Rhubarb muffins

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Rhubarb season is finally upon us! My favorite season? At least one of my favorite vegetables! Yes – it´s a vegetable!!!

When rhubarb arrives and you see various recipes for rhubarb crumble, lemonade and muffins – it´s a sure sign of spring and a promise of summer. I might try out a new recipe each year, but I usually fall back to crumbles and this old classic: My mother´s rhubarb muffin. Mum knows what she´s doing already, so no need to change or tweak this. It´s simply perfect.

So when I visited my parents yesterday, I made a request for some rhubarb, and in my defense the saying says to pick it within midsummer which is only a few days away….So I took home a large bunch to do some baking. When my father saw me and the rhubarb he suggested the muffins. He loooves them. So do I. Actually, everyone does. So the idea was planted in my head: What better way to start rhubarb-baking-season than with a real family classic!

So, today, equitted with rhubarb, eggs, butter and apron I realized: The recipe is in my recipe book which currently is located in copenhagen! And my mother is out of town!!! What to do? Well, luckily, it´s not the only rhubarb-muffins-recipe on the planet (one of the best, perhaps) so I turned to google as I often do and found what seemed like a good replacement!

And indeed it was! Actually, in a way this is a more extravagant version of the usual…

Maybe a little less gooey, but my go-to-recipe is so gooey you need a spoon, so that´s maybe a little overexaggerated for some! 😉 Anyway – both equally delicious!

I hereby declare rhubarb-season for opened!

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Rhubarb muffins

Rhubarb compote/ Rabarberkompot
10 oz rhubarb / 300 g rabarbra
1/2 vanillabean/ ½ vaniljestang
2.5 oz sugar / 70 g sukker

Clean and cut the rhubarb in inch-sized chunks. Pour rhubarb, sugar and vanillaseads and bean in a pan and stir. Cook on medium heat until everything is soft and compote-looking.

Rens rabarbraen og skjær dem i skiver på 2-3 cm
Ha rabarbra, sukker, vaniljekorn og den halve tomme vaniljestang i en gryte – og rør det sammen. La rabarbraen simre ved middelvarme til de er møre og minner om en grov pure.

Muffins

3 eggs / 3 egg
6.5 oz sugar / 180 g sukker
8 oz flour / 220 g mel
2 tsp vanilla sugar / 2 tsk. vaniljesukker
1.5 tsp baking powder / 1,5 tsk. bakepulver
5 oz butter (melted) 150 g smør (smeltet)
4.5 oz marcipan finally chopped / 120 g revet marsipan

Whisk egg and sugar until creamy. Stir in the dry ingredients and the melted and cooled butter. Finally fold in the chopped marzipan. Divide the batter in muffin cups, and top with a spoonful of the rhubarb compote. If desired, sprinkle with crumble!  Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 F.

Pisk egg og sukker til en luftig masse.
Rør alle de tørre ingredienser i og det afkjølede smør.
Vend til sist revet marsipan i muffindejen.
Fordel deigen i muffinsformer. Top med rabarbrakompott og drys en teskje crumble over.
Bag ved 180 grader i 20-25 min.

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Carrot spice muffins

We´re having a group project at school for the moment. It´s not really hard. There´s really not a lot to do. It´s not very time consuming. We just have to get together, from time to time, to figure out what to do next and to plan and divide the tasks between us. Quite frankly, I feel like I´m having a vacation, because there are so little to do, so few lectures, and the ones we have finish before noon, so there´s a lot of time waiting to be filled! It´s not like I have a job, a specific hobby or workout schedule, so what else to do than bake! Wait, I guess that IS my hobby! 😉

I´ve been trying out a few recipes from my beloved Baking from my home to yours, which I feel obliged to, as it was such a hassle to get it. But within the muffin section I have only tried one recipe – the great grain muffins. On the other hand, I´ve baked them a couple of times, cause they are so tasty! But if the rest of the muffins are as good as them, I think I ought it to myself to bake my way through them! I wanted to bring some muffins to school for my group to enjoy, for a day we planned to stay at school finishing our project. And since I and my fellow students study nutrition, I decided the carrot muffins would be appropriate! Slightly healthier, but still with the sweetness and moistness of a regular carrot cake, but without the frosting. Though frosting probably could work out very well too… (Or maybe omitting the frosting is the the health-alibi. Whatever. When you put vegetables into muffins it equals healthy in my world!)

So, the verdict: They were absolutely lovely! I got praises and requests about the recipe from the group, they were a total hit! I loved their moistness, but without that greasy feeling. And they´re just sweet enough, without leaving you with a feeling of going into a sugar-coma. And – believe it or not – I actually didn´t miss the frosting! I did put some butter on, just to try it out, but I guess that´s just me. I butter everything! But there was really no need to. I did cut back a little on the oil and sugar, which wasn´t a problem, and next time I´ll try to substitute some of the flour with whole wheat too. And, before you dig in, I have to say: let them cool. It´ll be worth it. The flavour intensifies and they become so much better! And I loved the different textures provided by the carrots, raisins and walnuts. I didn´t have coconut, so I left that out, but I guess that would be a nice addition texture- and taste-wise! I´ve actually never tried coconut in carrot cake, so I guess it´s time to face that fear! Next time. Because there will certainly be a next time with these!


Carrot Spice Muffins

from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
makes 12 muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola, safflower or corn
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots (about 3, peeled and trimmed)
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup moist, plump currants or raisins
1/3 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted, cooled and chopped

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pans, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough – a few lumps are better than over-mixing the batter. Stir in the carrots, coconut, currants, and nuts. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold. Or just leave them the way they are!

Rhubarb muffins

Hooray! First of all, it’s spring! And summer is here soon, though it feels like it’s already summer here today. 18 degrees C and sunshine – that’s summer, whether I’m here in Denmark or home in Norway. And secondly, and most importantly, rhubarb is in season! Nothing says spring or early summer more than rhubarb desserts and muffins. Although I love rhubarb in a strawberry/rhubarb pie, this soup, my mother’s rhubarb compote, rhubarb crumble……..this, is what exites me most! This is first on my rhubarb-list. Then comes the pie, that’s really good too…and it brings back memories from past summers, when my family have friends over and we just sit eating, talking, laughing and munching into the Norwegian summer night that never gets the chance to go dark, before the sun rises again. Lovely. But that’s another story. I’m a sucker for nostagia, especially the summer-related kind. Can’t help it. Now for the muffins. These darlings are a newer acquaintance, but instantly became a hit in my family, and I’ve been making them at least a couple of times every rhubarb season since. What surprised me the most when I first made them, was how incredible moist they were. We actually had to get a spoon, and scoop out the delicious muffin-rhubarb-goo and eat it like a mini dessert from a paper bowl. But the good thing about it, although I like to eat things with a spoon in general even if it’s not needed, I find it very comforting, was that we could really scrape every last bit of muffin out of the muffin cup. Very nice. And economic and ethically right, not to waste food. Which brings me to why I made these muffins right now. We have a group project at school to prepare a meal for about 200 people, sell it, and make all kinds of budgets, PR, hygienic controls. It’s quite a project. And it has to be a somewhat sustaineable meal. So we decided to go for a koncept of exploiting the nature in a good way, to go out and find edibles in the forest, your backyard or on the way to work for that matter. To use whatever’s in season, and to shop locally. So since rhubarb is in season, I suggested it, since a lot of people have it in their gardens. But mostly, to have an excuse to make them. What can I say, they are de-licious. And a smash hit with my fellow group members. And it looks really pretty. I’ve never had that purple rhubarb before, and it gave the muffins an almost plumlike pinkish colour. But tastewise, it’s all the same. Phew.


Rhubarb Muffins

100 g butter
2 dl sugar
3 eggs
ca 2 dl flour
1,5 teaspoon baking powder
0,5 dl rhubarb juice
250 g rhubarb 0,5 dl sugar
0,5 dl water

Cut the rhubarb into pieces and bring to a boil together with sugar and water. Boil until the rhubarb softens. Strain the rhubarb to squeeze out the juice. In a bowl combine the sugar and butter and stir. Add 1 egg at a time. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture. Turn the rhubarb syrup carefully into the batter. (If you use the purple rhubarb, to make a marbled effect. Or just turn it in if you want a pink batter! If you use the pale rhubarb it doesn’t really matter.) (I also made a batch of unmarbled muffins, so you can skip the straining if you don’t bother or want to. That works too! But I think I’d do it, I think it makes them so deliciously moist.) Fill the cups 3/4 full, and top with a spoon of rhubarb in the middle. Bake for about 10 minutes for the small kind, and 15 minutes for large. Sift with powding sugar or make a simple glaze, and give them a whirl. And dig in, armed with a spoon for maximum pleasure…. They’re best eaten while warm, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Or served lukewarm, that also works. Or cold with a warm cup of tea as a late night snack when the Scandinavian summer air turns crisp. These are flexible babies! But whatever you do – just do it. Make them.

Raspberry crumble muffins

First of all let me give you a warning. These muffins are not for the faint at heart. I repeat, not. But they are dangerously tasty. Like most bad things are… Still interested? Thought so!

This is actually a TWD recipe, or Dorie Greenspan anyway. But originally it’s a crumble cake with blueberries. I made that about a year ago, (blog post here), and fell in love. Oh my. It was so sinfully good! That thick buttery crumb. The moist cake, and the berries. What’s not to love? Did I mention the buttery crumb? Yes I did. Anyways. My sister called me this morning and invited herself and her daughter along with my mother on a visit today. So I saw this as a great opportunity to remake this wonderful creation! I cannot be trusted alone with goodies like this, so when 3 girls were coming my way, I thought I could push some of the calories onto them. Not that I’m the calorie counting type. I mean, take a look at the recipe. But like I said, me and cakes? Just the two of us? I see trouble. I see myself becoming fat in a near future.

This time I decided to use raspberries instead. I have loads of both in the freezer, but somehow I find it a lot easier to use the blueberries. But this seemed like somehing that would turn out well with raspberries too, so that’s what I used. I left out the nutmeg and cinnamon too. I didn’t want any taste interruptions. Also, just to take a walk on the wiiild side, I made muffins instead of a loaf. I know! Totally crazy. Besides, I just bought these overly cute pink polka dotted muffin forms. (And this way it’s just different enough to post it as a new recipe…hehehe)

Blueberry Crumb Cake going raspberry cupcake
(Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 192-193)
8 servings (1 loaf or 12 muffins)

Crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped walnuts

Cake Batter

1 pint (2 cups) blueberries (preferably fresh, or frozen, not thawed)
2 cups plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest of ½ lemon or ¼ orange
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. ( 175 C) Butter an 8-inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.

To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients except the nuts in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms clumps and curds and holds together when pressed. Scrape the topping into a bowl, stir in the nuts and press a piece of plastic against the surface. Refrigerate until needed. (Covered well, the crumb mix can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

To make the cake: Using your fingertips, toss the berries and 2 teaspoons of the flour together in a small bowl just to coat the berries and set aside. Whisk together the remaining 2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the butter and, with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar with the butter at medium speed until light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract. Don’t be concerned if the batter looks curdled – it will soon smooth out. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, the flour in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). You will have a thick, creamy batter. With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the berries. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan or muffin forms and smooth the top gently with the spatula. Pull the crumb mix from the fridge and, with your fingertips, break it into pieces. There’s no need to try to get even pieces – these are crumbs they’re supposed to be lumpy and bumpy and every shape and size. Just scatter the crumbs over the batter in a more or less even manner.

Bake the very low caloric cake for 55 to 65 minutes, (muffins for 25-30 minutes) or until the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. It might seem underbaked, but if the crumbs are golden they should be ready. My muffins felt very runny, but I had to take them out not to burn them. But if you have the willpower to let them cool for a bit, they will be perfect. Firmer but deliciously sticky. We ate them with a spoon… Transfer the cake/muffins to a rack and cool just until it is warm or until it reaches room temperature.

Like all good coffee cakes, this needs nothing but coffee. But seeing my niese drinking milk with it, I guess that works too. The point is, you have to neutralize them. It’s best served the day it is made, but if you should be lucky enough to have anything left, it can be wrapped well and kept overnight at room temperature. For you to enjoy the next day. As breakfast, lunch, for coffee or dessert with a scoop of ice cream. Anything goes with these babies.