almond rhubarb picnic bars

One of the primary pieces of advice my grandmother imparted on me — besides the fact that she thought I should be a writer, an absurd idea I promptly ignored — was that one should always leave the house looking the best they can. I realize this might sound a little old-fashioned and possibly even oppressive — I Exist As More Than A Decorative Object, thankyouverymuch — but I took it to heart nonetheless because I know she didn’t mean high heels and rollers, but mostly that looking more with it than you might actually feel sometimes can trick you too.

quick buttery cookie base
pressed-in crust

I apply it in the kitchen as well. Thus, while if we’re being completely honest, life is currently a swarm of getting recipes ready for the next book (eee!), a to-do list for this month as long as the remainder of this year, kids waking up way too early, mama going to bed too late, an apartment that has yet to clean itself and let’s not even talk about what’s going on in the produce drawer — i.e. real life, and not even a bad one — rather than dwelling on the chaos, I think we should cook for the life we want, not for the life we have. Thus: I choose picnic bars.

ready to grind
ground and creamy
almond paste
like puzzle pieces!
if I can do this, you can do this
a little sugar on top
from the oven, a little tousled

Because when the opportunity to spend a weekend picnic-ing or basically doing anything that involves blankets, lawns, hammocks, iced tea or naps and laziness, I’m going to be so ready for it. Also, statistically speaking, having picnic bars ready immensely increases the chance that one will find or create a picnic to take them to. [Caveat: Not confirmed by actual statistician but I just know it’s going to work out for us.]

almond rhubarb picnic bars

One year ago: Fake Shack Burger
Two years ago: Soft Pretzel Buns and Knots
Three years ago: Greek Salad with Lemon and Oregano
Four years ago: Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice
Five years ago: Rhubarb Streusel Muffins
Six years ago: Pecan Cornmeal Butter Cake and Mushroom Crepe Cake
Seven years ago: Rhubarb Cobbler and Broccoli Slaw
Eight years ago: Cherry Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake and Mushroom Streudel
Nine years ago: Homemade Oreos and Celophane Noodle Salad with Roast Pork

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Roasted Leek and White Bean Galettes and Date Breakfast Squares
1.5 Years Ago: Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Prailine Sauce
2.5 Years Ago: Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions and Apple-Herb Stuffing For All Seasons
3.5 Years Ago: Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
4.5 Years Ago: Gingersnaps and Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Biscuits

Almond Rhubarb Picnic Bars

Consider these a spring riff on 2014’s apricot pistachio squares; here we make a more classic frangipane with toasted almonds and extract and the rhubarb, well, I know ombré and chevron are totally out these days (grandma would not approve) but this was honestly accidental, a thing that happens almost naturally when you bias-cut a great pile of rhubarb and try to puzzle-piece it into a pattern. If all of your rhubarb are pointing in the same direction when you cut them, that is, the greener bases on one side and the pinker tops on the other, and you work through the pieces from one side of the board to the other, a gentle transition of color happens on its own. Or, you know, you could just scatter pieces all over and it will all taste the same in the end.

You can double this recipe and make them in a 9×13-inch pan.

Yield: I cut these into 16 2×2-inch squares

1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or salt
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine

3/4 cup (75 grams or 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 ounces) sliced almonds, ideally toasted and cooled
1 tablespoon (10 grams) all purpose flour
A few pinches of sea salt
6 tablespoons (75 grams) plus 1 teaspoon (5 grams) granulated sugar
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 2 teaspoons brandy or another flavoring of your choice (totally optional)
1/2 pound rhubarb

To finish
Powdered sugar or 1/4 cup jam of your choice

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper and trim each to fit the 8-inch width of an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Press it into the bottom and sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet. This is going to make it very easy to remove the bars.

Make the crust: Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into chunks, and add it to the bowl, then run the machine until the mixture forms large clumps — that’s right, just keep running it; it might take 30 seconds to 1 minute for it to come together, but it will. [No food processor? Get the butter to room temperature and beat it with the sugar, then the flour and salt and mix until combined. Chilling it for 15 minutes or so will make it easier to press in.]

Transfer the dough to your prepared baking pan and press it evenly across the bottom and 1/4-inch up the sides. Bake for 15 minutes, until very pale golden. For the sake of speed, transfer to a cooling rack in your freezer for 10 to 15 minutes while you prepare the filing.

Make the filling: In your food processor bowl (which I never bother cleaning between these steps), grind almonds, 6 tablespoons sugar, flour and salt together until the nuts are powdery. Cut the butter into chunks and add it to the machine. Run the machine until no buttery bits are visible. Add any flavorings and egg, blending until just combined. Spread filling over mostly cooled (warmth is okay but it’s hoped that the freezer will have firmed the base enough that you can spread something over it) crust.

Arrange the fruit: Trim rhubarb and cut it half horizontally top to bottom, i.e. like splitting a hamburger bun, with the flatter part on the bottom. [Update: Does this diagram help?] Keep tops and bottoms matched/stacked and cut stalks on the diagonal into about 1 1/4-inch lengths. The top and bottom of each segment should nicely “V” together, color side up, in a chevron pattern. If you mostly reach for the more green segments first and the pink-er segments second, you’ll end up with an ombré look on top. Sprinkle fruit with 1 teaspoon granulated sugar.

Bake the bars: For 45 to 55 minutes, until they’re golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the almond cream underneath comes out cream-free. The rhubarb pieces are going to move around a little as it bakes so don’t be surprised if the pattern looks a little different when it’s done.

Let cool in pan on a rack, or in the fridge, or even in the freezer. You can decorate the bars with a little powdered sugar, or warm some jam and brush it over for a glossier finish. I find it easiest to get very clean cuts when the bars are very cold. A serrated knife, used gently, can ensure the rhubarb stays perfectly put if it’s not cold enough. While bars do not need to be refrigerated if it will just be a day or so, they keep longer and (I think) more nicely chilled.

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200 comments on almond rhubarb picnic bars

  1. I’m loving all the food processor baking ideas. I got one for Christmas and usually use it for hummus and dips, but feel like I should be doing more with it! And cookies and picnic bars are obviously a great way to make the processor feel loved.

  2. In my entire life I have never ever ever seen anyone make rhubarb look so beautiful. It’s just not that great looking of a food, but you managed it. And you put it into bar form, not circular form and I think we all know how nice it is to eat square food.

  3. Megan G

    I’m going to have to research and see if I can sub for the almonds/nuts. Although, maybe it’s mostly about the almonds after the rhubarb…

  4. Michelle

    I was all set to make your rhubarb snacking cake this weekend (which I love!), but now I’m torn. Such a dilemma!!

  5. Nancy

    Just so I understand the cutting process for the rhubarb stalks, are you holding the knife parallel to the board, cutting the full stalk so you’re getting two layers, essentially? That’s what I picture when you say cut horizontally – but I’m lost with the analogy to a hamburger bun because I would hold a bun up on it’s edge to cut *down*. (And what you’re NOT doing is cutting the stalk as if you were cutting a celery stalk into two smaller pieces, top to bottom but straight down through the center of the stalk?)

    I’ve never touched rhubarb before so I don’t know what I’m doing – but this recipe looks delicious enough for me to try it!

  6. That rhubarb gradient, though! Always glad to see another SK rhubarb recipe, since you’re the one who got me liking those tangy red stalks in the first place. (And I too was thinking about rhubarb plus almond this weekend; flavor combo of the season, I guess.)

  7. SallyO

    This looks amazing. Thanks to your strawberry rhubarb bars, rhubarb is now one of my favorite things. I even made a small batch of strawberry rhubarb jam which would be awesome brushed on these bars. I’m gonna have to find me some more rhubarb. Couple of questions though, in the instruction for mixing the dough part by hand, you say to add the egg, but I don’t see egg as being an ingredient for the dough. Maybe you were thinking filling a typed egg? In any case I want to get it right, so, if you could clarify. then, also, I recently had the most amazing baklava with a cardamom frangipani filling. I’ve been dying to re-create it but baklava is not in my wheelhouse. I’m with you on the phylo thing. Do you think cardamom would complement the rhubarb?

  8. Rachael

    I’ve never had rhubarb, because it’s usually paired with strawberries, to which I’m deathly allergic. This is so pretty, simple looking, and strawberry free, I might have to buy some and give it a try.


      Soooo delicious, what a winning combination of frangipane and rhubarb!! I have never made a crust-based sweet before, however this recipe was easy to follow along. Most definitely a keeper!

  9. Linda

    That should be “toasted” almonds in the intro….

    That said, even I, Supreme Nitpicker, cannot find fault with these…so gooooorgeous…..

    Oh, and the bars too.

    (It is probably creepy and inappropriate to say here, but the photos of your kids almost make me want to have kids, and to sympathize with all the baby-snatching witches, faeries and crows.)

  10. NancyNS

    Oh, I just made rhubarb bread pudding. Now I want to run out and get more rhubarb and make these! Beautiful – and I love rhubarb!

  11. Laura

    You ARE a writer. I read your blog as much for the writing as for the recipes. Love the recipes too, although I’m a better writer than I am a cook.

  12. deb

    Megan — Yes and no. I find it much more watery because once defrosted the cellular structure is basically gone. You might need more baking time to get it set and have a harder time getting a pattern just so, but it will otherwise work.

    Laura — Not that great looking? GASP. (I think rhubarb is the pretties shiniest thing; it’s like that pearled pink nailpolish I remember from the 80s? 90s?)

    Bryn, SallyO — Whoops, no egg in crust. Now fixed.

    Patricia — Absolutely.

    Cutting clarification — Sorry, this is what happens when I write recipes on very very little sleep. Yes, like a hamburger bun (like, when filled), knife parallel to counter. Do note: I cut mine into segments and then decided to split them horizontally (upper/lower portions) so that they were less thick. I found they were more likely to arc/curve when cut top to bottom (left/right portions). But cutting into segments and then splitting the pieces involves more cutting, so I wrote the recipe the more logical way. (Or, logical if my instructions make sense.)

  13. These are SO pretty! I love how you laid out the rhubarb and frangipane is one of my all time favorite things – will definitely have to try these out :)

  14. Sarah

    I have everything I need to make these right now – yay!
    EXCEPT: I only have whole almonds. Do you think if I gave them a rough chop before going into the food processor (and measured by weight), that they would make an ok substitute?

  15. Woah, I have never cooked with rhubarb and was never motivated to try bc i didn’t want to commit to a whole pie. But these! totally manageable and going on my must-cook list for this week. I also have some hazelnuts rolling around in my freezer from your homemade nutella that i might add in here.

  16. JC

    Absolutely stunningly beautiful. A huge round of applause! Rhubarb has been added to the shopping list because of you. There you have it, changing lives one recipe at a time.

  17. Sarah M.

    Do you have tips for grinding the toasted almonds without a food processor? I’d love to make this recipe, but don’t have a food processor at my disposal. Thanks!

  18. minik

    Grandma knows best! Me too, I like your writing so much (reading about your life too) I’m here for your words more than the recipes. And this is proof; we don’t have rhubarb in our country. This looks so beautiful, I’m still shocked you didn’t do it on purpose. You make everything look so easy, like a pro!

  19. miriam

    Ah! So excited for these! I just made the apricot squares (sadly without pistachios) this weekend for a barbecue – huge success! I have basically just been trawling your archives for all things “lots of spring fruit baked into bar cakes” for the last month or two. Welcome rhubarb picnic bars to the fold…

  20. joanna

    Hi Debs.
    I love rhubarb and almond combinations and this is the most gorgeously styled cake I have seen! I was just thinking that I need to cut down on the time i spend baking but can’t resist trying another of your recipes!…

  21. maro

    ha! I was planning to make a springtime riff on those apricot-pistachio bars for camping this very weekend. my plan was strawberries and toasted almond frangipane (the boyfriend thought my batch of strawberry-rhubarb crisp bars were “too rhubarb-y” — i know, what?).

    i’ll have to make these when he’s not around ;)

  22. I think you have your priorities straight.
    As for the bars, if they are this pretty, even if they contain rhubarb, which is as good as any Oxycontin (I would bet), then who would dare to eat them? Is it not better to bake really ugly stuff that people would stuff into their mouths in order to relieve the world of its shame? Hmmm. probably not.

  23. GraceAnn

    I can’t wait to try these, what do you think about substituting almond paste for the almonds and some or all of the sugar? Just because I have a ton on hand…

  24. Matt

    Do you think a version of this with pine nuts and figs would be delicious? Can one make a frangipane style base with pine nuts?

  25. You’ve convinced me that if I make these I’ll go on a picnic wearing a smart linen skirt while drinking a glass of rose. Therefore, I’m off to go bake for the picnic I want.

  26. Leah

    That ombré chevron is INSPIRED. I just had a sweet thyme-rhubarb scone today and was surprised by how well the flavors worked together (and how well thyme worked in a sweet application), so I’m definitely giving this a whirl this weekend, maybe with a bit of thyme sprinkled on top!

  27. Mel

    I made these two weeks ago, using the apricot bars as a base– I guess it wasn’t as original as I thought. I did the rhubarb sliced into circles and layered like scales but the chevrons seem much easier!

  28. bridgit

    Rhubarb is one of my all time favorites and this is SO beautiful. It’s my daughter’s first communion this weekend after a crazy week here, and while I’d love to make this, I don’t think I’ll have the time :(. We were planning strawberry short cake for her special dessert, but the strawberries aren’t ready in Michigan yet, and I don’t have quite enough in my freezer… but if I add rhubarb (2 different sauces, I think), I’ll have enough. Then people can choose one or the other or both. And the point of this rambling comment: rhubarb shortcakes would be welcome at any picnic or barbecue. And I can hardly wait to make this… NEXT week :)

  29. Erika

    Firstly, how do I succintly profess my love for all things almond/marzipan/frangipane? Truthfully, I am unable. So, instead, I will simply fill my mouth with this tart.

    Secondly, I’m 37 weeks into my second pregnancy, and who better to ask than you: what would/did YOU fill your freezer with to make eating more sane and, more importantly, satisfyingly delicious post-babe? First babe was winter, so freezer food was no prob. But “summer-appropriate” and “freezer” don’t usually find themselves together. Any and all help (can someone come clean my house?) is welcome…
    Thanks Deb!!!

  30. Amy P

    Erika – some summer freezer meal ideas to get you started:

    -pulled pork ready for the slow cooker
    -taco chicken (1 lb chicken breasts or thighs, 10 oz corn, 1 can rinsed black beans, 1 small chopped onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, and 2 Tbsp taco seasoning – cook in slow cooker 8 hrs on low and shred when done. Use in tortillas, on pizza, with salad…)
    -burgers (we like a version with shredded cheddar, real bacon bits, and dry ranch seasoning)
    -burritos (shredded taco-seasoned chicken, refried beans, and cheese; taco-seasoned ground beef, black beans, cheese – you get the idea! Oh, also we do one that’s shredded bbq pork or chicken with red bell pepper and pineapple and cheese that my husband loves. Burritos are particularly great because you can warm them up a lot quicker than a full meal and they’re a one-handed lunch/snack/midnight meal)
    -taco soup (the one I make is chili-style)
    -chicken stirfry (cooked chicken strips in sauce, have a bag of frozen stirfry veg in freezer as well)
    -butter chicken (you can even freeze cooked rice and naan!)
    -beef for asian lettuce wraps
    -fried rice (freeze cooked rice, cooked chicken, chopped onion/ginger/garlic, and frozen peas & carrots. Fry to reheat and add soy sauce and fish sauce to taste. Works really well actually!)

    Hope a couple of these work for you!

  31. Your grandmother was right… You do make a good writer…. And photographer, and teacher, humorist, journalist, artist, communications expert… etc etc.You have found a niche where you can use ALL your gifts. You have found your bliss! (It may not feel this way every day, but you have.)
    Congrats on a fab culinary blog. Your recipes brought me here, but it’s your other gifts that keep me here… Your blog is a delight. Thanks for sharing!!!

  32. Hannah

    Just traded my neighbour some of my ramps for his rhubarb – yay! Wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them just yet. Thanks!

  33. Bonita Pietila

    If I use almond flour (dont have a food processor), do I still use 75 grams? Thanks, wonderful recipe! :)

  34. *clap* *clap* *clap*

    Rhubarb is beautiful!
    It makes a stunning syrup!
    Rhubarb jam (screw the strawberries) is the most delightful shade of peachy pink!

    Thanks for highlighting one of my favorite spring foods.

  35. WrittenPyramids

    I’ll eventually get a kitchen scale, but until then, how much almond flour would I use as measured by volume?

  36. stephanie

    i agree – loved seeing this on IG, glad we got the recipe, too. ombre will never be out with me! chevron home decor never really took hold in my mind (probably because it seems to always come in pastels), but as a geometric pattern in general i think it’s great.

    also? i have been having wicked nostalgia cravings for a ring pop for like a week now. i’m not even a candy/sweets person really (i say, commenting on a dessert recipe…) but man, i’m jealous of jacob! (also because i really need to go pick out my plants before it gets too late to grow anything. and speaking of, how is the little one so big already? didn’t you just bring her home yesterday?)

  37. I have yet to bake with rhubarb this year, but I am so looking forward to it. I always leave the house looking my best. It definitely helps my mood when I think I’m not feeling it.

  38. Amy

    If ombré and chevron are out, then I don’t want to be in, because they look awesome. I’ve been making a lot of rhubarb almond galettes this spring, but this is happening soon!

  39. Beth

    Wait….chevron is out?? This is what comes of depending on the aisles at Target to tell you what’s hip and happening. And living in a rural area.

    All of that aside, these are so pretty. Too bad we just moved away from our rhubarb patch (weep).

  40. Nan

    You have another rhubarb convert. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out for so long! I stewed the pieces I had left over, with the idea that I might use it as a jam or topping on something soon. Well, I tasted it. And there is no longer any need to figure out what to serve it on–a spoon works fine. Can’t wait to taste the bars when they’ve finished cooling. :)

  41. Maryse42

    Have you ever had or made French rhubarb pie? It’s a rhubarb pie with a streusel-type crumb topping instead of a top crust. Made it this weekend with your all-butter pie crust and OMG it was to die for. I thought it would appeal to you. :)

  42. Lauren

    Once again…rhubarb is here Deb…you know what I am going to ask for…”The Rhubarb Pie that fell on the Kitchen Floor” pleeeease, you promised us- it is “in writing” too. If you tell us it will definitely be in cookbook #2 that’s the ONLY acceptable excuse. The “history” of this pie is such an interesting one ( and what a title!),don’t leave us hanging.

    1. deb

      Lauren — I know, I’m the worst. I keep saying I will and can I just admit it? I just wasn’t that into it. I’m just not that into meringue pies. The topping always feels wet and bland, instead of fluffy and marshamallow-like, as it looks. Maybe a straight-up marshmallow torched frosting would be more my speed.

  43. Lisa

    Rhubarb is my favorite! I have fond memories of mom making stewed rhubarb (and of being served it at breakfasts in Ireland!). As GraceAnn said in comment 37, I also have almond paste (YUM!) that I’d love to use here, with less (or without) sugar. What do you think?

    1. deb

      Jennifer — You can but it will be thinner and less flavorful, more of tart. The base here is shortbread/cookie-ish. But yes, both will work.

  44. i just happen to have some rhubarb on hand. now i know what i am going to do with it. they are just perfect for the sunday family get-together.
    thanks for the recipe. xo.

  45. Lisa

    Has anyone tried this base with berries instead of rhubarb? I’m yearning for something combining strawberries/blueberries and this beautiful frangipane flavor.

  46. Wessen

    Hi Deb – been trying your recipes mostly successfully for over a year now and have had a lot of joy from them! (Even if I did drop the gorgeous orange and ricotta cake taking it out of the oven.. Less said about that the better!) Quick question – can I sub almond flour for the all-purpose flour in this recipe to make this gluten-free?

  47. Joetta

    I just made this and it looks and smells divine. I think the only adjustment (with the caveat that I haven’t tasted it yet because it’s for a dinner party tomorrow) I will make next time is to really be sure to pack all the rhubarb in there. I placed it neatly and then when it cooked they drifted quite far apart from each other. Still gorgeous, but next time I’ll put more. Though I think I did use a full 1/2 pound. (And since 2 stalks came to more like 3/4 of a pound I had some left over to make some rhubarb syrup for summer cocktails.) Thanks for another awesome recipe.

  48. OMG those are gorgeous! I love your prior rhubarb recipes, but there’s something so aesthetically pleasing about those bars. If it wasn’t currently about 90 degrees in my air-conditioning free house I’d be jumping right on it, but I’ll have to bookmark them and take a raincheck for now. :(

  49. Meg

    :O :O :O

    They look like ART! I would almost not even want to eat one.

    (Ok, ok, I said ALMOST. They in fact look amazing and I want to eat them all, right now.)

  50. These remind me of summer and the rhubarb desserts my Mom made back in the day. I absolutely love the way you cut and layered the rhubarb in the zig zag pattern!

  51. Salena

    Excellent. Sophisticated flavors, beautiful to look at, and easy to make. I had my doubts when pressing the crust in the pan but continued on. Although I am not artistic and didn’t make my pattern look as good as Deb’s, when cut into bars, you couldn’t tell. Believe it or not, this went very nicely with a good Port on a hot night after a beautiful and very filling dinner. This dessert has a wonderful balance of flavors, the almond turns into a marzipan-like confection, and the rhubarb balances the sweetness of it.

  52. Jeanie

    Made these last night to serve this evening. They turned out every bit as beautiful as yours- can’t wait to serve them to guests. Thanks!

  53. marie

    uncut this is the prettiest cake in a long time on my table ! thank you for having that zigzag moment ! (and so good….)

  54. Mimi (another one)

    Didn’t have enough ground almonds so I took a few tablespoons of instant porridge. Baked it in a 9-inch round pan. After 45 min the edge of the base (?sorry I’m german) was almost burned – my bad. Checked too late.
    But everything else was delicious!

    I also couldn’t put the baked base in the freezer – no space. But the almond mix melts a bit if you put it on the warm Base, so you can smoosh it around, carefully.
    I’ll try it again next weekend!

  55. Lynn

    What an easy process for something that looks so beautifully complex! Only switch I made was using whole wheat flour – they are still so so good!! I cooled the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, in the freezer for 20, and then in the fridge. When I cut them, I used a serrated blade first to get through the rhubarb and then a kitchen knife to make the rest of the cut nice and clean. This was my first (!) smitten kitchen recipe…and I’m definitely smitten now!!

  56. Alana

    I made these pretty bars tonight and it’s taking all my willpower not to find a quiet corner and eat every last square. But I’ll be nice and share…this time. I forgot that I made scrambled eggs this morning so I left out the egg and they still turned out fine. I also didn’t have quite enough almonds so I added some walnuts. Still good! I love it when that happens. Sadly though I’m all out of rhubarb since I also made your rhubarb-strawberry syrup. I’ll just wait (im)patiently next to the rhubarb patch for more.

  57. Bryan

    I snatched what remained of the good rhubarb from two different stores just to make these! I opted to use strawberry jelly as a finishing touch, since the two pair so well together. It added a great additional flavor element (without being overpowering) to the bars, in addition to bringing out the jewel tones of the faded rhubarb once subjected to the oven.

    The not-so-pretty-pieces filled up one side for, er, testing purposes…

    Also, what kind of camera are you using these days? I love how you caught the food processor mid-spin!

  58. Sasha

    I have never eaten rhubarb but in my goal to try new things, would like to tackle this recipe. I looked in my neighborhood grocery store but couldn’t find rhubarb. Any advice on where to buy it?

  59. Sara

    Just a note to say I made these last weekend. They were more labor intensive than I thought they would be… Perfect to bring to a party, a little much if you’re making the other food.

    That being said, flipping delicious. Definitely use rhubarb instead of berries (as suggested) because it is very sweet. I didn’t do your beautiful chevron pattern because #aintgottimeforthat. Serrated knife was a great suggestion, thank you!

    Oh, and I doubled with no problem.

  60. Roisin

    I came to your site for the Rhubarb Snacking Cake recipe, and this popped up first. I didn’t split the rhubarb hamburger bun-style, as I like a lot of rhubarb. HOLY CRIPES these are good! And I normally avoid recipes involving chilling things and waiting.

  61. Alison

    I just made this last night for a party and it was the smash hit of the evening, up against some stiff competition like homemade cherry tarts and even cookies from Tatte Bakery in Boston. I make your rhubarb snacking cake at least twice per year, because it’s simply the best, and because I have a monster rhubarb in the backyard that needs using. But this was transcendent. Definitely more work than the snacking cake, but it too merits at least a once per year appearance, if not more.

  62. Jackie

    Help! Making this right now and I can not understand the rhubarb-cutting instructions for the life of me. Am I supposed to split the stalks in half lengthwise? It doesn’t look like that in the photos but I don’t know what else “Trim rhubarb and cut it half horizontally top to bottom, i.e. like splitting a hamburger bun” could mean. Any guidance??

    1. deb

      Jackie — You’re splitting the rhubarb stalks the long way, but instead of cutting them the more obvious way (top to bottom with the flatter side on your board) you’re cutting across (so the cut is parallel to the flatter side on your board). Picture cutting an egg the long way in half rather than the more logical short way. Hope that helps. Wait! I made you a diagram right here. Hope that helps.

      1. Leela Sami

        Just wondering if I could make these with other fruit? Like peaches, which I have an excess of right now. It wouldn’t be so pretty, but still…

  63. Carissa R.

    Made all the elements separately the day before to save a bit of time, including baking off the crust then covering and pulsing the filling elements & popping into a Tupperware/refrigerating. The next day, about an hour before baking, I pulled the filling out of the ‘fridge then proceeded as written with no deleterious effects to crust, filling or end result. These were really tasty, but don’t be tempted to leave them out of the refrigerator when storing, as the crust gets too soft. Instead, just pull them out for a few minutes before serving (or snacking) then pop them back in the ‘fridge.

  64. Joanna

    Made them last night, doubled. As usual with a bunch of subs due to what I had in the fridge – half of the almonds where whole (still toasted) – worked fine. Also half the butter was salted, I just cut out the salt from the recipe, and that worked fine too. I halved the almond extract because I always find that flavor too strong, and it was perfect. One change I would make – I wanted a whole lot more rhubarb for the texture and flavor contrast in the finished bar. Next time I might try cutting it into small pieces and scatter over the top, and use at least twice as much. Any problems you foresee with that? Thanks as always!!

  65. Made these yesterday and, as usual for Smitten Kitchen recipes, they are simply perfect. After reading here that they must be kept chilled and the crust gets soft at room temperature etc I was hesitant to make these for the break room at work, so I decided to try out first and keep part in the fridge and part at room temperature. I found that even after quite a while at room temperature, they’re fine! I’d advice keeping them in the fridge over night but I wouldn’t fret over keeping them chilled when you expect them all to be gone in a day. So I’m making them again next week to share. Though I can’t say I am disappointed at having to eat the first batch by myself!

  66. Marlana

    Made these for the 4th of July and they were a huge hit. My chevron ombre wasn’t quite as nice (I cut my pieces too small), but lots of compliments all the same. Thanks for another great recipe.

  67. Couldn’t WAIT to make these as they are so stunning in your photos. Sadly, mine lost most of their color during baking. Any ideas on where I went wrong? Love, love, love your recipe and post!!!
    Thanks so much!

  68. Shakespeare

    These were so delicious! I was surprised that the tiny, perfect looking bars were so satisfying – I was expecting to want like, 5, but they are so buttery and delicious I’m totally happy to savor one. These also freeze amazingly (for an allergen-eater in a allergy-ful house who can’t consume 16 quickly enough) – I just grab one from the freezer and toss it into my lunch.

  69. Julie

    Deb — About how many stalks of rhubarb in 1/2 pound? I don’t have a kitchen scale and my rhubarb is fresh from my aunt’s garden. Thanks!

  70. Hy

    Absolutely delicious! My rhubarb was much wider and less cute, but it still tasted great. Next time I might cut it both lengthwise and “hamburger” style to get a more impressive chevron. Worked fine without a food processor—I just used my blender for the almonds and dry ingredients. This meant that I used warm butter for the crust, but it cooked up fine even without going in the freezer to firm up.

    A few days later I made it again with modifications: plums instead of rhubarb, ground pecans instead of almonds, and vanilla instead of almond extract. Different flavor palate, but still tasty!

  71. emilyklash

    My in-laws are great lovers of rhubarb. My husband had some frozen, and I’m planning on making these. What say ye about the frozen rhubarb? Can I throw it on top as is, or do I need to let it thaw and pat dry first? Thanks! (Also, they’re pretty dogmatic about adding lemon to their rhubarb, so I’m panning on using the zest and juice. I’ll let you know how that goes).

    1. deb

      You can make the crust ahead. You can make the frangipane ahead and spread it on (but it will be very thick once cold) when you’re ready to assemble. And you can bake the bars even days in advance; they keep well.

  72. Lauren

    My goodness, these are fantastic! I have literally been waiting a year to make these. Last year I spotted the recipe but rhubarb season had just ended in SoCal and I was so disappointed. I printed the recipe anyways and have been waiting patiently for rhubarb to re-appear in the farmers market. I finally spotted some yesterday and made these and it was completely worth the wait! The combination of shortbread, almonds and rhubarb is spectacular!!

  73. Amy P

    These are delicious, but then again I love both rhubarb and almond :) I baked the shortbread an extra 5 minutes waiting for it to get the hint of “golden” around the edges, but then found it a bit too hard after baking with the almond cream & rhubarb. Next time I’ll use the time listed and not wait for any colour to show up. I had super thin rhubarb (like pencils) so I didn’t halve it lengthwise, just placed the sticks in tight rows. Next time I’ll semi-stack them to get a little extra rhubarb flavour because they get smaller during baking and spread out a little; I’d like more rhubarb flavour. I’ve eaten two squares while writing this review ;)

  74. bicycleaddict

    I loved making this! The chevron pattern was fun to put together. I think I added a bit too much almond extract though. Otherwise, it’s really tasty!

  75. Heather Shay

    For some reason there is no “print” option on this recipe. I accessed it through your weekly email and also tried through google search. I’ve always been able to print your recipes before. What am I doing wrong?

    1. deb

      There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from this or any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template.

  76. Emily

    I made a double recipe, using almond flour I had laying around instead of buying sliced almonds. I toasted them; some were leaned a tad towards burnt, but the burnt flavor didn’t carry to the finished dish. I could see how having a little Crunch from almond slices would be a nice textural addition to the finished product but MY GOD these were DELICIOUS. I added a little extra almond extract, too (I’m a marzipan fiend), and it was not a mistake. Great flavors, great textures…I will absolutely be making these for years to come. Note: If you’re trying to get fancy with the chevrons, don’t forget that you can’t cut all the stalks with the same (danger of multi-tasking is that I missed that crucial step). My taste buds say Thank You!

  77. meadowmuffin

    I made these for work, and they disappeared in about 5 minutes. I received so many compliments and requests for the recipe. This is definitely a dessert I will make again and again. Thanks for posting!

  78. holly Keyes

    This turned out beautifully even though my rhubarbs where of vastly different sizes. Everyone loved the crust and the ” goo” as they called the almond paste. This one will be repeated.

  79. Sarahb1313

    This so exceeded my expectations!!!! I love a classic french tart, apricot to be specific. But good apricots in NJ are hard to find. Or they get mealy when ripen. So making a great apricot tart is hard (and you can’t buy one outside of Paris!).
    I bought some beautiful rhubarb from the farmer’s market and made this tart. It is perfect!! I used preground almond flour (that I always have for making Macarons). I added a spoon of Amaretto and Bourbon along with the almond extract.
    It came out beautifully sweet, tart, and delicious!! Happy girl. Happy Dad’s on this father’s day!!

  80. Cristina

    Can I make ahead and freeze these? We’ve made these multiple times and want to serve at a party. They are simple to make, beautiful AND delicious!

  81. Laura

    I’ve made these as is, and they’re delicious. I made them again, swapping pecans for the almonds, and cranberries for the rhubarb. worked perfectly, and were a hit at a recent party

  82. Nisha

    These are delicious but I skip the sugar in the crust so there is more of a flavor contest with the filling. Also, 5 tbs of sugar is more than enough.

  83. EK

    Love it! I think I didn’t pulverized the almonds that well but still turned out amazing. The only thing that I did different was adding a bit of ground ginger to the crust, I think the smitten rhubarb snacking cake has that ingredient. Anyways this is a keeper.

  84. Julia

    I should start this by saying I’ve been following your blog for years now Deb, and you are a large factor in why my friends think I am a good cook. I love everything you do!
    I finally made this today, and as they don’t have rhubarb in the store where I live yet (and I lack a garden), I subbed raspberries and it turned out super delicious! A big hit at a dinner party. I think it worked as they still complement the almond and aren’t overly sweet, and also still added that juiciness. However, I will try it again when I get my hands on some fresh rhubarb :)

  85. Julia

    I am dying to make these as rhubarb and marzipan are two of my favorite things, but I haven’t been able to find any fresh rhubarb this season, sadly. Would it be possible to use frozen?

  86. Amalia

    What if lets say we dont cut the rhubarb stalks at all “hamburger-wise” would that work? i mean i’d like to get more rhubarb in a bar since my brother in law has a huge one in his garden

  87. Jillian

    These bars are delicious. They were a lot easier to make than I anticipated and your diagram for how to cut the rhubarb was very helpful. My boys love them and call them “rhubars”.

  88. Sherri

    I tripled the recipe and made a sheet pan of these for a town event. They are AMAZING! ….a nice balance of butter, sweet, tart, nutty, goodness. They look great on a tray and taste like they came from a good pastry bakery.

  89. These are insanely delicious! I couldn’t get the rhubarb cut properly to get the cute chevron pattern (out of time) but I made my own nice pattern of tiles of rhubarb rectangles, every other one facing up and reversing for the next row so it ended up looking like a basket weave. I couldn’t bear to toss the left over handful of rhubarb so I cut it up into little cubes and tossed them on top. No one in this household can tolerate almond extract so I used vanilla and Courvoisier. I used 1/2 cup each of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour with excellent results. An outstanding recipe!!

  90. Andrea

    I made this for the second year in a row and they are even better than I remembered!! I doubled the batch this year and found that they were a little on the buttery side (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) I would probably cut a tablespoon of butter out of the filling and the crust if I doubled it again.

    That crust is Wow!!

  91. Leslie

    This looks gorgeous! My son has a nut allergy – not almonds per se – but I generally avoid baking with all nuts in my kitchen. Since you’ve answered prior questions that people can sub almond slices for almond flour, do you think I can I sub the almonds for flour? Thanks! (ps: so many of your recipes are my go-to’s – would love to be able to make this one!)

  92. Kat

    Delicious! Had a bit of difficulty making the pattern with my rhubarb, but I’m spatially challenged ;) Still turned out great! Definitely preferred this chilled/straight out of the fridge… couldn’t stop eating!

  93. Shana Durham

    These are SO GOOD. The filling is amazing. I made them as written and cut the sections for the fancy top. Looked very cool. However, I’m making them for the second time and I’m going to just chop the rhubarb a bit smaller and stir it into the filling. The zig zag pieces for the top don’t cut through nicely after baking, because rhubarb is stringy, and the result is some bites don’t have any fruit, also the fruit was halved and those pieces after baking are too thin. So if you love rhubarb like me, consider increasing the amount, and if you’re just making them for a regular occasion, save some time and just chop. Thank you Deb, this bar is in my top 5 ever. Love all your recipes!

  94. Eliza

    Delicious! But not pretty. They didnt slice cleanly and our rhubarb is mostly green… and making a pattern was just a bit too tedious. I would definitely make again but I dont think I’ll be bringing them anywhere.

  95. Amy

    These were delicious and so beautiful. I added a little orange zest (1/2 tsp?) to the filling because I like the fresh taste/zip to brighten up the rhubarb even more against the almond. Cutting these is a pain in the butt- I did not read the recommendation to chill the bars and gently saw with a serrated knife and learned instead by trial and error. Follow her advice!

  96. Justicia

    I’ve made these twice (once with rhubarb and again yesterday with cherries) and they are INCREDIBLE. My wife has a severe gluten allergy, so I substituted Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free baking mix. Yesterday I had a whole mess of sour cherries and used those instead of the rhubarb. I mixed the cherries right into the frangipane, kept the sugar level the same, and they turned out divine. They slice up beautifully once chilled. Thanks for another winner, Deb!

  97. Judith

    Do you think I could swap in some cornmeal for the crust? I love the flavor and texture it adds to baked goods (also have a ton that needs to get used up).

  98. Teresa

    Thanks for this recipe! The filling of this was incredible, but I also really liked the crust. Do you think this would work as tart shell if I just baked it on it’s own?

  99. k

    HOLY CRAP, THESE ARE DELICIOUS. I swapped ingredients in the interest of “dear god I don’t want to pull down this container or that one and maybe I could eat less cholesterol this one time”: whole wheat flour and half butter, half coconut oil in the crust; two-thirds butter and one-third coconut oil (and almond flour, not nuts I ground myself, and twice as much almond extract) in the almond mixture. And, remembering struggles with fibrous, directly-exposed-to-the-oven rhubarb in the past, I diced that and scattered it over the top. (I also doubled it for a 9×13 pan. The whole thing is surprisingly thin in my pan; I might increase the original amounts by 75% next time in that pan.) I cut a piece about 20 minutes after pulling it from the oven and found the crust to be surprisingly crisp. The fruit is taaart – I think mine would be wonderful dusted with powdered sugar or brushed with apricot or strawberry jam thinned and goosed with a drop of almond extract. Overall, the effect is marvelous. I can’t wait to use other fruits for this recipe.

  100. Erika

    Mine weren’t anywhere near as pretty as yours, and they fell apart when I cut them, but holy cow they’re delicious. I may or may have not eaten 3 before I put them away…

  101. Marcy

    I love these! We have allergies, so I made with GF AP flour and “plant butter”. Worked beautifully. The crispy, snappy crust is delightful.

  102. Nancy

    Hi! I finally got around to making these yesterday and I thought they were wonderful. My veg-o-phobe husband, though, actually picked off the rhubarb…it was outside his “comfort zone”. pitiful, I know. but, he LOVED the crust and almond filling. Wondering if you could suggest a fruit that might also work? I know it will have to be somethig that doesn’t give off a lot of juice when it cooks. I was thinking cherries would be delicious but probably too juicy. Any suggestions? Thanks for your time! And I love your blog and cookbooks!

  103. Carie Lyn

    I just made these and they are so good! The most tedious part was cutting up the rhubarb, but it worked out. I cut them like Deb’s diagram and also sliced them lengthwise. My hope was to reduce the stringiness by making the rhubarb pieces smaller and it worked. I couldn’t manage the chevron pattern because I sliced all the diagonals the same direction before I realized my mistake, so I did a sort of subway-tile arrangement.

    A couple notes: I followed other reviewers and pulled the crust at the time mark instead of waiting for it to get golden. Mine had no color at all when I pulled it and it turned out fantastic in the end. Also, my toothpick never came out clean from the almond cream. The cream was still, well, creamy, even after 15 minutes of additional baking time, so I measured the internal temp, and decided it was done enough at 210 degrees. Refrigerated, the cream is soft but doesn’t seem raw. Maybe my rhubarb released more juices than normal to make that happen? Who knows.

    Not only are the bars gorgeous, but they taste like they came from an expensive pastry shop. Truly one of the best bars I’ve ever had. Thanks, Deb, for a winner of a recipe I’m sure I’ll make every summer from here on out!

  104. Jessica

    Hi! Can I add strawberries to this somehow? Loved the first round I made but I have some strawberries hanging around looking needy. Thank you!

    1. deb

      I haven’t tried it at all with berries but I think it could work? Maybe thinly sliced across the top? Just not sure if they’ll look cute once baked and semi-buried.

      1. Jessica

        Thank you! Yeah I was worried mainly about too much moisture, doesn’t sound like you think that will be an issue?

        1. K

          I think therr’s room for this method: bake berries, thinly-sliced and laid flat, at 350 until they’re mostly done exuding moisture. Then lay them on the almond layer and bake it as directed.

  105. Anna

    I’ve made these a lot and given the recipe out frequently – really love them! I have never used a jam glaze on them, should you wait until they are cool / cold before glazing or glaze when warm? Thanks!

  106. Ann Cromwell

    I have a 8 oz can of Solo brand almond paste. Ingredients are blanched almonds, sugar, water, and natural flavor. I’d like to use it up. Could anyone provide some coaching in subbing this product in the frangipane? Thanks

    1. Melanie

      If it were me, I would probably try using ~2.75 oz of the almond paste in place of the almonds in the filling. I might taste the almond paste to see how sweet it is and then use less sugar than called for – maybe 3-4 tablespoons instead of 5.3? I think the rest of the filling ingredients (flour, butter, egg, salt, flavoring) could stay the same – maybe double check to make sure there isn’t any salt in the almond paste. If you do (or did) use it, let us know how it goes (or went)! I’m always curious to learn about substitutions.

  107. Katie

    I recently made these to use up some rhubarb I had, and adapted to make them gluten free using measure for measure flour (celiac kid in the house). Instead of whole almonds I used some old-ish almond meal I had kicking around the back of the fridge, which I toasted first in hopes of taking the fridge-y-ness out of it. I’m pretty sure I overbaked them at all turns, but they were still a HUGE hit. My (normally super picky, rhubarb-hating) kids could not get enough, and keep wistfully asking when I will make more. This recipe is definitely a keeper, and very adaptable for the GF person in your life.

  108. Laura

    I love your idea: “rather than dwelling on the chaos, I think we should cook for the life we want, not for the life we have.” This explains something to me, about myself, that I needed to know. Thank you!

  109. Leslie Eagle

    This is a keeper! I love that everything mixes in the food processor easily. The extra time spent making the chevron pattern is well worth it. So delicious, easy to pack, and carry. Thanks, Deb for this great recipe.

  110. Another SK keeper! Made without a food processor. Baked crust for about 17-18 mins at convection 325. No colour whatsoever. For filling I used ground almonds (no toasting) and very cold butter which I rubbed in like pie crust. I blended in the egg and flavourings (almond extract and some rye whiskey) very well but it was fine. I only had 2 stalks of rhubarb; no issue cutting them other than being careful. The top is sparser than the photo but I’m fine with it. Used 2 tsp sugar since the rhubarb is top. Baked exactly 45 mins at 325 Con. SO good. Love the layers. I’m so glad this will be my rhubarb standard since I don’t want to use it with other fruit or anything fancy.

  111. Lauren from JP

    This is delicious. I took it to work and all of it disappeared. I topped with raspberry jam which was a really nice flavor complement. My ombré chevroning left a bit to be desired but once topped with jam glaze and cut, it wasn’t noticeable. Will definitely make again.

  112. Deb B

    Hi Deb!
    I received your newest cookbook for Christmas (um, it was on my list)!
    I read through the comments but have a question, did you peel the rhubarb? Making today and I’ll peel, but did not see that in recipe and always follow instructions the first time, and then start playing. Family here and they love almond and rhubarb.
    Thanks for all your inspirations!

  113. Jacinta

    I do believe I’ve made this amazing square four times this spring; have substituted walnuts for the almonds and it’s DELISH as well! Thanks So Much for this. Have passed it on to many friends. Keep up your incredible ways to light up our kitchen each week Deb 👏

  114. Ellen

    I made this gluten free and dairy free with 2/3 oat flour, 1/3 coconut flour and non-dairy butter in the crust and oat flour in the filling. I used used almond meal instead of grinding the almonds. Turned out delicious.