We are so excited to have a long weekend with slow mornings, and time to linger over coffee, cartoons and these muffins. There is something about rhubarb, with its bright, slightly sour flavor that perfumes everything it touches. And the strawberries right now are so incredibly delicious and sweet that I had to add these to this recipe (the original one from Saveur had just rhubarb and almond flavors, but I’ve adapted it here without nuts and with strawberries).
Whenever I use rhubarb, I always think of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I love everything about this book, where the author writes about a year of living with her husband and two children on a farm where they only eat what they can grow or get within a 50 mile radius (in Southern Appalachia, this excludes grocery stores or box stores of any kind).
When the author’s 50 birthday takes place in the summer of their year of eating seasonally, they served their birthday guests huge vats of strawberry rhubarb crisp instead of birthday cake, and of course its completely delicious.
When I made these muffins, I thought about that scene, because this recipe is really so versatile that it could be easily made into a delicious breakfast coffee cake (or birthday cake as the case may be) just by adding 15-20 minutes of cooking time. It is also very reminiscent of strawberry rhubarb crisp – which I posted here awhile ago – since it has a streusel topping. I love having another way to use strawberry and rhubarb together other than dessert. (Not that I haven’t eaten Strawberry Rhubarb crisp for breakfast.)
And since I subscribe to the more is more philosophy, I made a quick and easy compote with strawberries, rhubarb, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water + 1 tsp. lemon zest (totally optional). This is fantastic on anything your memorial day weekend could bring your way – ice cream, angel food cake, toast. And it turns out to be delicious on these muffins too.
Warning: just licking the spoon of this stuff will cause extreme distraction due to the explosion of flavor in your mouth. So, so good.
The sour cream gives the batter such a moist, tender cake, and the juicy fruits bursting out of it with the sugary, buttery streusel crust with hints of lemon is amazing.
So if you’ve been dreaming of some from-scratch flavors, give your baking tools a spin over this long weekend.
Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Muffins (printer version here):
MAKES ABOUT 18 MUFFINS
For the Streusel
½ cup flour
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
½ tsp. lemon zest
¼ tsp. kosher salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
For the Muffins
2 3/4 cups flour + ¼ cup to mix with fruit
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 stalks rhubarb, cut into ¼” pieces
1 cup strawberries, cut into ¼” pieces
Make the streusel: Whisk together flour, both sugars, zest, and salt in a small bowl. Add butter, and using your fingers, rub into mixture until smooth and large clumps form. Transfer to refrigerator; chill until ready to use.
Make the muffins: Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour muffin pans; set aside. Whisk together 2 3⁄4 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; set aside. In another bowl, whisk together sour cream, both sugars, oil, eggs, and vanilla; pour mixture over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. In a small bowl, toss remaining flour with rhubarb and strawberries until evenly coated, and then stir into batter. Working in batches, place cup batter in muffin cups, break streusel up into medium-sized clumps, and sprinkle evenly over muffins. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of each muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
To make a cake instead, preheat oven to same 350 temp. Pour batter into greased and floured 8″ round cake pan or 9×9 inch pan, top with streusel, and start checking at 35-40 with a toothpick for doneness.
Muffin Recipe adapted from www.saveur.com
Easy Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
In a saucepan, combine: 2 stalks of rhubarb, cut into ½ pieces, 1 cup strawberries, quartered and hulled, ¼ cup water, ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp. lemon zest (optional). Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce to medium high, for 6-8 minutes or until fruit has broken down.