Memorial Day and some Rhubarb Shortbread
There's really nothing better than waking up late at The Cottage to coffee being brewed, bacon being fried, and sun shining through the windows.
There's also nothing better than heading into town and stopping by the farmers market for some fresh produce, especially when you plan on cooking for most of the weekend. Of course I wish the weather would have been nicer on Saturday and Sunday, but it sure did leave a lot of time for us to slow-cook some ribs and bake these delicious rhubarb shortbread bars I'm about to show you...
I've always loved rhubarb; my mom used to cook with it a lot when I was growing up. Husband loves it too, and since we picked up some with the spinach and asparagus we bought at the market, it seemed fitting to make a rhubarb dessert for the family picnic on Monday. Deb helped us out with the base recipe, and we worked from there. They turned out to be really tasty--they were gone very quickly! I love the idea of using this recipe again with whatever fruit is on hand. Very versatile.
Speaking of Monday, we had a lovely time with Husband's extended family at the picnic, eating and beaching and chatting with everyone. We even got to bring down dear little E to the beach! What a babe. It was a very small taste of the sweet summer that is to come; it was really hard to leave on Monday night. Did you have a nice weekend? I hope yours was just as sweet!
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for rhubarb
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
5-10 rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced (depending on how much fruit you want in your bars)
To brown butter: place butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low. Stir constantly until butter turns a light brown color and smells nutty, about 4-5 minutes. Watch it carefully; butter browns very quickly and will burn if you're not really watching it. Put the butter in the freezer until it turns back into a solid, about 30 minutes.
While butter is cooling, slice rhubarb and place in a bowl with the 1/4 cup sugar. Mix together to coat, and let sit until butter is done cooling. Strain to get rid of extra sugar/water.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter a 9x13 inch pan. Whisk together the sugar, baking powder, flour, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, fork, or your fingers, mix the solidified butter and the egg into the dry ingredients until all is crumbly. Place 3/4 of the mixture in the pan and press it into the bottom and corners. Add the sliced rhubarb to form another thin layer (next time I might use a little more rhubarb to make it more fruity). Sprinkle the rest of the crumbs evenly on top and bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges are slightly brown and the top is starting to change color.
Cool completely before cutting.