I still remember the first time (which was coincidentally the last time) that I tried rhubarb straight out of the garden. Now, I don’t mean in a pie or jam, I mean straight out of the garden with nothing else. Wow. My mouth hurts just thinking about it. Not that it deterred me a single bit. It remains one of my favourite nostalgic foods.
It’s been a long time since I baked something gluten-free (mostly because our family doesn’t avoid it), so I figured I would embrace the challenge with the beautiful bunch of rhubarb that I had recently picked up at the market. I pass the most adorable local fruit stand around the corner every day that happened to have piles of PERFECT strawberries (the kind that actually taste like strawberries and aren’t the size of my head), so off to work I went.
As the weather warms up my head starts swirling with healthier summer dessert ideas. Living in Okanagan means that we get some serious summer heat, which can make it a bit challenging for serving desserts that need to be kept chilled (i.e.: anything with ice cream). These double wall dessert bowls are pure GENIUS! I love the way they look, and beyond the fact that you can showcase your beautiful desserts from every angle, they are hand-blown and keep my desserts cold (they also keep hot things hot). Summer dessert dilemma solved, thanks Zwilling!
If you are baking this for someone with a true gluten intolerance, make sure that you pay attention to your ingredients and only purchase those that are labelled gluten-free, including your rolled oats and coconut (the unsweetened coconut is usually a good bet, just make sure you read the ingredients).
Makes 24 bars
- 3 c. diced rhubarb
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 3 c. sliced fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. corn starch
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1 c. sweetened shredded coconut*
- 1 c. almonds, toasted & ground**
- 1 1/2 c. large flake oats*
- 1 c. oat flour*
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/3 c. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1/2 c. melted butter (or coconut oil)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
*Make sure that you buy labelled gluten-free versions of these ingredients if you are baking for someone with a gluten intolerance
**I use a mini food processor to grind my almonds
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the rhubarb and 2 Tbsp. of water and simmer for approximately 5-10 minutes, until the rhubarb gets soft and starts to break down. Add the strawberries and the sugar and cook for another 5 minutes until the strawberries start to get soft and break down as well.
- Combine the corn starch with the remaining water and dissolve. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the fruit and simmer for 1-2 minutes, until it is thickened and transparent. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a lightly greased 9×13″ baking pan with parchment paper (I use soft tub margarine for this step, it helps the parchment stick to the pan).
- Combine all of the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl and stir well to combine. Press 2/3 of the oat mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan, and spread the cooled fruit mixture using a rubber spatula on top. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 oat mixture evenly on top of the bars and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes, until the bars are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool before serving.
- Once fully cooled, remove the bars from the pan (using the overhanging parchment to pull them out) and cut the bars with a good quality sharp knife. Serve on their own or with a small scoop of ice cream.