Brown Butter Hazelnut Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars


 
Brown Butter Hazelnut Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars - a brown butter hazelnut shortbread is used as both the base and the crumble topping for these strawberry rhubarb crumb bars. These are the perfect early summer easy dessert! #crumbbars #strawberryrhubarb #brownbutter
Brown Butter Hazelnut Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars - a brown butter hazelnut shortbread is used as both the base and the crumble topping for these strawberry rhubarb crumb bars. These are the perfect early summer easy dessert! #crumbbars #strawberryrhubarb #brownbutter
Brown Butter Hazelnut Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars - a brown butter hazelnut shortbread is used as both the base and the crumble topping for these strawberry rhubarb crumb bars. These are the perfect early summer easy dessert! #crumbbars #strawberryrhubarb #brownbutter
Brown Butter Hazelnut Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars - a brown butter hazelnut shortbread is used as both the base and the crumble topping for these strawberry rhubarb crumb bars. These are the perfect early summer easy dessert! #crumbbars #strawberryrhubarb #brownbutter
Brown Butter Hazelnut Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars - a brown butter hazelnut shortbread is used as both the base and the crumble topping for these strawberry rhubarb crumb bars. These are the perfect early summer easy dessert! #crumbbars #strawberryrhubarb #brownbutter
Brown Butter Hazelnut Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars - a brown butter hazelnut shortbread is used as both the base and the crumble topping for these strawberry rhubarb crumb bars. These are the perfect early summer easy dessert! #crumbbars #strawberryrhubarb #brownbutter
Brown Butter Hazelnut Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars - a brown butter hazelnut shortbread is used as both the base and the crumble topping for these strawberry rhubarb crumb bars. These are the perfect early summer easy dessert! #crumbbars #strawberryrhubarb #brownbutter

Are you sick of Rhubarb yet? I am not. I don’t think that I will ever be, in fact. So here we are again with another rhubarb recipe - this time for Brown Butter Hazelnut Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars. That sounds super fancy, but essentially I took my favourite shortbread recipe (which we used in these mini egg bars), jacked it up even more with some brown butter, then used it as both the base and the topping for these strawberry rhubarb bars. The use of the shortbread in both the base and topping gives a double dose of texture either side of the jammy fruit filling, without having to make two separate components.

The filling for these is super simple - strawberries, rhubarb, a little sugar, and some starch to help bind things. There’s no cooking things down into a jam, it’s just the standard equation for a fruit filling I usually stick by : fruit plus sweetener plus starch. I love how rhubarb cooks down but still holds its shape in these bars - which gives not only that tartness that rhubarb is amazing for, but a little more texture than if you were to cook the fruit down prior to adding to the bars. As long as your base is cooked nicely before adding the fruit, you’re all good to avoid any sogginess.

I kept the ratio of rhubarb to strawberry a bit higher on the rhubarb side, as I wanted the flavour to really come through. You could absolutely switch it up, but be aware that strawberries are a lot more watery than rhubarb, so you may have to tweak the quantity of starch a bit to account for that.

I browned the butter in the shortbread, which is slightly more labour intensive than just using regular butter, but in my opinion is so, so worth it - the toasty brown butter plays off the hazelnuts and brown sugar in the shortbread base, which elevates the whole thing in the most amazing way.

I’ve included directions on how to just use regular butter if you are a little short on time and don’t have time for the butter to cool, or would like to skip that step. These would be perfect for taking to a picnic, or as a simple dessert for a summer dinner - they are so, so good with a scoop of ice cream!

A few wee tips:

  • This is important - each batch of brown butter will yield a slightly different amount of liquid. I have added milk into the recipe to account for the moisture loss - my brown butter came out at 180g, so I added 45g milk (to make it back up to 225g). You will need to weigh your brown butter and work out how much milk needs to be added (it’s probably around 45g) - to work this out, weigh your brown butter, then subtract the weight from 225 - that is your milk amount! Or if that’s too tricky, 45g milk will work just great too.

  • The brown butter needs a little bit of time (about 45 min) in the fridge to come back to a soft butter consistency so that you can cream it with the sugar

  • If you don’t want to brown the butter, you don’t have to, although I think it is a delicious step! If you don’t want to, you can just use 225g of unsalted butter, at room temperature, and you can leave out the milk (which accounts for the moisture loss while browning the butter)

  • I used pre-chopped hazelnuts, but if you can’t find those, finely chop some toasted hazelnuts. To toast them, place them on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 mins in the oven at 350°f / 180°c.

  • These definitely are easiest to cut once they are properly cool and have time to set - pop them in the fridge to speed this up if you need!

  • I actually shot the first test of these, before I tweaked the base a little - so it looks a little on the uncooked side. The final recipe has you cook it a little more!

  • The measurements for the fruit are taken after they were trimmed - so the ends chopped off the rhubarb, and the tops taken from the strawberries.

 

 

Brown Butter Hazelnut Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars

- Makes 12 bars -

Brown Butter Hazelnut Shortbread
225g unsalted butter, diced
120g brown sugar
45g milk (see notes)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp salt
340g all-purpose flour
60g toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped

Filling
500g trimmed rhubarb, diced
300g trimmed strawberries, diced
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
100g white sugar
3 Tbsp tapioca starch
1/4 tsp salt

 

- PROCESS -

SHORTBREAD

Place the butter in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until melted, then continue to cook, stirring often, until it begins to brown and smell nutty. Watch it carefully, as it can easily be over done. It will go foamy, and then be done soon after. Transfer to a bowl to stop the cooking process. Place in the fridge, stirring occasionally, until it is a soft butter consistency (I like to pour it straight into my mixer bowl to save dishes).

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Grease a 9” (23cm) baking tin, and line with two pieces of parchment paper, with the ends extending over the edges of the pan to form a ‘sling’ to help you remove the bars after baking.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cooled brown butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla bean paste and mix to combine. Add the salt and flour, and mix on low until just combined, then add the chopped hazelnuts and mix briefly to incorporate.

Set aside 300g of the shortbread in a bowl, and place in the fridge until needed. Transfer the rest to the lined baking tin, pressing down to form an even layer with an offset spatula or flat bottom of a drinking glass.

Dock the shortbread using a fork, then bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Leave the oven on.

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Place the diced rhubarb and strawberry in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla bean paste. In a small separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, tapioca starch, and salt. Add to the bowl along with the fruit, and then mix to combine, ensuring the fruit is evenly coated with the starch mixture.

Transfer the fruit mixture to the slightly cooled shortbread, flattening down gently to make an even layer.

Sprinkle the reserved shortbread over the surface of the fruit - I like to press some of it together with my fingers to make bigger crumbs so that there is some size variation.

Return the baking tin to the oven and bake for a further 55 to 60 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Check it at 40 minutes and tent with foil in for the remainder of the bake time if the topping looks as if it is getting too golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature (this can be sped up in the fridge). Remove from the tin using the parchment paper sling.Slice using a sharp knife.

Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature - they are best the day of or the day after they are made.

Brown Butter Hazelnut Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars - a brown butter hazelnut shortbread is used as both the base and the crumble topping for these strawberry rhubarb crumb bars. These are the perfect early summer easy dessert! #crumbbars #strawberryrhubarb #brownbutter

Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream


 
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread
Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread

Happy, happy Wednesday friends!  Life has been a little quiet around here for us lately, which has actually been really nice. Quiet in that we haven't done much aside from work - caught up with a few friends, occasionally left the house, you know how how it is. We spend most of our time head down, butt up, working hard to play catch-up now that design week has finished. We are back in a nice routine - up at 6 every morning, a day of work, then in bed nice and early. Rinse and repeat. It's important for me to keep a pretty strict routine otherwise my old friend homesickness will bite me in the butt. We are also coming up on 9 weeks of fostering a mama and her 5 kittens, who are slowly being adopted out to forever homes! We got them when they were 3 days old, so to say I am attached is a bit of an understatement. It's equal parts heartbreaking and happy to see them go off to new homes! I'll miss them SO much, but it's been one of the most rewarding things ever to watch them grow from tiny little rescue worms to the cute little nuggets that they are now, ready to be big cats! I can't recommend it enough, if you have space in your home or time in your schedule to take in a foster, it's an amazing thing to do!

But let's talk about ice cream. Specifically, strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream. I am somewhat of a newbie to making my own ice cream, but I can see how addictive it can be. The sky is literally your limit when it comes to flavour combinations, and it tastes so much better than the store bought version, particularly when you use fresh, seasonal ingredients. Strawberries are just starting to come into full swing here in NYC, so it made sense that they would be next on my list of ice cream additions! I love an ice cream that is interesting enough to be a dessert on its own, rather than just an accompaniment. So to help elevate the flavours and add a little texture, I added in some homemade shortbread. The crunch of the shortbread against the creamy vanilla ice cream base and the sweet strawberry ripple is pretty awesome if you ask me. This definitely isn't going to be the last time that I add cookies to ice cream. This would make the perfect summer dessert. Or anytime dessert. I had it for breakfast yesterday. It has fruit in it, so therefore it's healthy, right?! Right.

A few wee notes:

  • I used an ice cream maker for this recipe. I recently purchased it (I got the attachment for my mixer) and was slightly skeptical to begin with, but i'm totally in love with it now! Ensure that you freeze the bowl overnight before making this. 
  • I have included a recipe for a full batch of shortbread - you only use 200g of shortbread in this recipe, so if you were wanting to only make enough for the ice-cream, I would halve the recipe, which will make more than enough. However, shortbread tends to get eaten in the space of 24 hours around here (it's really good!), so I highly recommend making the full batch. You won't regret it. Promise.
  • If you wanted to leave out the shortbread and just have a strawberry ripple ice-cream, that would work well too!
  • I like to make the custard, strawberry sauce and shortbread the day before I churn the ice-cream just to make sure everything has had a chance to cool completely.
  • Get the freshest, nicest looking strawberries you can. The strawberry really shines in this recipe, so making sure you have good ingredients will really help this!
  • I made mine in a loaf tin, which tends to work best as when it comes to assembling the ice cream, you need to layer the ice cream and the strawberry sauce.

 

 

 

Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream
- Makes one quart (950ml) -

Ice cream base recipe from the kitchn

Ice Cream base
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup (135g) sugar
1 1/2 cups (360ml) whole milk
1 Tbsp vanilla paste, or the seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 cups (360ml) heavy whipping cream

Shortbread
225g (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (125g) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
2 cups, minus 2 Tbsp (220g) flour
2 Tbsp (16g) Corn starch

Strawberry ripple
900g (2 lbs) fresh strawberries
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) water

- PROCESS -

ICE CREAM BASE

In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk well until pale. Set aside. 

In a large pot over medium heat, combine the whole milk and vanilla paste. Warm until bubbles begin to form around the outer edge of the pot. Bring to a light simmer. Remove from the heat.

Pour half of the milk into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Whisk briskly until combined. This will temper the egg yolks and stop them from scrambling. 

Pour the milk yolk mixture back into the pot, and return to a low heat. Whisk constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon, and registers at 170˚f / 75˚c on a thermometer. 

Strain though a fine mesh strainer. Stir in the cream. Transfer to an airtight container and chill for at least two hours, or overnight.

SHORTBREAD

Preheat the oven to 150c/300f. Line two baking trays with parchment paper

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using an electric mixer, beat the butter and icing sugar until pale. 

Add the flour and corn starch, and mix until combined. It will look crumbly to begin with, but the dough will soon come together. 

Shape into two square shaped logs. Cut slices off the logs and place onto the prepared trays, leaving room for spreading. Prick each shortbread twice with a fork. 

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, checking for doneness after 25 minutes. The shortbread will set up on cooling. Cool on a wire rack. 

Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

STRAWBERRY SAUCE

Cut the tops off the strawberries, and cut them into quarters. Place in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add the sugar and water, and mix to combine. 

Heat over a medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-12 minutes, breaking down the strawberries with the spoon as you stir. Continue to cook until the fruit has mostly broken down. 

Remove from the heat. Pass the fruit through a sieve, pressing down with the back of a spoon to squeeze as much juice out as possible. Discard the solids.

Clean the pot, and return to the stove. Add the strained juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and syrupy. Transfer to an airtight container and place in the fridge until completely chilled.

ICE CREAM CHURNING AND ASSEMBLY

Measure out 200g (7oz) of the shortbread. Chop roughly into small cubes.

Add the chilled custard mixture to the ice cream maker, and churn to the manufacturer's instructions. During the last two minutes, add the shortbread, ensuring that it is evenly distributed. Remove from the ice cream maker.

In a freezer safe container such as a loaf tin, layer a third of the shortbread ice cream. Top with half of the strawberry sauce, followed by the second third of the ice cream. Repeat the layering with the second half of the strawberry sauce and the last third of the ice cream. Smooth down with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Press a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper on the surface of the ice cream. Place in the freezer until solid, at least 6 hours. 

Stand for 5 minutes before serving to allow to soften slightly. Cover again with plastic or wax paper before returning to the freezer.

Strawberry ripple and shortbread ice cream - creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, and studded with chunks of home made shortbread