Lemon bars might be a staple, but we think these rhubarb bars should definitely make an appearance every spring.

Southern Living, March 2022

Gallery

Credit: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe Summary

bake:
40 mins
chill:
2 hrs
cool:
30 mins
total:
3 hrs 45 mins
active:
35 mins
Yield:
24 bars
Advertisement

When we can find beautiful, pink stalks of rhubarb at the grocery store, you can bet your bottom dollar that we'll be making the most of it. This vegetable (yes, it's a vegetable!) has a short growing season, so we savor every last chance to bake with rhubarb. Sure, you've seen plenty of rhubarb pies and rhubarb cakes, but these Rhubarb-Amaretto Bars are utterly unique.

In this unexpected recipe, the tart, sour flavor of rhubarb plays off warm, nutty amaretto liqueur. These rhubarb bars start with a crumbly, lemony crust, where a combination of butter and canola oil provides richness without overwhelming the delicate fruitiness of the bars. The lemony dough is dry and crumbly but bakes to a crisp, light shortbread texture. Pat it into the pan firmly—but don't pack it down, which could make it too dense. The rhubarb filling can be made with fresh or frozen rhubarb. It gets spiked with a quarter-cup of sweet, almondy amaretto liqueur, and a dash of food coloring brings the signature pink color of a rhubarb dessert.

Pro tip: parchment paper makes removing the bars from the pan very easy. Serve these pretty pink bars with a cup of coffee or an amaretto sour.

Ingredients

Crust
Filling

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare the Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13- x 9-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all sides; set aside. Place flour, powdered sugar, lemon zest, and salt in a food processor; pulse until combined, 2 to 3 pulses. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Drizzle mixture with oil; pulse until barely moistened, 5 or 6 pulses (mixture will be crumbly). Pour mixture into prepared pan; pat firmly into an even layer. Rinse food processor, and pat dry. Bake Crust until light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven.

    Advertisement
  • While Crust bakes, prepare the Filling: Bring rhubarb and ⅓ cup of the granulated sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium, stirring often (rhubarb will release juices). Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is very tender and broken down, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cleaned food processor; process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add lemon juice and amaretto; process until well combined, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

  • Whisk together flour, kosher salt, and remaining 1 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in rhubarb mixture and eggs until well combined. Stir in food coloring, if desired. Pour mixture over hot Crust. Return to oven, and bake at 350°F until Filling is set, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate, uncovered, until chilled, 2 to 3 hours. Remove mixture from pan using parchment paper overhang; cut evenly into 24 (2-inch) squares. 

Advertisement