I love rhubarb. Plain and simple. I will use it in the majority of all baked goods for the next month or so. It is such a tasty sign of spring’s arrival. I shake my head when I drive past rhubarb patches waving their seed heads, giving evidence of a patch long neglected. I chuckle when I come across adults who are anti-rhubarb, especially when I think of all the children who pass through this kitchen and become rhubarb fans. After devouring a half pan of rhubarb dream bars in the span of 30 minutes, they declared the bars are one of their favorite desserts. I’m convinced adults who don’t like rhubarb haven’t had enough of it to become a lover of the tart flavor. These kids at the farm have been reared on it.
    I made the following recipe this weekend for a breakfast treat. My notes in the margin call it fabulous and so easy, and it does not disappoint. Though upon first glance it seems to have many components, it truly does not. This breakfast or dessert is certain to impress your taste buds and any meal guest. I found it in a cookbook that my mom gave to me ages ago, “Cooking from Quilt Country: Hearty Recipes from Amish and Mennonite Kitchens.” If you make apple dumplings in the fall, you will want to try this one out in the spring to highlight rhubarb. When you tuck this recipe away and want to remind yourself of spring in the depths of winter, frozen rhubarb can be used, but do not thaw it first.

Rhubarb dumplings
Sauce:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, rounded
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Red food coloring, optional
Dough
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
Filling:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
Cinnamon
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare sauce first. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Gradually mix in the water, then add the butter. Bring to a boil, on high, and keep there for 1 minute. Add the vanilla. If desired, add the food coloring. Let cool. Prepare the dough. In a medium mixing bowl, work the butter into the dry ingredients. Add the milk and mix quickly; do not overmix. Gather dough into a ball and roll out on a floured board or cloth into a 12-by-10 inch rectangle. Spread the dough with the softened butter, and arrange rhubarb on top. Sprinkle sugar over all, and dust liberally with cinnamon. Roll up from the long side and place seam side down. With a sharp knife, cut the roll into 12 slices. Arrange cut side up in a greased 9-by-13 baking pan. Poor cooled sauce over top of the dumplings. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the dumplings are puffy and golden brown. Serve warm with heavy cream.
    I hope you are enjoying not only the flavors of spring, but the smells, sights and sounds that seem to be on high after such a long, cold time. Happy spring, readers.
    Jacqui and her family milk 800 cows and run 1,200 acres of crops in the northeastern corner of Vernon County, Wisconsin. Her children, Ira (14), Dane (12), Henry (7) and Cora (4), help her on the farm while her husband, Keith, works on a grain farm. If she’s not in the barn, she’s probably in the kitchen, trailing after little ones, or sharing her passion of reading with someone. Her life is best described as organized chaos – and if it wasn’t, she’d be bored.