Until I moved to North Dakota, I am pretty sure I had never had anything rhubarb before in my life. In fact, I am pretty sure that I didn’t even know what rhubarb looked like or how it grew. Rhubarb was not a thing where I was from in California. So when I moved to small town North Dakota and summer just began to hit, everyone started buzzing about rhubarb. You see in a small town it is common for one person to post on Facebook “Rhubarb is ready, come and get it”. There are literal wars over rhubarb plants and sometimes people even sneak into other’s yards to get some. I couldn’t believe it… But North Dakotans are serious about their rhubarb!
As I have been here a few years, I have gotten to hear the stories about the plants some of which have lasted multiple generations and several homeowners in people’s back yards. How neat is that!? A plant that continues to give for years on end. My mother-in-law makes these amazing rhubarb cheesecake bars that is probably one of MY favorite things she makes. And it is something my husband asks for anytime I have fresh rhubarb.
The recipe is simple and takes few ingredients. These bars are the perfect amount of sweet and tart. They aren’t overly sugary, but balances out the tart rhubarb very well. The one comment I will make about these bars is that the recipe calls for a 9 x 13 pan BUT I like to use a jelly roll pan. It makes thinner more portable bars versus thicker, more crumble like bars. Your choice.
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- dash of salt
- 1 cup butter, cold & cut into small cubes
- 2- 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 cups rhubarb, diced & reserve 1/4 cup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine all ingredients for the crust in a large bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender, two forks, or your hands until the crust forms small peas and holds together. Press 1/2 - 2/3 of the mixture into a 9 x 13 OR jelly roll pan. Save 1/2 - 1/3 of the crust mixture for a crumble topping.
- In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream the softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs. Beat until incorporated and smooth. Add the diced rhubarb, except 1/4 cup and fold in with a spoon.
- Pour filling on top of crust and smooth out. Add the rest of the crust crumble and 1/4 cup rhubarb.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes or until bars start to brown over the top.