A sweet and sophisticated spring treat.
Rhubarb gets lumped into a strawberry-rhubarb baked goods category with good reason: Strawberry rhubarb anything tastes delicious and looks beautifully pink. But there are other things to do with this special spring vegetable (yes, it’s a vegetable), like make these sweet candied rhubarb ribbons.
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Candied rhubarb ribbons look sophisticated, and they are, but are very simple to make. Rhubarb is actually not good raw. Rhubarb is a very tart vegetable that has almost no natural sweetness. Somewhere along the line, some genius figured out that if you cook it with sugar, rhubarb tastes amazing, with an earthy spring sweetness and a gorgeous bright pink color.
To make these ribbons, use a paring knife to slice down the length of a rhubarb stalk. Vegetable peelers do not work well; in my experience, they create too thin a strand which becomes a tiny knot.
That said, make your peels as thin as possible. Rhubarb has a high moisture content. If the ribbon peels are too thick, the rhubarb will not be able to fully dry in the oven and get crispy.
The first step after peeling the rhubarb is to poach the ribbons in simple syrup. This coats them in liquid sugar. The ribbons are then laid flat on a baking sheet and dried in a low oven for an hour or more. Time consuming, perhaps, but no work is involved.
Then, working one ribbon at a time — they dry quickly once out of the oven — wind them loosely around wooden skewers or utensil handles to set. Voilà. In addition to being a fun treat all on their own, these sweet candied rhubarb ribbons make a perfect topping to shortcakes, ice cream, or any spring rhubarb dessert.
Did you make these candied rhubarb ribbons? Tell us about it.
Sweet Candied Rhubarb Ribbons
- 1 or 2 rhubarb stalks, cleaned and dry, ends removed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- Make the simple syrup, combining the sugar and water in a small pot and heating until dissolved. Let the syrup cool to room temperature.
- Using a paring knife (or go ahead, try a vegetable peeler), slice long, thin strips of rhubarb from the outer stalk. Soak the ribbons in the cooled simple syrup for about 5 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F, and line or lightly grease a baking sheet. Lay each ribbon on the baking sheet. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the ribbons have dried out. Note: They will still be sticky and flexible from the heat.
- Working one or two ribbons at a time so the remaining ribbons can stay soft in the oven, wrap each ribbon loosely around skewers or the handles of cooking utensils, and let dry for around 10 minutes before gently sliding the curled ribbons off.