May 13, 2013
I feel like rhubarb often gets the pushed aside. It’s often looked over in the grocery store, and I bet you that many people don’t even know what it is. While I was grocery shopping the other day, I saw some rhubarb stalks just staring me in the face. Literally they were staring me down, and I knew I had to make something special with them. Although technically a vegetable, rhubarb takes on a lot of “fruit-like” characteristics. It’s very tart and sweet and absolutely spectacular in pies. If you’ve never had a rhubarb pie, you are 100% missing out. Our pantry was lacking in the sweet department, so yesterday was all about the sweets. In the end…Brown Butter Rhubarb Cookie Bars were born. Yes, they taste just as amazingly as they sound. They also look just as amazingly as they taste. These little beauties were totally worth the 2-3 hours of times they took to make. Don’t be worried, it’s really not THAT bad. Oh and there’s a perfectly perfect beer pairing with this one…one you certainly don’t want to miss.
Vanilla bean, rhubarb, and cookies oh my! Yup, I just went there. Seemed appropriate at the time.
Yes, that would be the birth of a rhubarb and orange simple syrup. I don’t think that needs any explanation, except for maybe…Yum!
I’m not going to lie, these cookies aren’t going to take 10 minutes to make. There is quite a bit of work involved. There is also quite a bit of inactive time and cooking time. There are also quite a few steps to tackle. Have I scared you away yet? I certainly hope not. They are totally worth the pain and suffering. I promise.
Also, I am definitely NOT, not going to tell you how much butter is in this bad boy of a recipe (ahem 1 1/2 cups…yup, 3 sticks). That’s right. It’s not light, but it’s fun to indulge sometimes right?! Also, it’s brown butter! Who doesn’t absolutely love brown butter!?
When picking out a rhubarb, look for one that is bright in color with hardly any blemishes. The straighter the better. The crisper the better. Also, if your local grocery store is like mine, they usually only sell the stalks. This is because the leaves contain toxins that can be harmful to humans…and especially your puppies! If you happen to be growing rhubarb, then you probably already know that you shouldn’t eat the leaves. If you happen to find rhubarb in the store with the leaves still in tact, toss them or compost them (which is totally ok to do). You don’t want them. Trust me.
Let’s Talk Beer
You totally want something sweet and dessert-like for this beer pairing. If I were pairing with wine I would definitely choose a good port or sherry. We’re pairing with beer of course so I decided to go with one of my favorites. The Bruery’s Five Golden Rings is one of my favorite beers of all time and it is such a sweet-tasting “dessert” beer. Although it is brewed with pineapple and not rhubarb, it is still a perfect pairing. It is tart and fantastic. Choose something sweet and refreshing for this pairing. You will be so happy you did. Hey, and if you happen to come across a beer that has been brewed with rhubarb, let me know! I know they are out there, but I have yet to find one at my local bottle shop.
Happy Monday everyone! See you all tomorrow!
- FOR THE RHUBARB FILLING
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons orange juice (approx 2 oranges)
- zest from 2 oranges
- 1 vanilla bean, pulp removed (save the pod)
- 3 rhubarb stalks, cut into ½ inch pieces
- FOR THE CRUST
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- FOR THE BROWN BUTTER FILLING
- zest from 2 oranges
- ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, pulp removed (save the pod)
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- Start with the preparation of the rhubarb filling (or jam). Combine the sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla bean pulp and pod in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring the combination to a boil over high heat and continue cooking until the mixture begins to caramelize around the edges just slightly. At this point, add the rhubarb and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture begins to resemble a jam. Turn the heat to low and cook for another 20 minutes or until the jam has thickened. Remove from heat, discard of the vanilla bean pod and transfer to a bowl to cool completely.
- While the jam is cooling, prepare your crust. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, stirring frequently until the butter just begins to brown and a nutty aroma fills the air, about 5-6 minutes (be careful, the butter can go from brown to burnt in a matter of seconds). Remove the pan from the heat immediately and transfer to a bowl. Transfer the bowl to the freezer and freeze for about 30 minutes or until the butter has just begun to harden.
- Whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and the flour in a large mixing bowl. Once frozen, remove the butter from the freezer and cut into little cubes. Mix the butter into the flour mixture with clean hands. Crumble together and knead the dough until the crumbs come together to form a crumbly dough. Now press the crust evenly into a 9x13in baking dish, making sure to cover each square inch. Press down and seal around the edges until the dough is tightly packed into the dish. Transfer the crust to the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and situate the oven rack to the middle. Once cool, bake the crust for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- While the crust is cooling, prepare your brown butter filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the orange zest, flour, eggs and sugar. In another heavy-bottomed skillet, combine the vanilla pulp and pod and the butter. You will again be browning butter. Melt the butter over medium-high heat and stir frequently until the butter begins to brown slightly and a nutty aroma fills the air. Remove from heat immediately. Remove the vanilla bean pod and very slowly begin to whisk the brown butter into the egg mixture until everything is smooth and incorporated.
- Spread about half of the brown butter filling over top of the baked crust. Use a rubber spatula to cover the entire dish. Now, dollop the rhubarb filling on top of the brown butter filling, using about ¾ of the filling. Cover the rhubarb filling with the rest of the brown butter filling, and top it off with dollops of the rest of the rhubarb filling.
- Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the bars are a deep golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely before you cut into them. Store in an airtight container for about a week.