Saturday, May 19, 2012
Rhubarb Streusel Muffins for Small BItes Sunday
Nothing Italian going on here today. This post is pure Minnesota. Using a plant you could forage in this state. As Italians are great, grand, stupendous foragers - maybe that's where I make my tie to Italy. Or maybe I should be quiet and let the muffin speak.
When I moved to White Bear Lake, the yards had 4 trees, 2 overgrown bushes, an elephant hosta that could eat Manhattan (and could have been the inspiration for Little Shop of Horrors), a sedum plant and this:
"Rhubarb," replied my husband.
In the years... okay decades that followed, I learned about rhubarb. It's the first plant up in Minnesota. You can't kill it. It grows wild by the highways and it's tart. Really tart. And I love it. I pick it before it's large and stringy and make compote for pork and chicken, muffins, strawberry rhubarb pie and - for the first time rhubarb frozen yogurt (coming soon at a blog near you). And it keeps on giving - after cutting 12 stalks today, I will have new shoots in a few days. 3-4 harvests of the stuff.
The leaves are nasty - poisonous - and I shudder to think how people found that out. But those sunset-red stalks work magic with a little sugar.
These streusel rhubarb muffins are a cut above the average muffin recipe. They're from Smitten Kitchen and I love that they are not sweet (when I want a muffin, I want a muffin; when I want cake, I'll bake a cake). Sour cream gives them depth and richness without being cloyingly sweet. And the right amount of sugar keeps your lips from puckering (although, I like to suck on lemons - so what do I know?)
Streusel Rhubarb Muffins - makes 12
(Find Smitten Kitchen's original and healthier recipe here. Deb used whole wheat white flour - I couldn't find my wheat flour; I know - who loses flour in their kitchen?)
It looks like a lot of steps - trust me - you know how I love ease - this is easy.
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon white, granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter - melted
1 large egg
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter - melted and cooled to room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream (I actually used light sour cream)
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces (6-8 stalks - go for thinner stalks and use 8 of them)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 12-muffin pan.
Streusel: In a small dish stir flour, sugars, spices and salt. Stir in melted butter until it looks like crumbs. Set aside.
Muffin: Whisk egg in a large bowl with sugars. Whisk in melted, cooled butter and sour cream. In a small bowl mix flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into sour cream mixture until combined - can be lumpy. Stir in 1/3 of the streusel mixture (eyeball it). Fold in rhubarb. With spoon, add mixture to muffin tin. Top each muffin mixture with streusel mixture. Using a spoon, press streusel down into mixture a bit. (I sprayed hands with Pam if you like and press it down).
Bake for 18-24 minutes - until tops are golden brown and tester toothpick comes out clean.
This is a real muffin. Moist, fruity, not too sweet. It doesn't pretend to be something else. It doesn't masquerade. It's not a coffee cake muffin - it is simple fare - heightened with a little spice and sour cream.
I may have been an ignorant New York City girl when I first spied rhubarb. But I'm smarter now. As is our yard. We now have 250 bushes and plants (that one elephant hosta - it's morphed into 30 hostas). So I'm eating muffns (yes plural) as I look at the yardwork that needs to be done and wonder, "What was I thinking?" Must be time for another muffin.