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:

I had no idea what it was.

"Rhubarb," replied my husband.

""What's rhubarb?"

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.


Ciao Chow Linda said...

Oh yes. Now this is a muffin. I'm a big rhubarb fan too Claudia but I need someone with a supply like yours. Do you ship?

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

I have never had Rhubarb anything, if you like these and say there grand! Thats enough for me to try them.. they sure look great. I had never tried them because of the tartness as a kid, everyone said they were bitter... after all these years no one has ever made anything with it to try... I guess its time! :)

tinyskillet said...

I love these little rhubarb streusel muffins. I do remember rhubarb from my childhood growing up in Michigan. Our neighbor would give us some each spring when it would be the first out of his garden. I miss it...those are two things that won't grow here in Florida, hostas and rhubarb!


I never had any rhubarb anything though. But I love the flavor profile that it's tart and the streusel is sweet... perfect for sunday bites. Happy Sunday,

Beth said...

I loved your comments about muffins. You're right - they shouldn't be too sweet. I've never thought of making rhubarb muffins, but I'll add this to my wish list. The fact that the original recipe comes from Deb means it's sure to be delicious!
Have a great Sunday.

Anonymous said...

hahahahahahahha,..I was laughing all the way during this post!

Rhubarb is something that every Belgian has in their garden. It is very well-known & loved over here! I love rhubarb a lot & have it in my new garden too. I just made a rhubarb crumble with speculaas ( biscoff cookies in it!)
Your streusel rhubarb muffins look real winners! I must make them tomorrow! YUmmmm!!!! xxx

Denise said...

These muffins look and sound amazing! I just bought rhubarb to make some strawberry rhubarb bars. I didn't know the leaves were poisonous....good thing to know!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Moist, fruity and not too sweet. Now you're talking. Great looking muffin Claudia. Hope you're having a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

how delicious! can't wait to try this!! I need to start trying rhubarb stuff too!! Heard and seen so much of it but I never seem to see it in my grocery store! haha

Sammie said...

how delicious! can't wait to try this!! I need to start trying rhubarb stuff too!! Heard and seen so much of it but I never seem to see it in my grocery store! haha

chow and chatter said...

great muffins and I think I need to plant me some

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Delightful muffins! I can never get enough of rhubarb.



Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

Claudia, being from Iowa and knowing about rhubarb since childhood, I always chuckle when I hear that people have never heard of rhubarb! Oh my gosh, do they need to try this sour, tart stuff! We lost 3 of our 4 plants this year since the Southern climate is quite tortuous to rhubarb! I'd love to make this recipe, but I know that I'd need to add a bit more sugar for my sweet tooth hubby! I just love the streusel topping! Great post!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Bob would really love these. He is a fan of all things rhubarb and these would quickly disappear from my kitchen. Have a great evening. Blessings...Mary

Gloria Baker said...

these muffins look really delicious!

Kim said...

Rhubarb can be so pricey and hard to find. You're one lucky lady! These muffins look positively delicious. I would never be able to stop at one.

Balvinder said...

3-4 harvests are pretty good for this pricey rhubarb. This is strange the leaves are poisonous but the stalks are not.
I have used rhubarb in chutney and would love to taste it in muffins. Sounds good from what I read from your post.

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Oh, yeah...these look amazing! We had loads of rhubarb in our Iowa back I have loved it forever! I need to check my small plant to see if I have enough for a batch of muffins!

Reeni said...

I've only eaten rhubarb once in my entire life in a very sweet dessert. I think I need a little more tart in my life!

My Little Space said...

Claudia, you guys are so luck to have these rhubarbs. I've never tried them before. Am drooling over these.
Hoep you're having a great week ahead, ((hugs))

Joanne said...

Yay for rhubarb! I'm positively obsessed with it lately and have seen these muffins making the rounds. THey sound like the perfect morning indulgence!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Oh, I love rhubarb. Great in pie, and I like the idea of it in these muffins. Good recipe, good post - thanks.

CJ - Food Stories said...

Claudia ... You have been nominated for my NEW Food Stories Award for Excellence in Storytelling. Check out my site for the details (foodstoriesblog dot com).

Kathy said...

I adore rhubarb and would absolutely love these. I have some in my garden right now ready to be picked…maybe these muffins are in my future!

Laurie said...

I love that the brown sugar out measures the white sugar.. and I love the streusel!! Yum I have not baked with rhubarb in too many years to count. I have a pistachio rhubarb trifle recipe I've been wanting to try. Seeing rhubarb in your recipe makes me ready to give it a go!!

Lynda said...

Rhubarb is so tart and good. My mother used to make a delicious rhubarb sauce with it.
Your muffins look so delicious and I'll be trying them soom.

Catherine said...

Dear Claudia, These look superb! I think I would have to eat more than one! blessings dear. Catherine xo

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

We don't eat rhubarb in Japan and I seriously didn't know that rhubarb grows so well! I thought they are more like precious thing. LOL. I've only tasted it at restaurants a couple of times, but that's about it. The muffins look really good!! :-)

TinaRBK said...

Oh these are definitely creating a craving over here! They look so moist and flavorful with all that rhubarb running through the center- Delicious post!

Anonymous said...

Looks completely irresistible

Angie's Recipes said...

Just made some rhubarb scones ;-)) These streusel cakes look fantastic!

Amy said...

I was just thinking rhubarb muffins sounded wonderful and yours look perfect! I am in love with rhubarb anything lately :)!

Gourmantine said...

I grew up eating rhubarb dipped in sugar and just recently rediscovered using it in all sorts of sweets, these muffing are dashing :)

WokandSpoon said...

This looks like something you could get your teeth into! I'm big on sucking on lemons too and like things on the sour side!

beti said...

I can't seem to find rhubarb but they look pretty good

Island Vittles said...

Didn't like it as a kid, but rhubarb anything is a hit with me now... and I love my rhubarb with a little sweet streusal! Yum. Theresa

Erica said...

Those muffins look really good,Claudia! I've only eaten rhubarb once.... ...I have to try it again soon!

Barbara GF said...

I was just thinking of new ways to use my rhubarb, which is somewhat leggy but still good. This looks like the perfect solution, Claudia. I love the coffee-cake topping!

Velva said...

I had no idea that rhubarb grew wild-really? I like rhubarb. I typically let someone else prepare it, and I enjoy eating it. I have never tasted raw rhubarb and I have heard that it is quite tart ( as you said too).

The muffins look really delicious.


Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Claudia,

Love rhubarb too and love the recipe. My rhubarb looks a bit puny right now, but my artichokes are six feet tall and producing like crazy. Wanna trade?

All joys to you,

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

Velva, I was hoping to try this recipe this past spring, but got side-swiped with work! It's still on the top of my list since we simply adore rhubarb and were able to freeze what the one plant left in our garden produced for us. Surgery in a few days, so it will be made and posted just a little bit later! Hope all is well and you are getting a break from that Midwestern heat wave!