This month's Cookie Carnival was guest hosted by Krista from Meet the Swans. I was really excited to get the recipes for this month because they both looked great. When you are choosing between these strawberry-rhubarb bars and homemade ice cream sandwiches, it can be a hard choice! In the end, I probably will not get around to making the ice cream sandwiches before the end of the month, but I am definitely saving that recipe for later in the summer!
The bar recipe is originally from Better Homes and Gardens, and I went with this one since I love rhubarb in desserts! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate any fresh rhubarb since moving to Arizona, so I went the frozen route and it worked just fine although I had to boil my mixture for much longer than 10 minutes to get it to thicken. I stayed true to the ingredients called for in the recipe, but used my food processor to mix the dough together because I was feeling a bit lazy. In the end, I think this "chopped" up the oats a little more than the recipe intended, but the crumb layer still turned out really well.
One thing that is unique is that the recipe calls for ground ginger that is mixed in with the filling and into a ginger glaze that tops the bars. I sneaked a taste of the glaze before I added it to the bars and wasn't a huge fan, but on top of the bars, all the flavors melded together wonderfully. In fact, my husband's exact comment was, "Wow. These are good. Really good." Enjoy!
From Better Homes and Gardens
Non-stick cooking spray
1-1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3-4 Tbsp. orange juice or milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with foil, allowing the foil to extend over the edges of the pan. Coat the foil with non-stick spray. Set aside.
In a bowl, stir together the oats, flour, and 3/4 cup sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (alternately you can use a food processor). Remove 1-1/2 cups of the oat mixture; set aside. Press the remaining oat mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake 20 minutes.
For the filling, in a medium saucepan, combine rhubarb, 1/3 cup sugar, water, and 1/2 teaspoon ginger. Cook and stir over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until mixture is thickened and bubbly (May take longer. Just keep going until the fruit starts to break down and the mixture begins to thicken). Stir in chopped strawberries. Remove 1/2 cup of filling. Cover and set aside. Spoon remaining filling over the hot baked crust. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture (you may have to crunch this with your hand to make "crumbs" if you used a food processor). Lightly press the mixture down into the topping. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes more or until the top is golden and the filling is bubbly. Cool in a pan on a wire rack.
For the ginger glaze, in a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, ground ginger. Add the orange juice/milk slowly until it reaches drizzling consistency. Set aside. Lift the bars from the pan using the foil and carefully pull the foil away from the sides. Cut into bars. Just before serving, top each bar with a spoonful of filling and drizzle with the ginger glaze.