Thursday

Carol's Best Rhubarb Muffins



I just loooove rhubarb. When I was growing up we had a large garden, even larger if weeds count. The elementary school was right behind my parents house. I just climbed up the chain link fence, fell over the top and I was in the schoolyard. After school or at lunch I would just reverse the process - climb > curl > fall. How hard is that? My siblings also followed this routine but occasionally mishaps occurred. Once my big little brother (he's younger than me but a whole lot bigger) somehow became entangled. Frankly I have no idea how but it wasn't my fault and I hear he was found hanging by a few fingers from the top of the fence. My mother was peering through kitchen window - probably to make sure he actually went to school - and saw him dangling form the top of the fence and flapping his free arms and legs. She rushed out and rescued him saving his fingers and his dignity. Anyway - he's okay, he didn't lose any fingers or anything, he can still count in whole numbers. So all's well that ends well even when much discomfort is involved. 
I always came home for lunch that way as as did my siblings -well, my brother may have started walking the long way home after his experience. After lunch we would dawdle although I don't dawdle at all anymore - or at least I don't call it dawdling anymore nor do I do appreciate it when others use the term in reference to me. What was once dawdling I now recognize as an early zen like awareness of how much more pleasant it is to take my time - anyway - as we dawdled our way off the porch and past the laden apple trees (we won't talk about the caterpillar nests) through the backyard past the garden we would invariably be distracted by the huge deep green leaves of rhubarb. I mean they were big. Like 2 feet by 1 1/2 foot leaves. The size of a kiddy umbrella. Frequently I would break off a big piece of rhubarb and carry it back to the house holding it upright and twirling it about like an umbrella. In my fancy I liked to pretend I was a fairy, albeit a overlarge one. I would pour lots and lots of white sugar into a cup and dip my torn rhubarb stem into the sugar - just coating it with a crusty layer of pure white sweetness - then take a little tiny bite (very sour - even with the sugar)and dip it into the sugar again and take another tiny little bite.  God knows how long it actually took me to eat the thing, probably an hour at that rate. I probably got as much sugar as rhubarb. Well, healthy eating wasn't much on my mind then. Being a fairy with an edible umbrella - a child of nature was pretty neat - fairies don't worry about healthy eating and fibre content and such. 
This is all to say - in case you are wondering if I have a point - yes, I do - these are just my most favorite muffins in the world. I don't really care much for 'cake' muffins. The best muffins are hearty and flavorful and dense and moist like most quick breads. I don't usually like those cakey things at all - unless it actually is a cake. These are lovely - if you love rhubarb and want another way to use it in which it is the showcase then this is for you. I developed this recipe by finding about16 recipes for rhubarb cakes and muffins then taking what I wanted from them and creating this recipe. I have no idea why the first time I made it it was super. But it was. That'll never happen again. The only change I needed to make was to add more rhubarb. Recipes with rhubarb always call for one cup of rhubarb. Whatever. I can hardly taste it. So I use 1 3/4 cups in my recipe. Go big or go home. This is Alberta, big sky and big muffin country. Big hats too, lots of trucks, even though the farmer's don't even live in the city. I have no idea why all males in Calgary feel they need a truck but for some bizarre reason they all share this strange need - there must be something in our air here or maybe it's being surrounded by prairie and the foothills to the Rockies. Honestly,it is a mystery - even to them. Something about the prairies makes all men want to be a hayseed. Don't get me wrong. I like hayseeds, I just don't like their trucks because a man driving a truck never exceeds 40 kilometers an hour unless it's an emergency - then they race along madly at 50 kilometers an hour. I swear, you would think trucks are made of glass the way city boys drive them. It's enough to drive me to drink if I didn't already. I digress - it is time to lay the wine aside for the evening. 


Anyway, if you love rhubarb try this recipe and let me know what you think.



Carol's Best Rhubarb Muffins

Dry
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    3 tablespoon wheat germ
    1/3 cup bran  
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 cup loosely packed dark brown sugar
   
Wet
    ¼ cup milk  plus ¾ tsp lemon juice or vinegar OR ¼ c.buttermilk
    ½ cup plain yogurt
    2 tablespoon canola oil
    2 tablespoon Tbsp margarine, melted
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 egg  


    1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups frozen chopped rhubarb 


Mix the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Then add the contents of the wet bowl to the contents of the dry bowl and stir just until mixed. You will see little spots of dry 'unmixed' ingredients. That's okay. Now, add the frozen chopped rhubarb. Some pieces may be about 1 inch by 1/2 inch around. That's okay. Leave them alone. If they are larger you may cut them in half, leave large chunks alone.
Spoon into 12 greased muffin cups.  
Bake 25-30 minutes.


Note :  If you wish to simplify the recipe you can do so easily - use 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour instead of the wheat germ and us 4 tablespoons margarine in place of the oil and margarine.  I don’t add salt. 
 
Do use 1 ½ - 1 ¾ c.  I tend to use closer to 1 ¾ c.  These freeze beautifully.

Note
Thanks Stephanie - I don't have your email.
Carol

  


   







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