I may not have baked with rhubarb before this season, but I'm sure making up for it now! These squares are simply amazing. I love the flavour, especially after adding the orange blossom water - the orange flavour combines so well with the fruit. In fact, everyone in the family adored these treats. The coconut shortbread-like base stays firm and is a lovely compliment to the rhubarb/strawberry layer.
I found kraft caramels in chip form at Target recently so I added a handful to the squares. Although not necessary they did add another nice texture to this dessert.
Full on strawberry season has not arrived yet so we still haven't gone strawberry picking but I'm hoping to make a day of it before the end of the month!
3 c rhubarb, diced
1-1/2 c strawberries, sliced
1-1/4 c granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
1 tsp orange blossom water (optional)
1/2 c cut up caramels (optional)
Base and topping
2 c flour
1-1/2c unsweetened medium coconut
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
What to do
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- On low heat, cook the rhubarb, strawberries, 1-1/4c sugar, spices, cornstarch, water and orange flavour, if using. Heat until rhubarb is tender but not mush - about 10 minutes. Cool.
- Mix in caramels.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, coconut, baking powder, and sugar.
- Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut in the butter until a rough sand like consistency is reached.
- Press half of the base mixture into the bottom of a 8 x 12 inch pan.
- Add the rhubarb mixture and smooth if needed.
- Scatter the remaining half of base mixture on top of the fruit.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes.
They can also be frozen.