Easy Rhubarb Bars with shortcake dough. A simple shortcake dough is divided and pressed into a pan then topped with rhubarb and the remainder of the dough. These rhubarb bars come together quickly and are a great recipe for baking with rhubarb.
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Hi hi! Just popping in to re share the recipe for these Rhubarb Bars. These rhubarb shortcake bars have been on my website for a few years now. They are super simple to make - there is one base dough that forms the base and topping of the shortcake. I love an easy bar recipe, and these are exactly that!
I made these shortcake bars with fresh rhubarb but they are super versatile and can be made with other fruit too. The rhubarb is just mixed with some starch and arranged in a layer on top of the base. Then it is topped with the crumble topping and the whole thing goes into the oven.
These homemade shortcake bars are easy and fun to make, and are a huge favourite in our house, either as a quick throw together recipe or served with ice cream for dessert. I love baking with rhubarb - for more easy rhubarb recipes check out my rhubarb pie and my easy rhubarb galette.
New Zealand Shortcake
This is what we call a shortcake in New Zealand - a fruit layer on top of a dough base with more dough topping it. They are significantly different to what the US calls a shortcake, which is more of a biscuit situation. The pastry is short and sweet, and the fruit layer is often quite tart to offset the sweetness of the dough. Shortcake bars come together quickly and get assembled all in one go with no par baking needed.
- Make the shortbread crust. This is a classic short, sweet pastry that is made by creaming together butter and sugar and then adding dry ingredients.
- Divide the dough. The same dough is used for the base and topping of these shortcake bars. Weigh out some of the dough and press into the baking pan, and reserve the rest.
- Add the Rhubarb. Mix the rhubarb with a wee bit of sugar, tapioca starch and vanilla, stir to combine, then arrange evenly on top of the base.
- Add remaining dough. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the rhubarb. You want to add it in chunks.
- Bake. The Rhubarb Shortcake Bars bake until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling. The bars need a little time to cool before slicing so the fruit layer can set.
Two ways to make Rhubarb Shortcake Bars
I originally made these rhubarb bars as shown in the photos below. To do this, I chilled the dough after mixing then rolled it out and cut it into squares. One of the squares was the base and the other the lid. This is how we make an apple shortcake in NZ. It's a little fiddly but it works.
I sent the recipe of this rhubarb shortcake to my friend Lisa a few years ago (she is an amazing NZ based pastry chef), and she adapted it by adding the dough on in chunks on top of the fruit as opposed to my sandwich method. It works so much better and is much quicker. So it only made sense to also re-shoot this rhubarb shortcake using the same method. It tastes the same, just has a different format and involves much less mucking around and chilling pastry.
How to make shortcake bars with other fruit
The great thing about these shortcake bars is that the recipe is super versatile. You can absolutely make this with other fruit. You could easily add in some blueberries or other fruit along with the rhubarb. Shortcake is also often made with berries or plums here in Nz. You could use these quantities for strawberry rhubarb. Or, you can make this your own. Just keep in mind to adjust the starch and sugar as needed as different fruit have different moisture and sweetness. Some options you could make:
- Strawberry rhubarb bars using the fruit quantities in my strawberry rhubarb bars recipe
- Peaches, Apricots, Plums, nectarines - about 750g fruit should go with about 23g starch and then approx 75g sugar. Adjust as needed! I do a mix of whatever I have.
- Rhubarb and Blueberry - Sub some of the rhubarb for fresh or frozen blueberries
- Cranberry - this recipe works great with frozen cranberries if you have any leftover from anything! The filling is 450g frozen or fresh cranberries, 15g tapioca starch, 125g granulated sugar, ½ tsp vanilla, ¼ tsp salt, and then 20g water or orange juice. Baking and assembly instructions are the same.
- Mixed berry - I would follow similar proportions to the cranberry but adjust the sugar as needed. It would also work great with frozen berries.
FAQ for Rhubarb Bars
Can I use cornstarch in place of tapioca starch?
Yes. I haven't tried it but I would do about 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp worth of cornstarch (cornflour if you're from nz). I love tapioca starch as it sets clear but cornstarch also will work.
Is there meant to be baking powder in the crust recipe?
Yes - it is meant to be there!
How do you store rhubarb bars?
Store your rhubarb bars lightly covered at room temperature. Do not put in a sealed container or they will go soggy.
For more Rhubarb recipes, check out:
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Recipe for Rhubarb BarsPrint
Rhubarb Bars are super easy to make. A simple shortcake dough is divided and pressed into a pan then topped with rhubarb and the remainder of the dough. These rhubarb shortcake bars come together quickly and are a great recipe for baking with rhubarb.
- 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 150g granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs (100 grams), at room temperature
- 1 tsp (4g) vanilla bean paste
- 450g all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ teaspoons (8.75g) baking powder
- ½ tsp (1.5g) kosher salt
- 750g trimmed rhubarb, chopped into ½” pieces
- 2 Tbsp (16g) tapioca starch
- 80g granulated sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- ½ tsp salt
- Powdered Sugar to dust
- Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Line a 9” square baking tin with two pieces of parchment paper, forming a “sling” so that you can easily remove the bars.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing to combine before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined.
- Weigh out 475g of the mixture, and press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the bottom of a drinking glass or with an offset spatula. Set the rest aside.
- In a medium bowl, place the rhubarb, tapioca starch, granulated sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt, and mix with a spatula until well combined. Spread the rhubarb mixture evenly over the surface of the dough - do not press down too hard.
- Crumble the remaining dough over the surface of the rhubarb, ensuring that you add it in an even layer.
- Bake the bars for 40 to 45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the fruit filling is bubbling. Allow to cool completely before using the parchment paper to remove from the pan. Slice into bars, and dust with powdered sugar.
- Store leftovers lightly covered with a paper towel at room temperature for up to 3 days. Do not store in an airtight container as they will go soggy.
Keywords: Rhubarb, Shortcake, Rhubarb shortcake, shortcake bars