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Make Amanda Beal’s Grandma’s Yummy Rhubarb Squares

The Maine cabinet member’s family recipe is one of more than 200 in the new volume of the Maine Community Cookbook.

rhubarb squares
Photo by Tara Rice
By Will Grunewald
From our June 2022 issue

Two years after compiling the Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook, Margaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz, owners of Ten Apple Farm, in Gray, were inundated with messages from around the state, sent by people who’d seen the book and wished they’d known about it in time to submit their own family favorites. “At a certain point, we’d heard from enough of those people that we thought, okay, we could definitely do this again,” Schatz says. Maine Community Cookbook, Volume 2, out this month from Islandport Press, contains more than 200 recipes, from an 11-year-old’s lobster mac and cheese to a 101-year-old’s lobster thermidor. A midcoast pastor who started a blog about cooking her way through the entire first cookbook lent a recipe for custard pie, while humorist and Brooklin resident John Hodgman added an essay about (and instructions for) building a high-concept hamburger. “When you start scratching the surface,” Hathaway says, “everyone has a food story.”

Gram Soule’s Rhubarb Squares

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry commissioner Amanda Beal submitted a recipe for rhubarb squares her grandmother would bake through spring and summer with the bumper crop of rhubarb her grandfather always grew. Now, rhubarb is a mainstay of her own garden.

FOR SQUARES:

1 cup packed brown sugar
1⁄2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 1⁄2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces

FOR TOPPING:

1⁄2  cup sugar
1⁄2  cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a stand mixer, cream together brown sugar, butter, and egg. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with sour cream; beat together thoroughly. Mix in rhubarb with a spoon, and scoop batter into a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

Combine topping ingredients in a separate bowl, then spread evenly across top of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45–50 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm or cold.

For every copy of Maine Community Cookbook, Volume 2 sold, $2 goes to organizations fighting hunger in the state. ($24.95)


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