Pegi’s Rhubarb Bars

Here is another recipe from our friends Dale and Pegi. When she sent us the recipe, Pegi explained, “I don’t recall where I got this recipe but it’s been a family favorite for a very long time! It’s the only way Dale likes rhubarb and Chad’s favorite.”

Unlike Dale, I like rhubarb sauce, rhubarb cakes and especially Jerri’s Rhubarb Custard Pie. I have also posted recipes for three other tasty rhubarb cakes — Nellie’s Rhubarb Cake, Vicki’s Grandmother’s Rhubarb Cake and Mennonite Rhubarb Upside Down Cake.

We also enjoy Jean’s Rhubarb Bars, which have a different crust than Pegi’s.
RhubarbSpring is the time when rhubarb is in its prime. Ours looks magnificent this year. Here is one more way to turn rhubarb into a wonderful dessert.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
5 T powdered sugar
1/2 cup softened butter

2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs


Take a stick of butter from the refrigerator an hour or so before starting this recipe. If you forget you can very carefully soften the butter in the microwave. Preheat the oven to 350º.

Mix one cup of the flour with the powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and cut in the butter with a fork or pastry blender until you have particles like small peas as if you were making a pie crust. Grease a seven by eleven-inch baking pan. Using your fingers, press the flour mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for eighteen to twenty minutes until it begins to brown slightly on the sides. Remove it from the oven and let it cool a bit while you finish the filling.

While the crust is baking, wash and chop the rhubarb into thin slices. When you remove the crust from the oven, mix a quarter cup of flour with the sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs until they are lemon colored and mix them with the dry ingredients. Blend the rhubarb into the liquid ingredients.

Pour the rhubarb mixture on top of the pre-baked crust and bake for thirty to thirty-five minutes until a knife inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool it completely. Cut into squares.

NOTE: Pegi says you can make these bars in a nine by thirteen-inch pan if you prefer thinner bars.

Betty Stucky’s Raisin Bars

One year Jerri’s mother gave her a cookbook compiled by the Farm Bureau Women of Butler County, Kansas. Jerri grew up in Butler County, which is the largest county in Kansas and larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Butler County doesn’t have quite the same population density as Rhode Island, of course, but there are several thousand people living there in a couple dozen cities and small communities or on farms and ranches in the Flint Hills, famous as the largest remaining region of tall grass prairie in the United States. The Kansas Turnpike leads you over the Flint Hills, which extend from northern Kansas down into Oklahoma, but the highest point in the Flint Hills is in Butler county at 1,680 feet above sea level.

I don’t know if it was the high point or not, but Jerri drove me a half mile from her home in Rosalia one evening to show me the lights of El Dorado, thirteen miles to the west, from a hill that was at least twenty feet high.

I now look forward to our Kansas trips because they take us through the Flint Hills. If you plan a visit to Kansas, I recommend April or May when the hills are green. That’s the best time to enjoy viewing the thousands of beef cattle grazing on the slopes, the cottonwoods and osage orange trees along the streams and the ranch houses miles away in the valleys below you.

The Farm Bureau women were an important part of Butler County society when Jerri was growing up, and she recognizes many of the names in the cookbook. One of them is Betty Stucky, because she and her husband bought the farmhouse that Jerri’s family moved to from Moundridge, Kansas when her father decided to raise beef cattle instead of farming wheat.

Her family moved into Rosalia after a couple of years, but her father continued to graze cattle until after we were married. Jerri remembers the “farm” clearly because she would tag along with her brothers who drove out daily to milk the cows when she was six or seven years old.

The family renting the farmhouse at that time had a daughter about Jerri’s age that she liked to play with. One time when she was playing with Ruth Ann, Jerri deliberately stayed out of sight when her brothers finished the chores. They drove home five miles only to be sent back by their mother with instructions to find their sister.

After her first success, Jerri repeated the strategy a few more times. It ended when she told a friend at school how she managed to stay later at Ruth Ann’s. The friend told her father, who was the preacher at their church. He told Jerri’s mother and father, and such shenanigans ended shortly.

Jerri has made these bars many times, often for potlucks or funeral lunches. She likes it because you use only one pan to mix the batter, so if you like to wash cooking dishes, skip this recipe.

But they do taste good.


1 cup raisins
1 cup water
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Put the raisins and water into a two-quart saucepan and bring it to boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shortening. Cool the mixture to lukewarm. Preheat the oven to 350º and grease a 15 1/2 by 10 1/2-inch baking pan while the raisins are cooling.

Beat the sugar and egg into the lukewarm mixture.

Sift the dry ingredients together and beat them by half-cupfuls into the raisin mixture. Stir in the vanilla and chopped walnuts.

Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake on a center shelf for twelve minutes or until done. Test for doneness by pressing gently near the center of the pan. If the surface springs back up, the bars are done.

Cool to room temperature, dust lightly with powdered sugar and cut into bars.

This recipe makes about four dozen bars.

NOTES: Betty noted that you can frost the bars if you wish.

We don’t own a 15 1/2 by 10 1/2-inch pan, so Jerri bakes them in a regular 9 by 13-inch cake pan. This produces thicker bars, so you will have to bake them a few minutes longer. Incidentally, Jerri added the vanilla to the original recipe.