Friday, September 1, 2017

The world can end now (the Rhubarb Files)

Because I finally found a rhubarb cookie recipe that I like.

Rhubarb and I go way back. (It probably began because Auntie Anselma, God rest her soul, did not put enough sugar in her rhubarb pie. For that matter, neither did Mom, but she used more than Aunt Anselma).

I have never, ever understood rhubarb. I think it is one of the mysteries of the food universe, like tofu. I'm not alone: even the Wizard of Id made regular fun of rhubarb.

Like most rural prairie kids, I grew up thinking that giant rhubarb plants just naturally grew in everybody's gardens (and that everyone had a ten-acre vegetable garden). And because it was a sin to waste food, you had to pick, cook, freeze, preserve and/or eat whatever was edible that grew on your property. And that if you wanted to punish your children, you baked something with rhubarb in it, and called it "dessert."

Later in life, it more or less horrified me to find out that some people DELIBERATELY planted rhubarb in their gardens, and that in some cases they even BOUGHT the plants (you know the zucchini joke? You can tell which people in the grocery store have no friends because they're the ones buying zucchini. Multiply that by ten for rhubarb).

Of course, it would be my luck that everywhere I have lived (yes, even rentals) --if it had so much as a tiny garden patch-- there was a rhubarb plant growing there. And thus remaining true to my frugal prairie roots, I've had the obligation to cook with it. Most years, I am rhubarbed-out after the first or second baking of Rhubarb Crisp.

My daughter (whose husband loves rhubarb: honestly, WHERE do you find a 30-something man who likes rhubarb?) found this recipe and sent me the link (naturally, I would not voluntarily go seeking rhubard recipes online...)

And these cookies are actually good.     

Here's the ingredient list. If you're interested in making them, please visit the lady's website, for the directions.

And yeah, I KNOW summer is over, and rhubarb will be hard to come by. I started writing this post last June. 

Rhubarb Oatmeal Cookies


1/2 c
butter, softened

3/4 c
brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 c

2 large

1 1/2 tsp
pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 c

1 tsp

1/2 tsp
freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

1 tsp
baking soda

1 tsp

3 c
old fashioned oats

3 c
rhubarb, finely chopped 

1 c
white chocolate chips

3/4 c
walnuts, chopped (optional)
For starters, I must confess: I had no white chocolate chips, so I had to substitute chopped white baking chocolate (and it didn't amount to a whole cup). Next time I will make sure I have all the white chocolate it calls for. Secondly, I forgot to put in the baking soda. Just forgot. That happens when you're over 50. 

The dough was STIFF. I used my lovely Breville stand mixer, but at the very end, I had to finish it off with my large Danish Dough Whisk. (I say "large" because I have a small one too. Do you have a Danish Dough Whisk? If not, your life in incomplete, but that is a story for another blog post.).

The directions said to drop by 'large' spoonfuls, but I think mine were too large. I used my 2" cookie scoop. As you can see below, the cookies browned significantly on the sides, yet were still too moist (ie partially raw) inside. 

But they were truly yummy. The next time I made them, I flattened them slightly with a floured fork (as you do for peanut butter cookies), and that allowed them to bake more evenly. They don't spread out much, and I assume that's because of the relatively low fat content. 

The third time I made them, I reduced the sugar (oh gosh, I'm channeling Aunt Anselma!), and my advice is: don't reduce the sugar, unless you want something more like a breakfast cookie. 

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