Rhubarb Shortbread

"Recipe by Gale Gand"
photo by Sackville photo by Sackville
photo by Sackville
Ready In:
1hr 5mins
12-24 bars




  • Make the jam: Combine rhubarb, sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan.
  • Split vanilla bean, scrape the seeds into the pan, and toss in the pod.
  • Bring to a simmer over low heat, cook, stirring often, until rhubarb softens and forms a soft mass, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove and discard vanilla bean.
  • Transfer to a shallow bowl and let cool.
  • Can be made ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to one week.
  • If refrigerated, return to room temperature before using.
  • You may substitute 1 cup of your favorite jam or preserves for the homemade.
  • Make the shortbread: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on high speed until pale and fluffy.
  • Add egg yolks and sugar, and beat until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is light.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low, and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Turn the dough out onto a work surface and cut into two pieces.
  • Shape each piece into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.
  • Place in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
  • Can be made ahead and frozen for up to one month.
  • Thaw in refrigerator overnight.
  • Assemble and bake: Preheat oven to 350° with rack in center.
  • Remove one ball of dough from freezer and, using the large holes on a box grater, grate the dough into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  • Pat the dough gently just to get it into the corners (you don’t want to press it down), and spread with the rhubarb jam.
  • Grate the remaining dough over the jam, and press it lightly to distribute it evenly.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes.
  • Dust with confectioners’ sugar as soon as it is removed from oven.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Cut the shortbread into bars when it is cool.
  • You can cut whatever size bars please you, although as a rough guide, 3-inch squares, or rectangles 1 1/2 inches by 3 inches make nice servings.
  • Store covered at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Absolutely delicious! I made the recipe exactly as written. The hint of vanilla in the rhubarb jam is wonderful. That flavour combined with a fluffy shortbread is out of this world. Don't worry about all the steps, it really takes no time at all. I can see where it is very important to grate the dough and to not press it down too much in the pan - that's what gives it the lightness, the melt-in-your-mouth texture. If I could give this more stars, I most definitely would. Thanks MEAN CHEF!
  2. This is sinfully delicious. When you put this much butter in something, there is no way it should taste bad. I would like more rhubarb and if I make them again perhaps I will add more jam. I did make these gluten free which was easy to do. 1 1/4 cup brown rice flour 1 cup sorghum flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup potato starch, 1/2 cup tapioca starch, 1 1/2 TBS xanthan gum. Blend all of this together to make the all purpose flour and then follow the recipe. I suspect it comes out like the normal recipe. I can't keep my non-GF mom away.
  3. Very easy.. I used my Cuisinart to grate the dough..This made it so easy. I did it in small batches. So not to pack the dough..
  4. Shortbread with tangy rhubarb, mmmmm....
  5. Very good recipe. It really is important to chill the dough and grate it in the pan it really does help develop the texture of the crust and topping. Since this makes a large pan I halved the recipe and baked it in an 8x8 pan for hubby and I. If you love shortbread you will love these bars. I also like to stir in a few tablespoons of strawberry jam to my rhubarb mixture to make a strawberry/rhubarb bar.


  1. I've never run across another shortbread recipe calling for chilled dough to be box grated but it's a terrific technique! You can substitute 1 tsp vanilla extract for the vanilla bean in the rhubarb jam. Just stir it in after cooking the jam. I agree with Just Call Me Martha, a 10 star recipe! I have this recipe in my collection, too.


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