I’m not going to lie, sometimes I use TB’s office mates as food testers. I have bookclub coming up and wanted to try my hand at making some ‘old skool’ fruit bars – so instead of trying something brand new (or old?) on a bunch of fantastic women who seem to be foodies in their own rights, I figure I would make a treat for TB to take in to his colleagues at work.
I called these ‘old skool’ – what I mean by that is when I was a kid, we always had bars and squares in the house. My mom baked blondies and fruit and date squares, not to mention the old standby of rice krispie squares. I feel like I have moved away from that in my baking, focused more on pies, tarts, cakes and cupcakes on my end. I don’t know if that is a trend for others, or if I am totally oblivious to those who are blissfully making bars and squares and serving them for their loved ones.
I poked around a few different recipes and opted for a rhubarb and cranberry combo. You could use blueberries or peaches or apples…it’s just about the process, the details are really up to your own personal flavour.
Crumb (base and topping)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup shortening
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine all ingredients for crust and mix until crumbly. Pat half of the mixture into a 13x9x2 inch baking pan.
- To prepare the filling, combine rhubarb, cranberries, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened (wooden spoon test*) – you may need to use a potato masher to “pop”any remaining cranberries..
- Pour filling over crust. Sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture.
- Bake for 35 minutes at 350°F. Allow to cool before slicing into serving sized bars.
Adapted from Cooks.com
* Stirring with a wooden spoon until the fruit filling is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. This will take about 8 minutes. Test it by running a finger through the sauce on the spoon: if it leaves a straight, clear line, it’s ready.