Do you remember Fruit by the Foot? I used to love it when I was a kid. Okay, no past-tense needed, I still love it now.
Y'all, I'm not lying when I say these remind me of an adult version of that childhood favorite. These candied rhubarb ribbons are a little sweet, but a little tart, and have a beautiful chewy texture.
Plus! These look amazing as a cake decoration. Seriously, they turn out so pretty, they don't even look real.
Tricks to the perfect candied rhubarb curl
- Use a cheese plane (they look like this)! It cuts through the rhubarb perfectly. Do not use a more traditional swivel vegetable peeler because you will get no where fast.
- Cook the rhubarb until it isn't sticky to the touch! If it's still sticky, it will stick to whatever your wrap it around. It will not come off easily.
- If the rhubarb gets too hard/brittle while you are wrapping it, put it back in the oven for a minute or two. This will reheat the sugar and soften the rhubarb.
- Mix up the sizes of handles you're using! This is especially a great tip if you're using the candied rhubarb curls as decorations. The various sizes will help add dimension to your topping. Try different items, too. Look at rolling pins, chopsticks, and so on. Be creative in what you wrap your curls in!
- Food coloring isn't necessary, but it helps keep that pretty pale red/pink coloring throughout the rhubarb as it cooks. If you want to nix it, go ahead!
- Peel the first layer of skin away. While the skin makes the most beautiful colored ribbons, it takes forever to lose the stickiness. And, it doesn't taste the greatest when it's finished. But, if you want the look and don't mind the time, give that first ribbon a chance!
- If you're not here for the curl, I'd recommend cutting the slices in half before you bake them. When they're done, let them cool on the mat. Then, you'll have a really great treat for snacks and lunches (and a real-fruit alternative to the delicious treats we ate as kids).
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2-3 drops food coloring
- 2 large stalks rhubarb
- In a pot, combine sugar and water. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 225°F.
- In a large bowl, pour your cooled simple syrup. Stir in 2-3 drops of red food dye.
- Using a cheese plane (or a Y-shaped peeler), peel your rhubarb root to tip, creating long, thin slices. Place the slices in the simple syrup mixture. Let your rhubarb strips soak in the simple syrup for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the rhubarb soaks, prepare your baking sheets. Place nonstick silicone baking mats on two trays. (You do not want to use parchment! Silicone baking mats work best with the simple syrup mixture as it bakes).
- Laying the rhubarb completely flat, place it on the baking sheets. Leave about a ¼" of space between each strip of rhubarb. Bake on 225°F for an 60-75 minutes. The smaller/thinner pieces will be done sooner. When they are no longer sticky to the touch, they are ready to be removed.
- If you wish to create curls with the rhubarb, work quickly as they are removed from the oven. Taking a wooden spoon, wrap the rhubarb strip around the handle. Place to the side to cool completely. If the rhubarb gets too hard while you're working, place it back in the oven to warm up before wrapping the rest.
- Store your candied rhubarb in an airtight container and enjoy!