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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

This is the quick bread I make for breakfast almost once a week in the summer, when zucchini handouts are easy to come by (thank you, family and friends!) and we want something easy and sweet to munch on in the mornings. It also makes 

Fresh Peach Pie

Fresh Peach Pie

Last year, my mom probed me to dig through some of my Grandpa Norm’s old recipes to locate a peach pie recipe she remembered.  I didn’t remember eating it before, but with a counter full of ripe Palisade peaches, it seemed like a worthy endeavor.  I’m proud 

Spicy Banh Mi Chicken & Quinoa Salad

Spicy Banh Mi Chicken & Quinoa Salad

Grilled chicken and quinoa meet a colorful bunch of vegetables including radishes, cucumber, serrano peppers, carrots, green onions and avocado in this spicy and beautiful summer salad.  The dressing for this spicy Banh Mi chicken & quinoa salad is bright, slightly sweet and ever so fresh with both cilantro and mint teaming up with fresh lime juice and honey.  

our crop of mesclun baby greens

Gardening has never been easy for me. It’s frustrating because it’s something I very much enjoy.  So this year, when my husband, Matt, surprised me with a bunch of seed packets and proclaimed this was the year we would figure things out, I admit I was skeptical.  Our best gardening efforts in years past had yielded very little, even with the advantage of purchasing the giant baby starter plants!  The price tag was right on the seed versions, though, and I was motivated and intrigued by Matt’s optimism.  Maybe I could do this!  

Fast forward about 6 weeks…two-thirds or so of our seeds made it into the seedling stage, but, unfortunately, no more than half survived the “hardening off” phase and were actually transplanted into our yard or small raised bed successfully.  It’s now late July, and we have yet to harvest our first tomato or pepper and have had ONE teeny tiny zucchini.  

However, turns out, shelling peas and baby mesclun greens have been really successful for us (and they can be directly sowed into the garden), so successful that I’ll continue growing those from seed every year to come!  The peas don’t make it out of the back yard after my kids harvest them multiple times a day (that doesn’t disappoint me too much!), but the pretty greens beckoned to be turned into something delicious and a colorful summer salad seemed just right.  Best part? My older two girls were so proud of our crop, they ate a remarkable 4/5 and 1/3 of their Banh Mi Chicken & Quinoa salads when we sat down for dinner!  The almost-two-year-old also loved the deconstructed version. 

mesclun baby greens being cut

To simplify this some, I suggest making the dressing ahead of time, up to one day in advance, as well as cooking and refrigerating the quinoa.  You can also save time by chopping up/grating a bunch of the sturdier veggies, and just store them in the fridge until it’s time to assemble. I used my spiralizer because I wanted pretty pink and orange spirals, but I also had time to spare. Next time, I may grate the radishes and carrots on a box grater. Lastly, we have the grill fired up most days of the summer and it’s easy to grill a few chicken breasts, but in a pinch, stove-top grill pan or a shredded rotisserie chicken would work well too!

Spicy Banh Mi Chicken & Quinoa Salad

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup cooked quinoa, seasoned with ¼ t. of kosher salt while cooking
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 t. salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 T olive oil
5 oz. baby mesclun greens (or baby kale)
½ cup cilantro, chopped
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced into matchsticks or grated
1 cup radish, sliced into matchsticks or grated, or spiralized!
1 avocado, sliced into ½ inch cubes
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 serrano peppers, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced
4 t. sesame seeds, toasted

Dressing Ingredients:

¼ cup lime juice (from about 2 limes), plus zest from one of the limes
1 T red chili paste
½ T chopped Serrano pepper
1 T low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari)
1 T fresh ginger, grated
1 T cilantro
1 ½ T honey
¼ cup olive oil

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package directions and season with ¼ t. of kosher salt. Set aside to cool.

Add all dressing ingredients except olive oil to a blender and pulse a few times.  Stream in olive oil and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.

dressing ingredients in a blender

Preheat a grill to medium high, about 400-450 degrees or heat a grill pan to medium high. Brush chicken breasts with 1 T of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 6 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool before thinly slicing. 

grilled, sliced chicken
spiralized radish
prepared veggies for spicy Banh Mi chicken & quinoa salad

Toss together mint, cilantro, baby greens and quinoa with half of the dressing in a large bowl. Divide between four bowls. Arrange prepared carrots, radish, cucumber, avocado, scallions and sliced chicken around the sides of dressed greens/quinoa.

spicy chicken & quinoa Banh Mi salad in a bowl

Drizzle bowls with remaining dressing or serve extra dressing on the side. Top with sesame seeds and sliced serrano chilies.

final presentation of spicy chicken & quinoa Banh Mi salad
Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza

Friday nights have become a weekly pizza and movie night around here.  The tradition started with frozen Trader Joe’s pizzas interspersed with an occasional Friday night pizza pick-up, and a night “off” from cooking, but it’s morphed into all kinds of amazing homemade variations over the 

Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie “Milkshakes”

Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie “Milkshakes”

Banana peanut butter smoothie “milkshakes” are a staple in our house.  They’re full of protein with yogurt and peanut butter, have no added sugar thanks to the magical sweetness of a banana, and my kids think they’re drinking a milkshake. It’s the recipe I go to 

Blueberry Streusel Pie

Blueberry Streusel Pie

My favorite summertime pie, blueberry streusel pie, is probably also my favorite blueberry recipe. Fresh, summer blueberries cook down to a gorgeous purple, jammy confection, studded with a generous amount of cinnamon-sugar streusel and balanced by a buttery, flaky crust. Soooooo good! 

plated blueberry streusel pie
left side of baked blueberry streusel pie

My grandma Tina spent a large portion of her childhood growing up in Maine. She used to describe the distinctive flavor of a Maine wild blueberry. “They’re smaller, and more intense in flavor,” she would tell us. Settling in Colorado, she resorted to frozen wild blueberries. Her favorite: Wyman’s. I’ve since discovered Trader Joe’s carries a delicious frozen wild variety too.

When I was in college, I had the chance to visit Stonington, Maine, my Grandma Tina’s special place, with my Dad and Grandma. It was full of all her favorites, which soon became mine: roadside lupine sightings, lobster rolls, quaint bed and breakfasts, Nervous Nellie’s Jams & Jellies, and… BLUEBERRY PIE!

Plain blueberries were never at the top of my list, as a kid, although I probably never admitted that to my Grandma. They were inconsistent in flavor, I thought. Some were sweet, some just predominately mushy, with little flavor. I don’t think I ever really knew what a blueberry was supposed to taste like. It wasn’t until I moved to Oregon and was doing my share of berry picking (oh how I miss the chance to do that every summer!) that I discovered my love for blueberries. There was no turning back after that. These days, I put them on and in everything. 

For this pie, you’ll need 5 cups of fresh blueberries. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to live in a place with wild blueberries, use those! But, the plain old, regular ones are delicious in this recipe too, spiked with lemon zest and juice and just the right amount of thickener to ensure it sets up well. If you’re tempted to dig into the pie straight out of the oven, I get it, but I urge you to wait 3-4 hours after it comes out of the oven so it’s easy and pretty to slice. This one keeps very well overnight too (it may even be better on day two!) so feel free to make this a day ahead.  

The most important thing to get right with this pie is the baking time. If you under-bake it, the blueberries will be too liquidy and won’t break down to their desired, jammy texture. You want to leave this in the oven for as long as you can, while trying to keep the top streusel and crust from over-browning. I place a thin strip of foil around the edges of the crust for the last 30 minutes or so, or, you can use the fancy pie shields if you have them. If the top streusel is browning too fast, you can set a loose piece of foil on top as well.  

You’ll also want to make sure you refrigerate the streusel mixture (or throw it in the freezer if you’re in a hurry) until it’s nice and cold, so it holds up well in the oven. It’s the easiest streusel you’ll ever make because you melt the butter before mixing it with the brown sugar, white sugar, flour and cinnamon… no cutting it in required! Once it’s nice and firmed up in the fridge, it crumbles beautifully. 

The filling is very straightforward. I like my blueberry filling on the less-sweet side, especially with the sugary streusel crumb topping, and, often, topped with ice cream too, but you can add up to a ½ cup more sugar if you want yours sweeter or if your blueberries are particularly tart. 

Blueberry Streusel Pie

1 recipe pâte brisée pie dough
1 recipe crumb streusel topping (recipe below)
5 cups fresh blueberries
juice and zest from 1 lemon
½ cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt

Streusel Crumb Topping

1 cup (4 oz.) all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar (4 oz.)
¾ cup brown sugar (4 oz.)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
½ cup unsalted butter (4 oz.), melted

Make the pie dough

Find recipe here. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes while you make the streusel crumb topping and the filling.

Make the crumb topping

Make the crumb topping: stir together the flour, both sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a medium mixing bowl, and then add the melted butter and stir to fully combine. Pop into the fridge to chill while you assemble the filling and prepare the crust. 

Make the filling

In a large mixing bowl, gently stir together the blueberries, lemon zest & juice, sugar, pinch of salt, cornstarch and flour. Let that sit for a few minutes at room temperature to release some juices. 

blueberries, lemon zest, and sugar in a bowl

**Set rack of oven to the lower-third and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit**

Form the crust

Roll out your pie dough with a rolling pin on a lightly-floured work surface until it’s a large enough circle (about 12 inches in diameter) to fit into a 9-inch pie pan. Roll the dough up loosely around a rolling pin and unroll into pan. Press dough firmly into sides and corners of pie pan and trim excess dough around the edges to about 1-inch past the edge of the pan. Tuck the overhanging dough under itself, so the dough lines up with the edge of the pan. Flute with your fingers or use the tines of a fork to make a triangle pattern as pictured below. 

prepared all-butter pie dough with cross-hatch pattern

Assemble & bake the pie

Pour off any accumulated liquid from the filling and then pour the filling into the prepared piecrust.  Using your hands, crumble the chilled streusel on top of the blueberries. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 30-40 minutes longer. Keep on eye on things. If the crust or topping starts getting too dark, remove from the oven and place a thin strip of foil around the edges of the crust and/or a big piece of foil loosely over the topping, before placing it back in the oven to finish cooking. You’ll know it’s done when the filling is bubbling and creeping out around the sides of the pie, into the crumble topping. Resist your instinct to under-bake, as you want the filling to fully set!

crumbling streusel over blueberry pie
fully assembled blueberry streusel pie
close up of filling bubbling out of crust on blueberry streusel pie

Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 3-4 hours before serving, or up to 24 hours. It’s delicious on it’s own and even better with a scoop of ice cream or homemade whipped cream.

Blueberry Streusel Pie

Fresh blueberries + lemon zest + cinnamon-sugar streusel. My favorite summertime pie!
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: blueberry crumble pie, blueberry pie, blueberry streusel pie, homemade pie
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe all-butter pâte brisée pie dough

Streusel Crumb Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 4 oz.
  • 1/2 cup sugar 4 oz.
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar 4 oz.
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted

Filling

  • 5 cups fresh blueberries use wild if you can find them!
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup flour

Instructions

  • Make and chill the pie dough for at least 30 minutes while you make the streusel crumb topping and the filling.
  • Make the crumb topping: stir together the flour, both sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a medium mixing bowl, and then add the melted butter and stir to fully combine. Pop into the fridge to chill while you assemble the filling and prepare the crust. 
  • Make the filling: in a large mixing bowl, gently stir together the blueberries, lemon zest & juice, sugar, pinch of salt, cornstarch and flour. Let that sit for a few minutes at room temperature to release some juices. 
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. 
  • Form the crust: roll out your pie dough with a rolling pin on a lightly-floured work surface until it’s a large enough circle (about 12 inches in diameter) to fit into a 9-inch pie pan. Roll the dough up loosely around a rolling pin and unroll into pan. Press dough firmly into sides and corners of pie pan and trim excess dough around the edges to about 1-inch past the edge of the pan. Tuck the overhanging dough under itself, so the dough lines up with the edge of the pan. Flute with your fingers or use the tines of a fork to make a triangle pattern. 
  • Assemble and bake the pie: pour off any accumulated liquid from the filling and then pour the filling into the prepared pie crust.  Using your hands, crumble the chilled streusel on top of the blueberries. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees farenheit and bake for 30-40 minutes longer. Keep on eye on things. If the crust or topping starts getting too dark, remove from the oven and place a thin strip of foil around the edges of the crust and/or a big piece of foil loosely over the topping, before placing it back in the oven to finish cooking. You’ll know it’s done when the filling is bubbling and creeping out around the sides of the pie, into the crumble topping. Resist the urge to under-bake as you want the filling to fully set!
  • Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 3-4 hours before serving, or up to 24 hours. It’s delicious on its own and even better with a scoop of ice cream or homemade whipped cream. 
Lemony Quinoa Salad with Almonds & Dried Cherries

Lemony Quinoa Salad with Almonds & Dried Cherries

Lemony quinoa salad with almonds and dried cherries is a wonderful make-ahead summer salad, perfect for backyard and picnic dinners alike. It’s best served at room temperature and packs well, which always makes things easy, plus, it’s gluten-free and vegan. The leftovers taste wonderful over 

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Sundaes

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Sundaes

Wondering what to make with all those ruby, ripe strawberries filling your garden or local farmer’s market?  Look no further than these decadent chocolate strawberry shortcake sundaes! Chocolate strawberry shortcake sundaes have all the components of the classic you love, but with a chocolate-y twist.  Buttery, not-too-sweet 

Chocolate-Coconut & Fig Popsicles

Chocolate-Coconut & Fig Popsicles

Time for some chocolate-coconut & fig popsicles. Summer break is officially here!  Consuming a few more popsicles in the heat of the afternoon just feels like a good idea all around.  After all, aren’t popsicles summer on a stick?

June is my favorite month, hands down. Flowers in bloom, kids out of school, birds still chirping… I could go on and on.  This June hasn’t been in tune with summers past though with our intentions to avoid many of our favorite public summery locales.  My goal this year is to be creative in how we find our fun at home.  Homemade popsicles are an easy way to bring some fun to our hot afternoons in the backyard. 

I admit it’s taken me years to pull the trigger on my own set of popsicle molds, but I plan to get my money’s worth now that I finally own a set.  They’re seriously so easy!  Plus, there’s only one tablespoon of honey in the entire batch.  I’m counting these as a snack for my kids, so that’s important.  But, they taste like dessert, and that’s important to them. 

Chocolate and coconut is a delicious combination.  Dried figs add sweetness and a sophisticated flair.  I used coconut milk for a luscious, creamy base.  They’re somewhere between the fudgesicle of our youth and a creamy coconut mousse.  I hope you love these chocolate-coconut & fig popsicles as much as we do!

How to make Chocolate-Coconut & Fig Popsicles  

Fills four 4-ounce popsicle molds

Ingredients:
2 cups canned coconut milk
3 dried figs
1 T vanilla extract
¼ t. salt
1 T honey
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
3 T shredded, unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  1. Puree first six ingredients in blender until smooth and shiny.
  2. Stir in shredded coconut with a spoon. 
  3. Pour puree into popsicle molds and insert sticks into place before freezing for at least 6 hours.
  4. Run under warm water to loosen popsicles before removing from molds and enjoy!
close up of coconut-chocolate & fig popsicle
two kids holding the chocolate-coconut & fig popsicles

Chocolate-Coconut & Fig Popsicles

Dairy-free and tastes like dessert, but they're healthy popsicles!
Prep Time5 mins
Freezing Time6 hrs
Total Time6 hrs 5 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate popsicle, coconut popsicle, dairy-free, dairy-free popsicle, fig popsicle, popsicle, summer snack
Servings: 4 4 ounce popsicles

Ingredients

  • 2 cups canned coconut milk
  • 3 dried figs, stems removed
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp shredded, unsweetened coconut

Instructions

  • Puree first six ingredients in blender until smooth and shiny.
  • Stir in shredded coconut with a spoon. 
  • Pour puree into popsicle molds and insert sticks into place before freezing for at least 6 hours.
  • Run under warm water to loosen popsicles before removing from molds and enjoy!
Deep-Dish Spinach Quiche

Deep-Dish Spinach Quiche

Three years ago, I tasted a deep-dish spinach quiche that has been beguiling me ever since.  It was found at a quaint little French bakery in Pacific Grove, California called Patisserie Bechler.  My husband and I were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.  Thanks to my mother and father-in-law, we 

All-Butter Pie Dough (Pâte Brisée)

All-Butter Pie Dough (Pâte Brisée)

Makes enough all-butter pie dough (Pâte Brisée) for one single pie crust Ingredients: 8 ounces all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon)3-1/2 ounces unsalted butter (7 tablespoons), cut into small cubes1/2 t. salta few drops of lemon juice mixed with ice water to make 

Brown Butter Rhubarb Bars

Brown Butter Rhubarb Bars

Rhubarb lovers and haters! These brown butter rhubarb bars are delicious enough to convert even those certain they do not like rhubarb. In these bars, blood orange juice is reduced and then caramelized with rhubarb into a shiny, beautiful, dark pink jam. Next, that jam is sandwiched between two layers of brown butter pastry, one a shortbread, the other a gooey butter cake. You now know why I earmarked this recipe some eight years ago.

Memorial day weekend is always a turning point of so many fun milestones in our lives.  We kick off the season with our anniversary being first, at the end of May, which gives way to Father’s Day, my husband’s birthday and finally, the three summer birthdays of my kids. 

Scratch-made, insanely tasty brown butter rhubarb bars.

cut up blood oranges

This year, things are different on so many levels.  But, that makes it all the more appropriate to celebrate holiday number 1 in the line up: our anniversary… and celebrating with food is my love language.  With both rhubarb and blood oranges finally showing up at our grocery store, I knew it was time to tackle a recipe I’ve been eyeing in The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook: A Year in the Life of a Restaurant.

We visited Big Sur and Monterey, California for our honeymoon, and then again a few years ago to celebrate our 10-year anniversary.  Sadly, the first time we were in Big Sur, we missed Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant entirely.  My brother scoped it out for us while in town for a wedding a few years later, and purchased the cookbook for me.  After cooking our way through a bunch of delicious seasonal recipes, we looked forward to the day we would get to visit.  The 2017 landslides closed a 12-mile portion of the highway south of Monterey and completely cut off access to many businesses in Big Sur.  Sadly, we missed another opportunity to check out the place for ourselves.  Third time will be a charm, right? 

In the meantime, the brown butter rhubarb bars are a perfect nod to our time together on the Big Sur coast.  They are comprised of three delicious layers: a base of flakey, brown buttery shortbread, a rhubarb and blood orange jam, and lastly, a cake-like custard layer, flecked with orange zest and vanilla beans.  Just think, these dreamy bars are cookie, cake and jam, all layered into one perfect package! 

Brown Butter Rhubarb Bars
Makes 12 bars

Rhubarb Jam:

1 cup sugar
grated zest and juice of 2 blood oranges
½ vanilla bean
4 rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Crust:
1 cup salted butter
½ cup powdered sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Brown Butter Filling:
3 eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
grated zest of 2 oranges
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ vanilla bean
½ cup salted butter

Make the jam:

  1. Place the sugar, blood orange zest and juice in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a paring knife, scraping out the pulp with the back of the knife. Put the pulp and the pod in the pan, and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Continue cooking until the faintest bit of caramel color starts to appear around the edge of the pot, about 4-6 minutes.
  2. Add the rhubarb and continue cooking, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the rhubarb turns into a smooth jam, 7 to 10 minutes. 
  3. Transfer the jam to a separate dish to cool while you make the crust and filling.

Make the crust:

  1. Melt the butter (1 cup) in a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. Cook until the butter separates and the white milk solids start to brown and smell nutty, about 5 minutes, being careful not to let it burn. 
  2. Pour the hot brown butter into a dry bowl and freeze until solid, about 35 minutes. 
  3. Place the powdered sugar and flour in a bowl and mix to combine.
  4. Take out the frozen butter and break it up into small pieces with a spoon. Mix the brown butter pieces into the flour mixture, using a pastry blender until large crumbs start to form. Work the crumbs together into a crumbly dough with both hands.
  5. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with two pieces of parchment paper or foil perpendicularly, with some overhanging on all four sides. This makes the bars easy to remove once they’re cool.  
  6. Place the dough into the pan, pressing it firmly with your hands into the bottom, spreading as evenly as possible. 
  7. Chill the crust in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

–While the crust is chilling, adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
–Bake the crust for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Let it cool before assembling the bars (leave the oven on). 
–While the crust is cooling, make the brown butter filling.

Make the brown butter filling:

  1. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, orange zest and flour in a medium bowl. 
  2. Split and scrape the vanilla bean just as you did for the rhubarb jam, and put the pulp and the pod in a medium saucepan.
  3. Add the remaining 1/2 cup butter and melt over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter separates and the white milk solids start to brown and smell nutty. (Discard the vanilla bean.) 
  4. Carefully, add the warm brown butter to the egg mixture, whisking constantly until all the butter is incorporated.

Assemble the bars:

  1. Spread half of the brown butter filling over the cooled baked crust. 
  2. Remove the vanilla bean from the jam and spoon large dollops of the jam over the filling, reserving a quarter of the jam, spreading slightly.
  3. Spread the remaining brown butter filling over the rhubarb.
  4. Finish by spooning smaller dollops of the reserved jam randomly over the top. 
  5. Swirl in circles to marble the top two layers with a butter knife.
  6. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the filling is deep golden brown. 
  7. Remove the bars from the oven and let them cool completely.
  8. Cut into 3-inch squares and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook: A Year in the Life of a Restaurant 

brown butter rhubarb bars in a pan
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Brown Butter Rhubarb Bars

Homemade Rhubarb & Blood Orange Jam + Brown Butter Shortbread + Brown Butter & Vanilla Bean Gooey Cake Layer
Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Time to Chill in Freezer35 mins
Total Time2 hrs 45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brown butter, brown butter rhubarb bars, rhubarb bars
Servings: 12

Ingredients

Rhubarb-Blood Orange Jam

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 blood oranges grated zest and juice of both oranges
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 4 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Shortbread Crust

  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Brown Butter Filling

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 blood oranges grated zest of
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 salted butter

Instructions

Make the Jam:

  • Place the sugar, blood orange zest and juice in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a paring knife, scraping out the pulp with the back of the knife. Put the pulp and the pod in the pan, and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Continue cooking until the faintest bit of caramel color starts to appear around the edge of the pot, about 4-6 minutes.
  • Add the rhubarb and continue cooking, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the rhubarb turns into a smooth jam, 7 to 10 minutes. 
  • Transfer the jam to a separate dish to cool while you make the crust and filling.

Make the Crust:

  • Melt the butter (1 cup) in a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. Cook until the butter separates and the white milk solids start to brown and smell nutty, about 5 minutes, being careful not to let it burn. 
  • Pour the hot brown butter into a dry bowl and freeze until solid, about 35 minutes. 
  • Place the powdered sugar and flour in a bowl and mix to combine.
  • Take out the frozen butter and break it up into small pieces with a spoon. Mix the brown butter pieces into the flour mixture, using a pastry blender until large crumbs start to form. Work the crumbs together into a crumbly dough with both hands.
  • Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with two pieces of parchment paper or foil perpendicularly, with some overhanging on all four sides. This makes the bars easy to remove once they’re cool.  
  • Place the dough into the pan, pressing it firmly with your hands into the bottom, spreading as evenly as possible. 
  • Chill the crust in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • While the crust is chilling, adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Bake the crust for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Let it cool before assembling the bars (leave the oven on). 
  • While the crust is cooling, make the brown butter filling.

Make the Brown Buter Filling:

  • Whisk together the eggs, sugar, orange zest and flour in a medium bowl. 
  • Split and scrape the vanilla bean just as you did for the rhubarb jam, and put the pulp and the pod in a medium saucepan.
  • Add the remaining 1/2 cup butter and melt over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter separates and the white milk solids start to brown and smell nutty. (Discard the vanilla bean.) 
  • Carefully, add the warm brown butter to the egg mixture, whisking constantly until all the butter is incorporated.

Assemble the Bars:

  • Spread half of the brown butter filling over the cooled baked crust. 
  • Remove the vanilla bean from the jam and spoon large dollops of the jam over the filling, reserving a quarter of the jam, spreading slightly.
  • Spread the remaining brown butter filling over the rhubarb.
  • Finish by spooning smaller dollops of the reserved jam randomly over the top. 
  • Swirl in circles to marble the top two layers with a butter knife.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the filling is deep golden brown. 
  • Remove the bars from the oven and let them cool completely.
  • Cut into 3-inch squares and enjoy!

Notes

Recipe adapted from: The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook: A Year in the Life of a Restaurant