The Recipe: Simple whole-grain muffins studded with soft, sour pockets of a late-spring treat, rhubarb. Rhubarb Muffins are barely sweet and oh-so-tender and definitely – definitely! – not cupcakes. For all who prefer a less-sweet, less-rich but ever-so-satisfying morning-bread treat, this is your recipe!
The Conversation: Victory! I harvested rhubarb from my very own rhubarb patch!
People! Did you hear crazy cheers of joy from the back yard this week?!! Did you see the CNN cameras? Did you see the headlines at Fine Cooking, Saveur and Gourmet? Did you watch the heavens part and world peace descend?
Because I finally harvested my very own rhubarb – yep, those crisp, bright-red stalks of late-spring sourness – from my very own rhubarb patch in my very own garden. I harvested my own rhubarb! [insert squeals of glee]
It's been a long, long time coming – a lo-o-o-n-g time, we're talking years, here.
Interstate-transport, a cross-town move and transplant shock all contributed to the delay. My mom's rhubarb, our dear Auntie Meryl's rhubarb, even local rhubarb, none of it thrived in Missouri's hot, dry summers.
Three years ago, it looked as if all was lost. Someone – I'm not sayin' who except that he now goes by no-longer-around – sprayed my rhubarb with Round-Up. That was the saddest-maddest day ever. Granted, the rhubarb leaves were small and looked a lot like the wild burdock that grows with weedy-abandon in the wooded areas nearby. But still! What was he thinking?! That was my rhubarb!
Despite the setback, I held out hope. After all, for years my own father tried to kill my mom's back-step rhubarb, one spray after another. He was unsuccessful! Even on the north side of the house, with little sun, a plant or two survive.
Still, extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary action.
I erected fences for protection. I put up flags to call attention. And I warned anyone who dared come near, "Stay back! That's my rhubarb!"
Those momma-rhubarb protector instincts paid off! A few weeks ago, tiny leaves poked their curly fronds out of the ground. Now they are giant leaves and the stalks are bright red and totally sweet.
So yeah, people. I harvested my own rhubarb.
And then I made muffins. And for the first time this year, we ate breakfast on the patio. It was a perfect day.
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes 12 regular-size muffins
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces/57g) salted butter, melted
- 2/3 cup (168g) buttermilk or low-fat sour cream or low-fat or non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar
- 1-2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 207g
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon or my favorite spice blend, Penzey's Cake Spice
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 to 3 cups (200-300g) diced rhubarb
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar (or regular sugar)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Heat oven to 350F/180C. Spray the cups of a standard-size muffin pan with baking spray.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter in microwave in ten-second increments until melted. Whisk in the buttermilk, this will cool the butter down so not to cook the egg. Whisk in the egg and vanilla.
In a second bowl, smash the brown sugar with the back of a spoon to remove any lumps of tiny clumps. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until completely combined. Stir in the rhubarb, this coats the pieces with flour so they won't sink to the bottom of the muffins. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
Pour the buttermilk mixture into the center of the well, use a spatula to gently combine the wet and dry mixtures. You don't want to overmix, just stir until combined, otherwise the baked muffins will have small tunnels (they don't affect the taste, just the appearance).
With two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape, or a large cookie scoop, fill the muffin trays.
In a small bowl, stir together raw sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, use a spoon to sprinkle over the muffin tops.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until tops are crisp and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then use a slim fork or knife or something similar to help gently lift the muffins out of the muffin tins.
Rhubarb Muffins are best warm from the oven but stay fresh and special for at least two days. Longer than that? No idea because they don't last that long!
Rhubarb from My Own Rhubarb Patch!
What's In Store for My Rhubarb Patch?
from Kitchen Parade
~ Perfect Rhubarb Pie: Annie Dimock’s Straight-Up Rhubarb Pie ~
~ Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie ~
~ more rhubarb recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog
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