my life is ruled by changes. Recently moving from Alberta, Canada to Nontharburi, Thailand for near 3 years! I love traveling, reading manga, gardening and cooking. Ask me to tell you a story and I am in my element!

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