Vanilla roasted rhubarb and white chocolate cookies recipe

Vanilla roasted rhubarb and white chocolate cookies recipe

Forced rhubarb is harvested by candlelight and by hand. This rather romantic image and its bright pink colour make it the perfect seasonal ingredient for Valentine’s Day recipes. The forced rhubarb season runs from January to March, overlapping with the annual day for celebrating love on February 14th.

To learn more about this slow food, visit our stewed rhubarb recipe, where we share the differences between forced and maincrop rhubarb and the history and heritage of the ‘Rhubarb Triangle’ in Yorkshire, where forced rhubarb is grown.

A seasonal late winter bake: forced rhubarb cookies

The vibrant pink hue of forced rhubarb makes it an uplifting sight in winter and the first sign of the colours of the spring to come. We love to roast or stew forced rhubarb stems to top our breakfast granola, but its tart flavour also works really well when paired with chocolate. The secret is to include it sparingly when using it in baking. Forced rhubarb will release moisture, so it’s best to just use 4-5 pieces per cookie to ensure a good bake.

To make these delicious, melting middle cookies you will need to freeze the vanilla and white chocolate spread in advance. You’ll also need to roast the forced rhubarb. This extra effort is well worth the reward, especially if making to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Call it an act of love!

Forced rhubarb cookies

Vanilla roasted forced rhubarb and white chocolate cookies

Seasonal cookies studded with vibrant pink forced rhubarb and white chocolate chunks and stuffed with vanilla and white chocolate spread.
Prep Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Servings 12


  • 12 ½ tbsp vanilla and white chocolate spread (we used Black Milk)
  • 115 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 175 grams light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 egg (medium)
  • 290 grams plain flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 100 grams chopped white chocolate
  • 100 grams forced rhubarb


  • Make 12 ½ tablespoon balls of vanilla and white chocolate spread and place in a container in the freezer for at least one hour.
  • Meanwhile, chop the forced rhubarb into 1.5-inch pieces and arrange in a roasting tin.
  • Add the tablespoon of caster sugar and ½ cup of water to a saucepan. Score the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the remaining pod to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer until the liquid has thickened a little and reduced by about half to form a thin syrup.
  • Cover the chopped forced rhubarb with the syrup from the pan and roast for around 15 minutes until just starting to soften but still firm.
  • Remove the rhubarb from the oven and leave to cool. Now reduce the oven by degrees to 170℃ (fan).
  • Cream the butter and sugar using a stand mixer or electric whisk. Add the vanilla bean paste and egg. Mix again to combine.
  • Add the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cornflour and combine into cookie dough.
  • Mix in the chopped white chocolate until fairly evenly dispersed throughout the dough.
  • Roll the dough into 12 equal balls and flatten into rough discs.
  • Chop the cooled roasted rhubarb into 1cm pieces.
  • Add a ball of frozen vanilla and white chocolate spread and 1-2 pieces of rhubarb to the centre of each piece of cookie dough and fold in the edges to cover. Add around 3 pieces of rhubarb to the tops of each cookie.
  • Allowing 6 cookies per lined baking sheet, bake for around 13 minutes until the edges are golden. The centres should still look a little soft.
  • Leave to cool for around ten minutes to set the cookies.

Recipe Notes

  • Be sure to use forced rhubarb for this recipe, rather than the maincrop variety. 
  • For the best flavour, don’t substitute the vanilla bean paste in favour of extract or essence.
  • We use Black Milk vanilla and white chocolate spread. You can find this online or in some Co-op stores.

When rhubarb isn’t in season, you might like to try our pistachio cream and cranberry stuffed cookies.

Stewed forced rhubarb in a jar

Stewed rhubarb recipe

How to stew forced rhubarb for a vibrant topping for desserts and breakfasts.

Wooden trug with seasonal vegetables

Learn more about slow food

Discover the history of the slow food movement.