I love sunny mornings. If day starts off with sunshine, no matter what the weather later on, I feel as though I can carry some of that sunshine and positivity through the rest of the day with me. Yesterday morning was like an explosion of happy - the beautiful slices of light slanting across my desk, the much anticipated arrival of my new camera, a tray of hot-from-the oven rhubarb muffins, and a big bunch of flowers on my bookshelf - all very much reasons to be cheerful.
I know that my last non-savoury recipe on here was for a rhubarb cake, but really, I am very much in love with this vegetable. (Yes! Rhubarb really is vegetable. Weird.) I love it's outrageous pink colour just as much as I do it's tangy flavour, and both of those attributes make it perfect for these muffins. Pancakes and waffles and french toast are all very well as a leisurely weekend breakfast, but if you want something a little speedier, although no less celebratory, to spice up a boring weekday breakfast, I think muffins are your best bet. I always tend to prepare as much as possible of this recipe in the evening: slicing the rhubarb, weighing out the dry ingredients, measuring the buttermilk and popping the butter into a little glass bowl, ready to be melted. This reduces the task of making these muffins to a little gentle stirring together of the ingredients in the morning.
I was worried the rhubarb would be too sour, as I tried to add as little sugar as possible to the muffins, but actually they tasted fine - more than fine in fact, as my Dad and sister, who both hate rhubarb, enjoyed them. Freshly grated ginger and the seeds of a vanilla pod felt a little extravagant for this humble recipe, but I was feeling extravagant, and I think these muffins tasted better because of it.
Rhubarb and Ginger Muffins
250g rhubarb (prepared weight)
235g plain flour
125g wholemeal plain flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
50g caster sugar
150g/120ml maple syrup
110g butter, melted
seeds of half a vanilla pod
1½ tsp freshly grated ginger
vegetable oil or melted butter, for greasing the muffin pan
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush each hole in a 12-hole deep muffin pan with a little melted butter or vegetable oil.
Chop the rhubarb into thin slices of about 1 cm - if the rhubarb slices are thicker, chop them in half lengthways before slicing.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl or jug, whisk together the wet ingredients, the grated ginger and the vanilla seeds.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, add the rhubarb, and stir together gently and slowly until all the ingredients are just incorporated. Be very careful not to over mix the batter - if a little flour is still visible in the mixture that's fine.
Spoon 1 tbsp of the muffin batter into each hole in the tin, and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for about 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. The muffins are best whilst eaten warm and don't keep very well, so try and eat them all on the day they were made.