Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Rhubarb Muffins

Couples will relate to this post. I drive Alex crazy. Despite this blog, when we are not working on a book I still like to cook by the seat of my pants. This means when I make rhubarb syrup for our daughter's favorite drink, a rhubarb twist, I weigh nothing. Then when I take the leftover fruit and make muffins I still weigh nothing. So the recipe below is an approximation. Of course it will come as a surprise to no one at this point that the recipe for a rhubarb twist is not exactly measured either. We start this adventure with 5-6 medium stalks of rhubarb, heavy and pink, not much wider than a stalk of celery. I like more medium rather than fewer large because they give the syrup more color and that makes Amaya happy. Clean the rhubarb, trim off the tips and ends, and slice it about 1/2-inch thick. Before you do this, set a pot on the stove with 1 cup of water and 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar and 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 grams) fine sea salt over high heat. Once the sugar syrup comes to a boil add the sliced rhubarb. Bring it back to a simmer, cover and remove from heat. Let the fruit steep for 20 minutes. Strain off the rhubarb and reserve the syrup, adding a teaspoon of vanilla or 1/2 teaspoons of orange oil if you please. You will end up with just under two cups of cooked fruit.
For a rhubarb twist, muddle one strawberry in a rocks glass, add ice to cover and an inch of rhubarb syrup. Cut a sliver of Meyer lemon, squeeze over the top and drop into the glass and fill the rest of the way with seltzer water. Stir with a straw and enjoy.
These muffins came together because my mom was visiting and lamenting the fact that I hadn't baked anything. Since I had the rhubarb on hand, muffins were a quick and easy crowd pleaser. Even better, she can take the leftovers home with her when she leaves. Rhubarb Muffins Makes 18 standard muffins I used a combination of whole grain flours and coconut sugar in this recipe. You can substitute whatever types of flour and sugar you have on hand. The proportions are very forgiving. 1/4 cup ground golden flax seeds 3/4 cup oat flour 1 cup barley flour 1 cup spelt flour 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature 2 eggs, room temperature 4 ounces butter, melted and cooled 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon orange oil 1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked rhubarb, see above Raw sugar for sprinkling Preheat oven to 375°F Line 1 1/2 cupcake pans (18 wells) with baking cups Whisk together the flax seed, oat flour, barley flour, spelt flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, eggs, butter, vanilla, and orange oil and whisk gently to blend. Fold in the rhubarb using a rubber spatula and divide among the baking cups using a generous 1/4 cup batter per muffin. Sprinkle the top of each muffin generously with raw sugar. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm to the touch and a cake skewer comes out clean. Remove from pans and cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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