Monday, July 1, 2013

Much A'do About Rhubarb

Photo: Rhubarb, round 3.  I am so happy this plant came back this year.   Maybe I'll do a pie this time!

SO much to do!  Good morning!  This weekend I took my scissors to the rhubarb plant again.  This is the third round of fruit I've gotten from my wonderful and generous little plant.  It's not so little anymore, and I didn't know how big it would get when I bought it on sale at Wal*Mart last summer.  It's made me a believer!  

Wowzuh, it's been so good to us.  It's just July and I've gotten a big old batch of rhubarb ginger jam, some to freeze, and now these yummy rhubarb muffins.  I had to Instagram and Facebook that picture, and got several suggestions in response to my "what do I do with this batch?!" quandary.  I'd not ever thought of muffins with this tarty loveliness, so I researched some recipes.  (Dear Pinterest, I love you so!)   

Here's what I found.  It's a terrific and easy recipe from a terrific and cleverly named blog called Arctic Garden Studio.  I realize Idaho Falls is no Fairbanks, but it is nice to have a resource and an ally in the world of Nothing Grows Before June!  I also enjoy that she uses yogurt--it makes these muffins so moist and spongy.  Terrific!  I used Hermes Greek Gods, and NOT the non-fat version.  I'll not have it!  Please note that I used mini muffin tins for two dozen treats, and also got a 1/2 dozen large muffins out of this recipe.  Here you have it!

Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins, from Arctic Garden Studio (who adapted it from Fine Cooking)
2 cups AP flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar (I use raw cane sugar)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk yogurt (I use Hermes 
Greek God regular--not non-fat--yogurt)
8 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
3 T granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degreesF, and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil baking cups.  I used Pam instead of cups for the little ones--you need to grease or line!  

In a large mixing bowl, combine the first six ingredients and whisk to blend.  
In a medium bowl, whisk together the next four ingredients until smooth.  Next, with a spatula, lightly stir the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until the batter just comes together.  Be careful not to overmix.  Gently stir in the diced rhubarb.  The batter will be thick.

Divide the batter equally among the muffin cups, using the back of a spoon or spatula to settle the batter into the cups, or slam the pan on the counter to settle just as nicely (her suggestion, and it works well!).  The batter should mound a bit higher than the tops of the cups. 

In a small bowl, combine the sugar & cinnamon and mix well.  Sprinkle a 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture atop the large muffins (about a 1/4 tsp. on the minis).
Bake until the muffins are golden brown, and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18-22 minutes.*  Transfer the tins to a rack to cool, then carefully lift out the muffins.   Enjoy (several at a time)!

*I baked these--both the minis and the large ones, baked separately--for 15 minutes.  We also live at an elevation of 4,700 feet, and I can never get baking times right.  I decided to check them at 15 minutes and they were perfect.  

Uh, don't tell anyone, but I've already eaten three...  Thanks to my friend, colleague, and fellow East Coaster & Nationals fan, Ken, for making the winning suggestion.  I shall share with him tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, I discovered rhubarb is one of those words that starts to sound funny if you say it enough. 

Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb,