Crunchy Rhubarb Muffins

These rhubarb muffins have a tender crumb interior and crisp, sweet exterior  

These rhubarb muffins have a tender crumb interior and crisp, sweet exterior

 

Rhubarb fascinates me!  A glorious vegetable-fruit, it's long history and storied past provide many reasons to celebrate it each spring. Many memories of pulling the stalks out of the ground with a brother or two and nibbling it, seeing who could actually chew up and swallow some fill my mind each spring.  Of course we were taught not to eat the leaves (they are poisonous), which only added to the mysterious allure of the stuff for us!  We knew that the stalks would soon be transformed by our mother or a grandmother into something indescribably delicious.
This muffin recipe lets the rhubarb shine without any sour notes.  Originally published in Fine Cooking years ago, you will keep this recipe in your springtime file and find yourself making it many times when rhubarb is available!

(Check out the video of my visit to see Carol the "Rhubarb Queen" in the video section!)

Muffin batter:

2 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup sour cream

4 ounces (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups 1/4-inch-diced rhubarb (about half a pound)

Topping

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.  Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients for muffins (flour through salt) and whisk until well-blended.  Add the rhubarb and toss to combine.

In a medium bowl whisk together the sour cream, melted butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth.  Add to the bowl with the dry ingredients and rhubarb.  Using a rubber spatula, stir until just combined; do not overmix or muffins will be tough.

Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide the dough evenly among the muffin cups.  Smooth and settle the batter with the back of a spoon or spatula, leaving it a little higher in the center.

Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over each muffin, about 3/4 teaspoon each.

Bake the muffins until they're golden brown and spring back when gently pressed, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18-22 minutes.  Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes, lift them out; you may need to loosen them with the tip of a knife.  Serve warm.

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