For reasons related to caloric self-defense, I’ve never been a big baker. When he was in high school our son Corbett had to rely on the generosity of my friend Marguerite to bake him cookies. One day as he munched one of her cookies he dreamily declared, “I wish Marguerite was my mother. She bakes.”
Corbett is in for the shock of shocks! During his upcoming visit home this summer I’m going to bake these strawberry rhubarb crisp bars. They’re only slightly indulgent. As Deb, proprietor of Smitten Kitchen says, they’re not nearly as sugar or fat laden as most baked treats. There are lots of oats in them too. And let’s not forget all that fruit. There. I’ve justified these bars sufficiently to be able to enjoy one or two. Hey, they’re only 3 WW Points per bar. I suggest that you go ahead and make room.
A major bonus to this recipe — it’s mixed, layered and baked all in just one pan. The original recipe, from the cookbook, “One Bowl Baking,” calls for thinly sliced apples instead of the rhubarb and strawberries, but Deb couldn’t leave well enough alone, and that suits me fine. I love rhubarb.
I’m changing my baking tune on the premise that it’s good to have a reliable, simple recipe like this one that I can rely on. One pan, some oats and seasonal fresh fruit. I can do this.
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. cornstarch (optional, but helps firm up the filling)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
1 cup diced rhubarb (about 1 1/2 medium stalks)
1 cup diced strawberries
Powdered sugar, (optional but pretty)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. For easy removal of bars, line bottom and sides of an 8 X 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. This step is optional — there’s no need to grease the pan if you don’t have parchment.
Place oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and baking soda in bottom of the baking pan and stir to mix. Pour melted butter over and stir until clumps form. Set aside 1/2 cup of this mixture. Press the rest of the crumb mixture evenly in the bottom of pan.
Spread half of the fruit over the crust. Sprinkle it evenly with the cornstarch, then the lemon juice and 1/2 Tbsp. of the granulated sugar. Spread remaining fruit over this and top with second 1/2 Tbsp. sugar. Scatter the reserved crumbs over fruit and bake bars for 30 to 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and crisp portion is golden.
Let cool in pan and cut into squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Store leftovers in fridge (they’re great cold).
WW Points per bar: 3