These strawberry rhubarb cream cheese bars are my favorite thing to bake in spring when the strawberries and rhubarb start showing up in the farmer's market looking like jewels after a long winter slump.
These bars make a fabulous make-ahead breakfast, but to be honest I also enjoy them in the afternoon with tea or after dinner as dessert. What better way to celebrate spring than with layers of toasty, sweetened oats, fresh and fruity strawberry rhubarb compote, and rich cream cheese in a portable portion perfect for picnics and days on the beach?
Make these bars ahead of time—they taste best after setting in the fridge overnight—and you'll have the perfect treat for any spring or summer adventure.
These are a fun little bake, with just three bowls and some time, you'll have a delicious snack for the week or to share if you are generous like that. Open the windows, put on some music, pour a cup of your favorite tea, and let's bake some strawberry rhubarb cream cheese bars!
Baking Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars
Start by preheating your oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Next, you’ll start the crust by combining flour, brown sugar, rolled oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and butter in a food processor and pulse until loose crumbs form. If you don't have a food processor, dice butter and cut it into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender or two forks.
Reserve three quarters of a cup of the oat mixture, pressing the remaining mixture into a parchment-lined eight by eight pan. Don’t press too firmly, or the crust will become too hard and difficult to cut. Bake for 15 minutes, until just starting to turn golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
Next, wash and chop up a half pound of strawberries and rhubarb and add it to a large bowl. This comes out to be about one and two thirds of a cup of fruit. I use the food processor again to make dicing the strawberries a cinch. Next, sprinkle lemon zest, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour, and pour lemon juice and melted butter over the fruit. Toss gently to coat. Set aside.
Next, we make our cream cheese layer. Mix softened cream cheese, an egg at room temperature, and vanilla together until smooth.
Once the crust has cooled to the touch, spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the crust. Then, spread the fruit mixture evenly over the cream cheese. Finally, sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Place in oven for 30 minutes, until top is starting to turn golden brown. Once baked, cool completely and chill in the refrigerator preferably overnight before slicing, but I can never skip cutting off a chunk to taste warm!
Treats and Tea
Whether you're having your strawberry rhubarb cream cheese bars for breakfast, a late afternoon snack, or after-dinner dessert, a nice cup of tea makes any treat more special.
I have recently fallen in love with our Strawberries and Cream black tea, a smooth, fruity, and sweet blend of strawberries, a touch of rose, raspberry leaf, strawberry essence, and smooth vanilla paired with black tea is wonderful steeped hot or cold. This tea pairs perfectly with our strawberry rhubarb cream cheese bars. I like it best served hot with milk, but this blend has an abundance of fruity flavor on its own as well.
If you prefer an herbal, try Strawberry Immunity herbal tea, which is a very fruity and refreshing blend of elderberry, hibiscus, echinacea, apple pieces, black currant, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, strawberry leaf, and strawberry essence. I enjoy this blend best cold brewed.
If you are feeling a little adventurous, our Strawberry Truffle Puerh tea combines fermented puerh tea, cacao nib, strawberries, raspberry leaf, orange, blue cornflower, and strawberry essence for a unique dessert tea experience.
For the epitome of spring teas, try our Strawberry Honeysuckle black tea. This tea blends black tea, strawberry pieces, raspberry leaf, calendula, and honeysuckle essence for a sweet fruity, and floral blend that tastes like spring smells.
Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars
Crust and Crumb Topping
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons rolled oats
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 5 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Zest of half a large lemon
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 1/2 pound of fruit (about 1 and 2/3 cups)
- 1 Tablespoon melted butter
- Juice from half a lemon
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350f
Line 8x8 pan with parchment paper
Combine flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and butter using a food processor, pastry blender, or two forks until loose crumbs form.
Reserve 3/4 cup of oat mixture for topping.
Pour and press the remaining oat mixture into pan. Don’t press too firmly or crust will be difficult to cut.
Bake 15 minutes until just turning golden brown and set aside to cool.
Wash and chop strawberries and rhubarb.
Sprinkle brown sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, and flour over fruit.
Pour lemon juice and butter over fruit. Toss gently to coat. Set aside.
Mix cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
Once crust has cooled, spread cream cheese mixture evenly.
Spread fruit mixture evenly.
Top with remaining crumbs.
Place in oven for 30 minutes.
Let cool and refrigerate.