Rhubarb Bars

This recipe originally comes from Annabelle Kvam, a home cook who continued to write a weekly newspaper column well into her eighties. She would handwrite her recipes and “chuckles” each week and send them to the paper – and deciphering and typing up Annabelle’s cursive for copy was one of my first jobs as a teenager in southeastern Minnesota.

She joked that she “hated recipes!” Except, it seems, for ones involving rhubarb, the bitter root growing rampantly in all Minnesota gardens. In the span of a month-and-a-half, Annabelle printed recipes for “Sour Cream Rhubarb Pie,” “Rhubarb Bread,” “Rhubarb Jam,” “Rhubarb Coffee Cake,” and this one for “Rhubarb Bars.”

She liked to keep her recipes simple, with basic ingredients and easy directions. “People got the sugar and the butter and the flour in the house. I try to get something that anyone can make,” she said to me when I interviewed her over a decade ago for a college assignment. This attitude was practiced during her days as a housewife, when she couldn’t afford luxury items – “things like coconut and raisins” – but found that “you can’t beat the basics.”

– Emily Torgrimson

Ingredients: (makes 16 bars)


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 10 Tablespoons powdered sugar


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the crust ingredients and pat into a 9×13 pan. Bake 15 minutes, until crust is lightly brown.
  2. While crust is baking, prep filling by beating eggs, adding sugar, flour, and salt. beat well, until slightly frothy.
  3. Gently stir in rhubarb and spoon filling carefully over hot crust. Bake an additional 45 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.