Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars with Pistachios are a delicious springtime treat that are perfect for serving at your Memorial Day BBQ–or any outdoor party. Affiliate links have been used to link to items I am discussing in this post. Keep reading to see what the other Creative Cookie Exchange members baked for a late spring picnic!
I promise I am still excited about food. As a matter of fact, lately I am obsessing on grain salads and hope to have some tasty ones to share with you soon. But all of it–even the new kitchen–is happening through a deliriously happy German Shepherd puppy filter. Check it out both of Skadi’s ears are standing up!
Lest you think I am insane for my excitement, even my mom insisted I share some pics with my dad (also a lover of German Shepherds) to show him how well they were standing up. Yes I know we are crazy. But I am in love with this puppy! Everything she does is entertaining. Obviously.
OK back to cookies, specifically Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars with Pistachios. I was looking for a recipe for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange, and I was contemplating sturdy cookies, which of course made me think of bars. Why sturdy? Because to me sturdy is a necessity for a picnic or an outdoor cookout potluck. You want a cookie people can hold easily, that won’t fall apart or melt. And yes I know if I am not crazy for obsessing on my puppy’s ears than I might be crazy thinking so much about what makes a great summer party cookie, but desserts you cannot easily hold drive me nuts at parties.
The minute I saw the basis of this recipe in Abigail Johnson Dodge’s The Everyday Baker: Recipes and Techniques for Foolproof Baking I knew it was the recipe I wanted to work with. The crumble bars have the benefit of being seasonal–who doesn’t enjoy strawberries in spring?–but they use jam, which is easy to work with, if you have just made jam it gives you a use for it, and, most importantly, if you are excited for strawberry season but strawberries are not yet ready where you live, you can still enjoy a strawberry dessert. I, uh, might be that last. I am always so excited for any berries long before they actually start being harvested where I am!
Abigail Johnson Dodge’s recipe calls for strawberry jam, but it just so happens I have some super special made-just-for-me strawberry rhubarb jam. When my sister in law Katie learned that strawberry rhubarb was my favorite jam, she made a set of jars for me a few Christmases back (with all of the moves, I waited until we were in this house to open any because I did not want to have to throw any opened but unfinished jars out). I added cardamom to the dough and used pistachios in the bars, and the sweet tart flavor of Katie’s strawberry rhubarb jam complemented those flavors perfectly. These Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars have been a big hit with the entire family and everyone who has come to visit as well.
Adapted from Abigail Johnson Dodge. She makes this recipe even easier than it already is by using a food processor, but I could not find the correct attachments. So I used a pastry cutter--except it was broken! I have since ordered a new one but can also confirm that if you work quickly and use cool fingers, you can make this recipe by hand by rubbing the butter into the flour mixture, and then using 2 forks to mix the egg into the flour.
- 12 T (6 oz; 170 g; 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing
- 1 egg
- 1 t vanilla
- 2 cups (9 oz; 255 g) AP flour
- 2/3 cup (131 g) sugar
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/4 t fine sea salt
- 1 t ground cardamom
- 1 cup strawberry rhubarb jam (feel free to sub a different jam)
- 1/3 cup finely chopped roasted, salted pistachios (feel free to sub different nuts)
Slice the butter lengthwise and then chop into small cubes. Place in a prep bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place the butter in the freezer while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Lightly spray an 8-inch square pan with oil (to help the paper stick) and line it with parchment paper. Lightly rub a pat of butter over the parchment paper and set aside.
Whisk together the egg and vanilla and set aside.
If you are using a food processor, you can use the pulse function, but if you are working by hand, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cardamom.
Sprinkle the butter over the flour mixture. Using either the food processor or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the only clumps of butter are no bigger than peas. If using a food processor, be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is being reached evenly.
Drizzle the egg mixture over the flour-butter mixture. Either using 2 forks or using the pulse function of the processor, mix until moist crumbs form. A ball of dough will NOT form.
Divide the dough in half. Press half of the dough into the prepared pan using damp fingers.
Pour the jam over the pressed in crust. Do your best to spread it evenly, and finish with a brisk shake of the pan in each direction.
Mix the chopped pistachios into the remaining dough. Then squeeze small amounts of the dough together to form small clumps. Sprinkle these over the jam--mine covered the jam nearly completely.
Bake for 36-42 minutes; a wide range is provided because some people like these bars crunchier and some like them softer. Either way, make sure the crumble top has started to get golden brown.
Let the bars cool completely before using the parchment paper to remove the "cake" from the pan. Slice into bars.
I actually liked these bars better the second day, much like shortbread, so I think they are a good option for making ahead!
No summer outdoor feast is complete without a platter of cookies and the Creative Cookie Exchange has some to share this month in time for Memorial Day getting the outdoor potluck season started.
You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.
If you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:
- Sensational Snickerdoodles from All That’s Left Are The Crumbs
- Ricotta Chocolate Chip Cookies from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Coconut brownies from Flours and Frostings
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars with Pistachios from The Spiced Life
Looking for a Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars collage to pin?