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Rhubarb Oat Bars

My parents have a rhubarb patch that I decided to dig into this weekend. Actually my dad was kind enough to get some for me on Sunday, but then I had to decide what to make. I pulled out my cooking magazines and found Rhubarb Cheesecakes, Pies, and even Cookies made with shortening Mmmm. There were so many more scrumptious looking recipes that tempted me, but I kept searching. After much flipping through pages I found 'Rhubarb Oat Bars' in a 2006 edition of Taste of Home and thought that these would be the better choice. They were easy to make and tasted delicious although I can't help but wonder how good that grand prize winning Rhubarb cheesecake would've tasted.

Rhubarb Oat Bars

Prep: 20 min.
Bake: 25 min. + cooling

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
4 tablespoons water, divided
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup flaked coconut (I used sweetened shredded coconut)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, melted

In a large saucepan, combine rhubarb, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. reduce heat to medium; cook and stir for 4-5 minutes or until rhubarb is tender.

Combine the cornstarch and remaining water until smooth; gradually stir into rhubarb mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour coconut, salt and remaining brown sugar. Stir in butter until mixture is crumbly. Press half of of the mixture into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Spread with rhubarb mixture. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture and press down lightly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares.

Yield: 16 bars.

Note: If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.

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