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.

rhubarb crumb


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

Fruit Filling
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


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine all ingredients for crust and mix until crumbly. Pat half of the mixture into a 13x9x2 inch baking pan.
  3. 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..
  4. Pour filling over crust. Sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture.
  5. 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.