Rosy Rhubarb Swirls, 1959–A Vintage Recipe Test

Posted on Jun 14 2017 - 4:29am by RetroRuth

I’ve got lots and lots of rhubarb right now in my garden, so I am trying in vain to use it all up. And though I have lots of great recipes to choose from, I wanted to whip up something new. Well, new to me anyway.


These are Rosy Rhubarb Swirls!

Rosy Rhubarb Swirls
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup cranberry juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3½ cup rhubarb, cut in ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cups biscuit mix
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • ⅓ to ½ cup milk
  • 2 Tablspoons softened butter
  1. Combine 1 cup sugar, cranberry juice and water in saucepan. Bring to boil and boil one minute.
  2. But half of rhubarb in greased 8x8x2 inch pan.
  3. Combine biscuit mix, 2 Tablespoons sugar and nutmeg. Add oil and milk to make soft dough; knead lightly on floured surface.
  4. Roll into 9 inch square. Spread with butter and sprinkle with remaining rhubarb and 4 Tablespoons sugar. Roll as jelly roll; seal; cut into 9 slices. Place slices cut side up over rhubarb.(Or, if you don't feel like making rolls, just drop batter on top of rhubarb in the pan and sprinkle toppings on top.) Pour over cranberry syrup and sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons sugar.
  5. Bake in 425 degree oven 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Rosy Rhubarb Swirls002

They are from one of my favorite books, Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook from 1959. Now, if you think these look familiar, they do. A couple weeks ago I tried the from-scratch cousin to these, Quick Vinegar Rolls. I came across these recipes at about the same time while digging through my massive pile of cookbooks, so I thought it would be a good idea to test them out at about the same time to compare and contrast.


Rhubarb, in the pan.


The main difference in these is the rhubarb rolls have, well, rhubarb. But they also use cranberry juice instead of vinegar and use biscuit mix instead of from scratch biscuits.  Oh, and no cinnamon. But mainly I wanted to see how much of a difference scratch biscuits vs. the mix would make.


Pretty. Even that one I had to squish in there to make it fit.

I was afraid these were going to be impossible to roll up because of all of the chunks, but they ended up rolling just fine.


And here we see an issue I didn’t even know I would have. Rolling these up into rhubarb rolls looked neat, except you didn’t actually see them at all in the finished product. Because you end up inverting the pan to get them out, all the cute rolls are hidden under rhubarb. When I make these again, I am not going to bother with the rolls, just drop the biscuits onto the rhubarb base and sprinkle more rhubarb on top.

In any case, we were ready for a taste test.

Well, sort of. I had to interrupt someone’s dinner to get Tom to try them.



“Are they good?”


“Are they better than the Quick Vinegar Rolls?”


The Verdict: Really Good

From The Tasting Notes –

These had a very good flavor. They were sweet, but with a good, tart kick from the rhubarb. The biscuits were soft, but the extra syrup didn’t make them too soft. The only issue I had with this dessert was that rolling them up was kind of a waste of time unless you flip them over after you de-pan them so everyone can appreciate the rolls. But while these were really good, there was no question that scratch rolls from the Quick Vinegar Rolls were superior. I also preferred the apple cinnamon flavor of the Quick Vinegar to the straight rhubarb, but maybe if cinnamon was added to the rhubarb it would be more of a contest. Overall good, but not as good as from scratch. Which is pretty much what I was expecting. And probably what you all were expecting, too.



“Here, I’m going to give the baby some.”

“No wait, don’t!”

*Note: We didn’t really give it to TJ. But he really, really wanted it.

WordPress Author Box

I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

Like us on Facebook
on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter
Follow @MidCenturyMenu on Twitter

4 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Lassie June 14, 2017 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    Oh, what a CUTIE! He is adorable!

    The baby is nice, too.

    LOL. j/k both are of a cuteness!

  2. Marty June 15, 2017 at 1:09 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing a pic of TJ! He’s so adorable! 🙂

    I wonder if you could do a mashup of the two recipes and end up with a sort of appley/cinnamony/rhubarby/vinegary/swirly thing (with the scratch biscuits, of course).

    The doc put me on low-carb for a while (bleah!) otherwise I’d try it.

  3. The4thStooge June 15, 2017 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    D’AWWWW!!!! “Everyone else is eating this, I want some too! Enough with baby food!”

    This looks like a good, SANE recipe! No gelatin(e) and no weird measurements (2 T salt!) I keep seeing rhubarb in the stores–one of these days I’ve got to try it!

  4. Mellow Lemming June 26, 2017 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    This looks sooo good! I adore rhubarb! Yep, I would just plop the buscuits on there since no one sees them! Just stumbled across your blog and am loving it so far! Maybe I’ll bravely sample some of my vintage, hand-me-down recipes so!

Leave A Response

Rate this recipe: