Year after year, rhubarb shows up at the grocery store, and I take note to come up with a recipe so I have a reason to buy it next time I’m at the store. And then I forget, and I see it at the store, and I swear that next time I’ll remember – and so it goes on, until rhubarb season is over. Not this year. This year, I am buying rhubarb every time I see it at the store and figuring out what to do with it later. And since I go there at least twice a week, that’s a lot of rhubarb.
Now that rhubarb is a basically a staple around here, I’m free to try all sorts of recipes with it, from coffee cake to jam to pie to muffins. The coffee cake and the muffins were too similar to share both, and while my coworkers certainly seemed to appreciate the cake, I think the muffins were even better. Best of all, at least when you really want to soak up your brief opportunity for rhubarb, it’s a simple muffin with no distractions. It’s moist but craggy, like a muffin – not a cake – should be. The Greek yogurt (or sour cream) adds a zip of tang, just the right complement to the tart pockets of rhubarb.
As good as the muffins are though, I can guarantee I won’t be making them again this year, not when I’ve already found several other tempting rhubarb recipes. Plus I still need to make my favorite rhubarb scones. Fortunately, with as much rhubarb as I’m buying this year, I might actually get to all the recipes I want to make.
Healthy tricks I almost always use with quick breads: Replace half of the white flour with whole wheat pastry flour. Replace sour cream with Greek yogurt. Replace 4 tablespoons of the butter with 2 tablespoons of oil, which keeps the bread moist (but leaving 4 tablespoons of butter in the recipe keeps it tasting great).
Usually I assume 4.8 ounces (by weight) per cup of flour, but the original recipe included weight measurements with flour at 4.5 ounces per cup. As always, if you can measure by weight, do it.
9 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
¾ cup (5.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1½ cups (7.25 ounces) ¼-inch-diced rhubarb
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil baking cups.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and whisk to blend. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, sour cream, melted butter, and vanilla until smooth. Lightly stir the sour cream mixture into the dry ingredients with a spatula until the batter just comes together; do not overmix. Gently stir in the diced rhubarb. The batter will be thick.
3. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, using the back of a spoon or a small spatula to settle the batter into the cups. The batter should mound a bit higher than the tops of the cups.
4. Bake the muffins until they’re golden brown, spring back most of the way when gently pressed, and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully lift the muffins out of the pan—if necessary, loosen them with the tip of a paring knife—and let them cool somewhat. Serve warm.