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  • Writer's pictureMcKenna

the strawberry-rhubarb square

Prep time: 40 minutes

Bake time: 45-50 minutes

Serves 9-12

I've been interested in squares lately, dessert squares that is.

I think it reminds me of a brownie, or my grandma's famous Nanaimo bars - two of the best desserts ever created if you ask me.

You can do a lot with the shape, too. Make it a single-layer, double, or better yet, triple it.

One layer could be crunchy, another soft & gooey. Combine those together in a single bite & you can truly have the best of all worlds. They're the perfect dessert. The perfect coffee companion. The perfect afternoon snack. The perfect treat to journal over, or have a conversation with. It's what I envision having in hand while I sit in the corner of a coffee shop & mull over the dream of my own cafe one day. A cafe that'll certainly be stocked with different squares to choose from.

So to add to the square collection, blueberry & oat being the first, followed by the date square, here is a strawberry-rhubarb variation.

To keep it simple, I kept the base the same with each square. The filling is where things look very different. With this batch, I wanted a rhubarb flavor, but I didn't want to bite into chunks of it, so I boiled the fruit down to a compote-ish consistency... game-changer.

I wouldn't call it jam (there's no pectin) but it's not quite as thick as a compote, so it's up for interpretation. Either way, the flavor is excellent. I hope you think so too. I do have one ask though: enjoy it with a warm, cozy drink in hand & maybe, contemplate your dreams. Write them down. Don't let them go.


1. If gluten is a concern, ensure the oats you're buying are labeled as gluten-free.

2. For an added "wow" flavor, add 1 tsp of cinnamon + 1/2 tsp ginger to the oat mixture.

3. Feel free to use any alternative milk you have (or dairy if that's your preference), it doesn't have to be coconut.

4. If you don't have brown rice flour, play around with coconut, sorghum, or almond, but keep in mind these are a bit more dense than brown rice flour. You may need more liquid.

A gluten-free, strawberry-rhubarb dessert on parchment paper
Strawberry-Rhubarb Squares


Oat mixture:

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup oat flour or 1c rolled oats blended

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut sugar

100 g (just under 1/2c) room-temp coconut oil

2-3 Tbsp coconut milk (if needed)

1/2 Tbsp vanilla

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup rolled oats, reserve for later


5 cups rhubarb, chopped

2 cups strawberries, chopped

1/4 c maple syrup

4 Tbsp coconut sugar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp vanilla

2 Tbsp collagen

dash of sea salt


Chop the rhubarb into small chunks, about 1/2 inch thick.

Chop the strawberries into quarters.

Place a large saucepan on top of the stovetop, add a splash of water then toss in all of the chopped rhubarb. Turn the stovetop on to medium heat & begin to soften the rhubarb. Stir occasionally to prevent it from burning.

As the rhubarb begins to soften (this will take some time, be patient), use a potato masher to help break it down - feel free to use whatever tool you'd like, I found the potato masher worked really well.

Once it begins to break apart (it should be easy to mash at this point), add all of the remaining ingredients except the collagen, then mix together.

Continue to mash & stir until the rhubarb has completely broken down & well mixed with the other ingredients. It's okay if there are still larger pieces of rhubarb.

Add all of the strawberries to the pan & let them warm for a minute or two.

Begin to mash them so they start to break apart - this won't take as long as the rhubarb so you shouldn't be at it for too long. After about 5 minutes, add the collagen & stir until it's dissolved (this will help to thicken up the mixture).

Once you've reached your desired texture, remove from heat & let it cool completely - either at room temp or in the fridge, both are fine. Don't worry if the mixture seems liquidy at first, it'll come together once it sits & will hold its shape once it's baked & cooled.

While it's cooling, preheat the oven to 375F and line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.

Begin to make the oat mixture. Combine both flours, sea salt, & coconut sugar in a medium bowl (if you don't have oat flour, blend 1c of rolled oats in a high-speed blender or food processor).

Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and mix.

Next, steadily add the room-temp coconut oil to the mixture, a few tablespoons at a time until all of it's well incorporated. The mixture should be crumbly but still hold its shape when pressed together, if it doesn't, add the coconut milk until it holds together.

Place about 3 quarters of the dough in the pan & firmly press down. Place the pan in the fridge for a few minutes. After about 5 minutes, pop it in the oven for 15 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of rolled oats to the remaining mixture & set aside for the final layer.

While the bottom layer is baking, prepare the filling.

After 15 minutes, remove the bottom layer from the oven & spread an even layer of the strawberry-rhubarb filling on top. Finish by topping it off with the remaining oat mixture you had set aside.

Pop it back in the oven for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from heat & let it cool completely before slicing. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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