Rhubarb and Rye Steusel Muffins

Rhubarb and Rye Steusel Muffins

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Rhubarb is, I think, one of the most spectacular fruits. I am a lover of all things sour-sweet, and rhubarb definitely fits the bill. When I created my edible garden this spring, one of the first things I planted was a rhubarb plant. The next day, I panicked that it wasn't enough, so I ran out and bought two more. Now, when I look out my kitchen window, I see these gigantic, floppy elephant ear leaves waving at me from the corner of the yard. It makes me so happy.

These muffins are based on Deb Perelman's brilliant Rhubarb Streusel muffins, a recipe which, to be honest, doesn't really need a makeover because it is delicious as is. They have a bit of a dessert vibe, thanks to the crisp, sweet topping, but they restrained enough in their sweetness that they make for a totally respectable breakfast. Over the years, though, I have tweaked Perelman's recipe here and there, simplifying the steps, adding oats to the topping, and swapping out the sour cream for yogurt, simply because I almost always have some on hand.

Lately, I have been playing around with different whole grain flours, and I thought that rhubarb would pair really nicely with the flavour of rye. Rye flour can be a little bit tricky to find; I get mine at a local grocery store called Farm Boy, which is a small chain with a couple of locations in Ontario. I would am also willing to bet that bulk stores would probably also carry it. If you can't find it, or if it is not your thing, simply swap it out for whole wheat flour instead (whole wheat pastry flour would be ideal here). Feel free, also, to swap out the fruit for whatever is in season; these would be awesome with strawberries, blueberries, peaches, or plums.

These little babies are definitely at their best when they are very fresh, while the streusel topping is still nice and crunchy. That said, they are still worth eating the next day, in which case I recommend heating them up with a little butter. Really, though, what muffin isn't better with a little butter?

Rhubarb and Rye Streusel Muffins

Adapted from Deb Perelman's recipe for Rhubarb Streusel Muffins on Smitten Kitchen

Makes 12 muffin

Ingredients:

Streusel Topping:

  • 3 tbs butter, melted
  • 1/4 c. rye flour
  • 1/4 c. rolled oats
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. rye flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 5 tbs butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Fruit:

1 c. rhubarb, roughly diced into 1/2" pieces

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Butter or line 12 muffin cups. Set the muffin tin on a cookie sheet.
  • Melt both portions of butter. Set the 5 tbs for the muffin batter aside to cool.
  • Add the 3 tbs of the butter to the rest of the streusel ingredients, combining with a fork or clean fingers until it is crumbly and moist, like damp sand.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • In a large bow, whisk the egg with the brown sugar. Stir in the melted butter, followed by the yogurt.
  • Dump the dry ingredients into the wet and gently combine, taking care not to over mix.
  • Fold in the rhubarb and about 1/3 of the streusel (no need to measure).
  • Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups (hot tip: use an ice cream scoop for this).
  • Top each muffin with a generous crumble of the topping, gently pressing it in to make sure it sticks.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. 
  • Cool briefly in the tin before removing to a rack to finish cooling. It is important not to seal these up in a container before they are totally cool, or the crisp topping will become super soggy.
 A girl and her rhubarb. Notice her phone (aka 90's era calculator) "charging" in the background.

A girl and her rhubarb. Notice her phone (aka 90's era calculator) "charging" in the background.

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