Thursday, June 6, 2019

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars (Gluten Free, Vegan & Refined Sugar Free)

I have been on the hunt for a good gluten free, vegan & refined sugar free crumble recipe for what feels like forever. I have tried SO many recipes and they always come out just okay. My family loves fruit crumbles, so I have continued my searched and just recently discovered the perfect recipe. And, I don’t say that lightly. We are picky with our crumbles but this one is absolute perfection.

Every year, my grandma brings me rhubarb fresh from her garden and my favorite thing to do with rhubarb is mix it with strawberries and make a crumble! Rhubarb is tart, so it balances perfectly with the sweetness from the strawberries. I’ve deemed it my personal mission in life to create food that caters to food sensitivities without tasting like it does. Do you know what I mean? I have tried so many gluten free things and thought meh it’s pretty good considering it’s gluten free. I want my desserts to taste delicious not considering they’re gluten free or dairy free or whatever they might be free from. I want them to just be good.

That is so the case with these strawberry rhubarb bars. They taste great because they’re darn good. No one would ever guess that they are free from gluten, dairy, eggs and refined sugar! The roots of this recipe are from Heartbeat Kitchen. I used the base of her recipe but modified it to create my own spin on this fabulous treat!

Start by combing the ingredients for the base and the crumble in a small mixing bowl. Combine 1 cup of gluten free rolled oats, 1 cup of gluten free oat flour, ½ cup of cane or coconut sugar, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon until well combined. Once the dry ingredients are well mixed, stir in ½ cup of melted Nutiva shortening.
This was my first time using Nutiva’s shortening in my baking (I swear by their unrefined coconut oil) and I loved it! I love that this shortening is a little cleaner than other brands and it made for a great end result!
When the crumble is combined, press a heaping cup of it into an 8x8'' baking dish lined with parchment paper. Really pack that base layer down to ensure that it will hold together later on. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the base for 10 minutes. It should be golden brown and fragrant. 
While the base layer is baking, mix the filling together. In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of chopped rhubarb and 1 3/4 cups of hulled & sliced strawberries with 1/3 cup of cane sugar and 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch. When the base layer comes out of the oven, pour the strawberry-rhubarb filling over it and use a spoon to spread the filling out making sure it covers the entire base layer. 
Next, sprinkle the remaining crumble over the top of the filling. The crumble won't completely cover the filling but it will do a pretty good job covering most of it. Put the bars back in the oven for 25 minutes. The crumble topping should be golden brown. Let the bars cool completely before popping them in the fridge over night to solidify. 

Y'all - I was a skeptic of this whole fridge overnight business. But, it worked! Before putting the bars in the fridge, the bars looked like oatmeal. There is no way they would have held together to serve. After spending the night in the fridge, they were completely solidified and were SO easy to serve! 

I have to be perfectly frank and say that we did not cut these bars with any rhyme or reason. My family kind of just dug in. Strawberry rhubarb has that effect on my crew. I recommend cutting them into 9 or 16 bars depending on the size of dessert you wish to serve :)

Gluten Free, Vegan & Refined Sugar Free
yield 9-16 bars

for the crumble...
1 cup gluten free oat flour
1 cup gluten free rolled oats
1 cup cane sugar or coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Nutiva shortening, melted

for the filling... 
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 3/4 cups strawberries, hulled & sliced (I use frozen strawberries but fresh strawberries would work too!)
1/3 cup cane sugar
1 Tablespoons cornstarch

1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the crumble. When the GF oat flour, GF oats, cane sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon are well combined, mix in the melted shortening. 
2. Press a heaping cup of the crumble into the bottom of an 8x8'' baking dish lined with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the base of the bars for 10 minutes. Set the rest of the crumble aside. You'll use it later on.
3. While the base is cooking, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, cane sugar and cornstarch in a medium mixing bowl. 
4. When the base comes out of the oven, pour the filling onto the base and use a spoon to spread it out and completely cover the base. 
5. Next, sprinkle the remaining crumble over the top of the filling. It should pretty much cover the filling, though it won't completely conceal it. 
6. Put the bars back in the oven for 25 minutes. They should be fragrant and golden brown after 25 minutes. 
7. Let the bars cool completely before putting them in the fridge and letting them set over night. Once the bars have set, cut them into 9 or 16 bars and serve. 


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