Strawberry-rhubarb oat bars

Happy Spring

In Seattle, Spring is a fickle friend.  You will catch a glimpse of her but she'll disappear behind Winter's pouring rain.  She'll emerge coyly, wrapped in gray skies, to be glimpsed in the buds on every tree.  When you least expect it, she will burst forth from Winter's veil and flaunt her charms in every corner of the city. 

Seattle does spring amazingly well, thanks in large part to the cold, wet winters, which give the city it's lush vegetation and also provide a marked contrast to the color and light of spring.

What better way to celebrate the start of spring then by baking something delicious.  In honor of spring I decided to use rhubarb.

But really, what is rhubarb without strawberries.  So I added some strawberries to make a filling for strawberry rhubarb bars.

I cooked the strawberries and rhubarb down because I wasn't sure if the rhubarb would get soft enough.  I think next time I may skip it and just put the fruit in the middle of the bars, mainly because I am lazy.  The compote worked really well though and was scrumptious.  You could use any leftover as a sauce for crepes. Mmmmm, crepes.

The compote will soak in to the bottom layer, so use more than half the crumb bar dough for the bottom.  Spoon over the compote, sprinkle the rest of the dough on top and bake.

Once it is finished, cut yourself a square, find a spot with some sunlight and celebrate the beginning of spring.

Strawberry-rhubarb compote

3 cups rhubarb, thinly sliced
3 cups strawberries
1 1/4 cup sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp cornstarch
1. Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan over med-low heat.  Simmer, stiring occasionally about 30 minutes, until the rhubarb has cooked down.
2. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Oat bars

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 cups oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter
Jam or compote from above

1. Mix all the ingredients except for the jam.
2. Press slightly over half the mixture in to a greased 9x11 baking pan.
3. Spread jam over bottom layer.
4. Sprinkle remaining mixture on top and lightly press down.
5. Bake for between 30 and 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
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