There are always the desserts that people remember, and these Rhubarb Frangipane Shortbread Bars land in that bucket. Every year, as rhubarb season begins, friends and family subtly start mentioning this dessert. As if I forgot about it.
These bars are the perfect marriage of a portable bar and a classic rhubarb and frangipane galette. The frangipane (almond cream) is a simple mix of almond flour, sugar, butter, and an egg and sits on a buttery shortbread crust. The frangipane is then topped with rhubarb, which becomes incredibly tender and melds with the almond cream layer as the bars bake. These bars are rich and decadent thanks to an ample amount of butter and delicately sweet, which lets the tart taste of rhubarb shine.
While these bars have a few extra steps, it is miraculously a one-bowl recipe. I used to use a food processor to make them, and this year called for a revamp. Mostly, the food processor is a pain to clean; it contains 3 different parts with lots of nooks and crannies where pieces of food always get stuck. Secondly, for complete transparency, my large food processor is currently neatly tucked away in the back of a storage unit. I weighed my options of either finding a new method to make these bars or searching through boxes and try to find it. I stared at my conveniently situated stand mixer on the kitchen counter and chose the former. This method is now my favorite way to make these rhubarb bars.
POSSIBLE SUBSTITUTIONS FOR THESE RHUBARB FRANGIPANE SHORTBREAD BARS
BLANCHED ALMOND FLOUR. Unblanched or finely-ground almonds also work. If you want to pull out your mini-food processor, feel free to substitute almond flour for finely-ground slivered or regular almonds.
Before you Begin: Tips for the Rhubarb Pattern
The rhubarb pattern on the top is always top-of-mind. This time around, I created a basketweave pattern inspired by Call Me Cupcakes Rhubarb Almond Galette. This simple rhubarb pattern requires a lot less cutting, thinking, and time compared to the chevron pattern and is equally beautiful. Another option, and probably the easiest, is halving the rhubarb stalks lengthwise and laying them in strips across the baking pan, such as this Rustic Rhubarb, Almond, and Honey Tart. This pattern shows how eye-appealing even the simplest pattern is.
More Spring-Inspired Recipes
- Citrus Pulled Pork Tacos with Garlic-Lime Sauce
- Sweet & Spicy Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Perfectly Sweet Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
- Spring Grilled Cheese with Charred Scallions
Decadent Rhubarb Frangipane Shortbread Bars
These Rhubarb Frangipane Shortbread Bars are rich, decadent, and delicately sweet, which let the tart taste of rhubarb shine. They are perfect for any occasion, including picnics, spring brunches, baby showers, bridal showers, and Mother’s Day.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 75 minutes
- Total Time: 90 minutes
- Yield: 16 bars 1x
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
For the Crust:
- 1 cup (128g) unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (50g) white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, cold and sliced into thin slices, European-style preferred*
For the Frangipane:
- 3 ounces (86g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, European-style preferred*
- 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons (75g) white granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup (98g) almond flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 pound rhubarb
Make the shortbread crust:
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter an 8-by-8 inch square baking pan and line two sheets of parchment paper crosswise, extending up the four sides, forming a “sling” for your bars. The parchment paper makes it easy for you to remove the bars and slice them later.
- Mix using a stand mixer: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt on medium-low speed to combine. Add the butter pieces, one at a time, and mix until the butter is incorporated and has a wet, crumbly appearance, about 4 minutes. Continue mixing until the dough comes together and forms a ball, about 3 more minutes. Mix by hand: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Add the butter pieces, one at a time, and using your hands or a pastry blender , break up the butter in the mixture until a wet, crumbly mixture forms, about 8 minutes. Mix, using a wooden spoon, until the dough comes together and forms a ball, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and press it evenly across the bottom. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool to room temperature on a baking rack.
Make the Frangipane:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy and no butter pieces are visible, about 1 minute. Add the egg, and mix on medium speed until just combined.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer (if using) and stir in the almond flour and salt with a spatula. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust in an even layer.
Arrange the Rhubarb:
- The easiest way to tackle any pattern is to cut the rhubarb as you arrange the rhubarb on the frangipane. For a basketweave pattern, start by cutting a few pieces of rhubarb into 2-inch batons and arranging the pieces in the middle of the baking pan. If you have small pieces of rhubarb leftover, set them aside; they are perfect to fill the gaps in the pattern later. Continue cutting the rhubarb and moving outwards toward the edges of the pan. Fill in any gaps with the small, leftover pieces at the end.
Bake the bars:
- Bake until the frangipane is golden brown on top and the rhubarb is tender, about 50 minutes.
- Remove the baking pan from the oven and transfer it to a wire rack. Let the bars cool completely in the baking pan. For the cleanest cuts, refrigerate the bars until they are very cold before cutting. Cut into 16 2×2″ squares or your desired size.
BUTTER. The butter is a star ingredient in both the crust and the frangipane. The buttery rich taste from the extra fat in European-Style Butter makes a difference here, and I recommend buying the best quality butter you can afford.
STORAGE. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- Serving Size: 1 bar
- Calories: 172 calories
- Sugar: 6.8g
- Sodium: 82mg
- Fat: 12.8g
- Saturated Fat: 6.7g
- Carbohydrates: 13g
- Fiber: 0.7g
- Protein: 2.3g
- Cholesterol: 13g
Keywords: rhubarb recipes, rhubarb dessert recipes, rhubarb frangipane