You may or may not recall that I am a member of something called the Secret Recipe Club. It’s been a few months since I participated. December was simply too busy, so I skipped that month. And then the whole club took a break for January while some changes were enacted. See, the Secret Recipe Club is pretty darn huge, and the administration duties for its founder, Amanda, have been enormous. She and her group of volunteers have done an admirable job keeping the club going. I don’t think she ever realized how popular her little brainchild would be, but there are hundreds of members now. Talk about a blogger success story!
This month, I was assigned a blog that I have actually heard of before, although I don’t often read. Meet The Swans is a blog run by husband and wife team Krista and Brett, and it contains a great deal more than food. They post about everything from their home remodeling project to ideas for weddings. Fortunately, the blog also contains plenty of great recipes and I had no trouble finding inspiration. The minute I saw a recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars that Krista adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, I knew I had to recreate. I adore rhubarb and have had some in my freezer that I’ve been hoarding since last June so that I could bring a little taste of summer into our lives in the middle of winter. This seemed like the perfect opportunity.
I really should be calling these Rhubarb Strawberry Crumb Bars, as they contain much more rhubarb than strawberry, but that doesn’t quite roll of the tongue as easily. Like Krista, I upped the amount of rhubarb because I love the flavour and tartness, and kept the strawberries to a minimum. I did add a little arrowroot starch to the filling to help thicken it, as the absence of sugar means it doesn’t thicken up as much as the original recipe. Of course, I couldn’t make my version with flour and oatmeal, so I created a crumb-like crust with almond flour and erythritol. I did add a touch of ground ginger to the filling, as in the original BHG recipe, but again like Krista, I skipped the ginger icing because I just didn’t think the bars would need it.
The Results: It really is nice to bring the flavours of summer into a dull, wintery day. These bars are lovely and soft and crumbly, with a not-to-sweet, strawberry rhubarb flavour. That said, I do think that next time I would make more filling, as I found the filling to crust ratio a little on the skimpy side. But I am a rhubarb fanatic and I always want my rhubarb desserts to have an intense rhubarb flavour. On the whole, I think these bars are an excellent treat.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars
2 cups sliced rhubarb
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup water, plus 2 tsp
1/4 cup Swerve Sweetener or other granulated erythritol
1/2 tsp ginger
10 drops liquid stevia extract
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
For the filling, combine rhubarb, strawberries, 1/4 cup water, sweetener and ginger in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture bubbles and fruit is soft enough to be mashed with a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in stevia extract. Sprinkle with xanthan gum and whisk quickly to combine. Let cool until thickened.
For the crust, preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8×8 inch pan.
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, sweetener, and salt. Add butter and stevia extract and cut in with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press half of mixture into bottom of prepared pan and bake 12 to 14 minutes, or until edges are just golden brown.
Spread filling over bottom crust and sprinkle with remaining almond flour mixture. Bake 20 minutes, or until topping is golden and filling is bubbly. Cool in pan.
Makes 16. Each bar has a total of 5 g of carbs and 1.7 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3.3 g.