Sunday, March 2, 2008

Some Spring In The Dead of Winter or Rhubarb Crumb Muffins

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usOne of my favorite stores is Planet Organic which has one of the largest frozen organic produce sections in my city. I always feel better buying frozen organic produce because I know that it is straight from the ground and into the bag - brown paper freezer bags even! Planet Organic keeps the frozen fruit very reasonably priced and I appreciate that because the chances of finding rhubarb in the dead of the arctic north winter is a big challenge and I assume that anyone who was smart enough to save some and freeze it will want to capitalize on their brilliance. Not so at this store. They even put it on sale in January and I stocked up. I figure by the time the strawberries come into their peak - and they are just starting to now - I will have rhubarb for Amanda's favorite Rhubarb Strawberry Crumb Pie.

In the meantime, I wanted to use up some of the copious amounts of rhubarb I bought at said sale, and muffins are the perfect way to do it. No one can resist a golden crumb topped muffin and that sour surprise of the rhubarb is a big hit in my family.

I found this recipe on Epicurious. They are by no means healthy, although I did split the white flour in half with whole wheat to continue my trend this year. I don't think the muffins were too dense or dry because of the rhubarb which moistened the middles. The one thing I will say is that the amount of crumb topping was way too much! In the recipe below I have printed the more accurate amounts that you will need.

We loved these muffins and I will continue to make them - hopefully with fresh rhubarb in the spring.

Rhubarb Crumb Muffins
Gourmet, April 2003

Ingredients for topping:

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 lb fresh rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar

Ingredients for cake batter:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or 1/2c. whole wheat & 3/4c. white flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously butter muffin cups and top of pan.
Make streusel for topping by whisking together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture forms small clumps.
For the batter, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until blended, about 2 minutes.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk alternately in 2 batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until just combined.
Divide batter among muffin cups (each cup will be about half full).
Toss rhubarb with confectioners sugar and sprinkle batter with rhubarb, then crumble streusel evenly on top.
Bake in middle of oven until tops are golden and a tester inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes.

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