Rhubarb Nut Bread uses tart rhubarb and nuts to make the most delicious quick bread of all times. Straight from Norma Jean’s Kitchen, this recipe will surprise you, and you’ll soon be baking all the rhubarb sweets and treats!
Today is the first Mother’s Day without my beautiful mom. She’s been gone for just a few weeks, and I think of her constantly. I can feel her with me in the kitchen, on my bike rides, and just everywhere. I’m glad I have so many amazing memories of her, and I’m proud to be her daughter.
THIS recipe is an oldie, and so I’m updating it in honor of Mom. It’s rhubarb season, so it’s also perfect timing.
Mom and Dad had a very hearty rhubarb patch in their yard in St. Joe, Iowa – where they spent the first 56 years of their marriage. I have vivid memories of my parents in the patch, cutting off rhubarb stalks, and bringing it in the house so that Mom could work her magic. She used their rhubarb crop for mostly sweet recipes – rhubarb custard pie, strawberry rhubarb jam, rhubarb nut bread, and so on. Once us kids were grown, she usually sent us home with a jar or two of the BEST jam ever, along with a loaf of Cracked Wheat Bread or Whole Wheat Honey Bread for toasting. She loved giving away her amazing breads and pies, and so most of their neighbors benefited as well, AFTER Dad got his fair share. 😀
These are some of my favorite memories, and the ones I’ll hang on to as time goes by. I miss the mom I called so often, to ask about a recipe – which then led to a discussion about our sweet boys, her grandsons whom she loved dearly.
What is rhubarb, anyway?
I’m surprised at how many people have no idea what rhubarb is. When buying it at the store, I’m guessing about 90% of the cashiers have to ask me what it is, which is a pretty good indicator of the mystery that is rhubarb. Read on, friends!
- Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but often considered to be a fruit.
- This plant is known for its brightly colored stalks and distinct tart flavor.
- It is a hardy perennial, and thrives in cool locations with full sun.
- It is harvested in the spring and sold by the stalk, like celery.
- Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, while the stalks can be safely consumed.
- It’s full of nutrients, like antioxidants, fiber, Vitamins K and C, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
- Rhubarb is used predominantly to make sweets, like pies, custards, jams, and quick breads.
Ingredients for Norma Jean’s Rhubarb Nut Bread
- Dairy. You’ll need one egg and buttermilk.
- Oil and sugar. Norma usually used canola oil in her quick breads. This helps make it amazingly moist. You will also need brown sugar.
- Vanilla. She also used Watkins Vanilla , and so I do too. So much flavor!
- Dry Ingredients. You’ll simply need all-purpose flour, salt, and baking soda.
- Stars of the show. Rhubarb and pecans, of course! If you don’t like nuts, just leave them out. You can also substitute walnuts for the pecans.
- The streusel topping. You’ll need just a bit of sugar and butter for this easy topping. OR, you can leave it out completely.
How to make Rhubarb Nut Bread
Guess what? You just need ONE bowl to make this amazing quick bread. 😀
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare two loaf pans with baking spray. (I recently discovered these USA pans that are my current fav, and yes, made in the USA!)
- Combine the wet ingredients – the egg, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. To make your own buttermilk, simply add a splash of vinegar to the milk. Easy and works great in a pinch!
- Then add the dry ingredients – the brown sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir until just combined.
- Now for the stars of the show – the rhubarb and pecans. Just gently stir them into the mixture. You can use walnuts instead of pecans, OR leave them out altogether if nuts aren’t your jam.
- Prepare the simple streusel topping by combining the sugar and butter together. Sprinkle it over the top of both loafs.
- Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the center is done. I usually test it with a toothpick, and when it comes out clean, it’s done. If you are like my fam, take a few minutes off the baking time for a gooey-er center.
- Let the loafs sit in pans for about 10-15 minutes, and then remove the loafs to cooling racks, and let cool. Then EAT!
Enjoy, my friends! And Happy Mother’s Day!
Kitchen Tools used for this recipe: (Affiliate Links)
Make this Norma Jean bread next: Chewy French Bread
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Norma Jean’s Rhubarb Nut Bread
For the bread:
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups rhubarb – diced
- 1 cup pecans (or walnuts) (optional) – diced
For the streusel topping: (optional)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two loaf pans with baking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla.
- Add brown sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda, and stir to combine. Don’t over-mix.
- Next, add the diced rhubarb and pecans (optional), and gently stir in.
- Pour batter evenly into two prepared loaf pans.
- Mix the streusel topping by combining the sugar and butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over both loafs.
- Bake for approximately 40 – 45 minutes, or until a toothpick, when inserted, comes out clean. Let the bread sit for 10-15 minutes to fully set. Then remove to a cooling rack.