Perfectly sweet and puckeringly tart, 3 Ingredient Rhubarb Squares take thirty minutes from start to finish. These are a quick and easy treat which can be effortlessly whipped up when your neighbour announces they’re dropping by for tea this afternoon. All in one bowl, so a simple clean up too!
Who doesn’t love cookie squares? And, who doesn’t love an easy recipe? A budget-friendly recipe? And more importantly, a delicious recipe? I think we can all agree that those things are all important when cooking and baking. With all of that said, let me introduce you to these 3 Ingredient Rhubarb Squares!
Lord Byron’s Kitchen is no stranger to a good cookie recipe, but I tend to favour squares over cookies. I find that squares tend to be more moist and just tastier in general. My love of squares over cookies probably stems from my mom. She would very often make square-type desserts, but very rarely did she make cookies. Most homes have moms that make chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter cookies, but not mine.
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HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:
- Canned Condensed Milk – This recipe has not been tested with low fat condensed milk. Depending on where you live, the size of the can my differ. Be sure to have the full 14 ounces!
- Rhubarb – You will need two cups of finely diced rhubarb.
- Self-raising Flour – This is basically just a regular all-purpose flour that has salt and baking powder already mixed into it. If you don’t have any on hand, you can make your own by mixing 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt into every cup of flour you need for your recipe.
- Confectioner’s Sugar – This superfine sugar is sometimes called powdered sugar. It’s uses in frostings quite often. When dusted lightly onto cakes and cookies, it adds just a touch of sweetness, but more importantly, it looks very visually appealing!
Don’t have any self-raising flour? Don’t you worry, Dear Reader, we can fix that! Self-raising flour is just a store-bought item that you can easily make at home. In a nutshell, self-raising flour is an all-purpose flour that has salt and baking powder mixed right in.
There is no need to run out and buy it if you don’t want to. You can make your own, but please be warned! I think the already mixed stuff that you buy at the store works just a bit better than a homemade version.
To make self-raising flour, you add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of very fine salt to 1 cup of flour. That’s the ratio you will need. Since you need 1 1/4 cups of self-raising flour for this recipe, 1 3/4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt will work just fine. It doesn’t need to be exact!
SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
I have a lot of recipes here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen with sweetened condensed milk as one of the ingredients. (Click here to see them!) Growing up in Newfoundland, it was always something I’ve been aware of. But, that’s not the case for everyone. I get many questions from readers about it. For someone not familiar with the gooey, sticky canned milk, it might be easily confused with canned Carnation condensed milk, for instance. Let me explain what it is here.
So, first of all, it’s condensed. The milk is condensed by removing water. This can by accomplished by applying heat. The water will evaporate causing the milk to condense, which thickens the milk. Sugar is added to sweeten the condensed milk. The main purpose of adding sugar is to prolong the shelf life of condensed milk, which can sit on room temperature shelves for years. Sugar prevents microorganisms from growing in the milk and helps to thicken it even further—it’s added after the milk has been boiled, reduced, and pasteurized.
If you find an unsweetened condensed milk, it’s most likely that it’s simply evaporated milk or condensed milk, which is thick, but not gooey and sticky. Evaporated milk is often used as a cream added to tea or coffee. If you are unfamiliar with it, please read the can carefully. Also, shake it – can you feel the liquid splashing about inside the can? If so, it’s not sweetened condensed milk; it’s evaporated or condensed milk only!
HOW TO MAKE 3 INGREDIENT RHUBARB SQUARES
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a square 9×9 inch cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, use a sturdy spoon or spatula to stir together the condensed milk and flour until combined. Next, add in the diced rhubarb and fold into the thick batter. The batter is extremely thick, so don’t be alarmed! Transfer batter to lined cake pan. Press the batter into the pan, being sure to get into the corners. Try to get the top as evenly flat as possible.
Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from pan. Cut into squares and dust with confectioner’s sugar if you so desire.
Lord Byron’s Notes
Only the bottom half of the rhubarb stalk is a beautiful ruby red and pinkish colour. The top half is usually green – almost a yellowish green. If you want beautiful, bright red flecks of rhubarb in your squares, soak the diced rhubarb in grenadine for a half hour. Drain well, pat dry, and use as the recipe instructs.
RHUBARB WAS PLENTIFUL
When I was a kid, growing up in Newfoundland, rhubarb was a very common and well-loved product of the summer months. My dad grew some rhubarb, and still does, but I particularly remember one family who grew the biggest rhubarb I had even seen – even to this date, I haven’t seen rhubarb so large or taste so good.
There might be a reason their rhubarb tasted better than all other rhubarb, and I’ll share that with you, Dear Reader. Like I said, this rhubarb was extremely large. It was a fenced-in patch of rhubarb that had to be about twenty or thirty feet square. It was located right behind their house, which made it most difficult to steal.
Yes, I said steal. Us kids would often slip our arms through the fence and pull out a stalk or two. It was a perfect snack on a hot summer day. Oftentimes, we would just so happen to be passing by when the owners were cutting down the rhubarb and they would always happily give us some. I’m not sure why we thought we needed to steal it; had we had knocked on the door and asked, I’m sure they would have given us a stalk and send us on our way.
BLAME IT ON THE 80s!
I guess it’s just the kind of thing the kids in the 80s did. It wasn’t just the rhubarb! A nearby family grew crab apples and cherries, also inside a fenced-in yard, but we managed to get in there too, even if we did have to wait until after dark. It’s been many years since I’ve been back to the small town where I grew up. And, if I were to go back now, I’d still look for the familiar sights that were childhood favourites.
Both of the owners of these tempting gardens have passed away now. But my memories of their delicious fruits still vividly remain. Rest in peace Mr. & Mrs. Martin and Mr. & Mrs. Tilley. It’s recipes like this one that remind me of you and keep my fond childhood memories alive. Let’s get to the recipe before I start confessing more of my sins!
Lord Byron’s Notes
The batter for these squares is very thick and can be frustrating to work with. When transferring the batter from the bowl to the cake pan, it can be difficult to press the batter flat and into the corners. Using a sturdy, silicone spatula helps greatly! Lay the spatula onto the batter and use your palm to press down to flatten. The silicone will not stick to the batter!
When you’re all done baking and you take your squares out of the oven, it is imperative that you let the whole pan rest for at least 2-3 hours. The squares are very moist and they need time to cool down and settle together. You’ll be happy to waited to make that first cut!
Once you’ve cut the whole pan into squares, dust them with confectioner’s sugar and serve them at room temperature. I would not recommend freezing these, because when they are thawed, they are just too moist – almost wet. Serve them and eat them the day you make them.
Do You Like This Recipe?
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3 Ingredient Rhubarb Squares
- 14 ounces canned condensed milk
- 1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
- 2 cups diced rhubarb
- 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a square 9×9 inch cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, use a sturdy spoon or spatula to stir together the condensed milk and flour until combined.
- Next, add in the diced rhubarb and fold into the thick batter. The batter is extremely thick, so don’t be alarmed!
- Transfer batter to lined cake pan. Press the batter into the pan, being sure to get into the corners. Try to get the top as evenly flat as possible.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from pan. Cut into 16 squares and dust with confectioner's sugar if you so desire. Enjoy!
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