Thursday, July 11, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch Muffins

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Let's talk about rhubarb today. From what I understand, folks are either in the love it or leave it camp... which one do you fall under? I have to admit that I was indifferent about rhubarb because I haven't really had enough to form an opinion. Well, that is until now. Being that I have plenty of strawberries stashed away from my recent strawberry picking excursion the other week, I went on a limb and purchased some fresh rhubarb pair with my berries. It's pretty common to see rhubarb and strawberries used together so it was a natural purchase. But the truth is, I never really used it before. If I didn't know any better, I would have just assumed that it's a pretty pink stalk of celery without much flavor. And how is it that this stalk of blandness works so well with strawberries? Truth is, it just does. And they both worked wonderfully together in these Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch Muffins I made. Fresh strawberries and diced rhubarb married ever so nicely in a sweet muffin topped with a healthy dose of butter, sugar and granola for crunch...

Rhubarb intrigues me. As I was cutting up a stalk of fresh rhubarb, I was skeptical that it would work in this recipe. I kept thinking that I should do something to it first - like boil it, steam it or something to make it soft. Then I thought maybe I should cook it first with some sugar since it was bland if not slightly bitter. How on earth would it work out if I just threw in fresh diced up rhubarb?! It was as if I was chopping up a celery stalk and throwing it in. Needless to say, it worked... deliciously. In this muffin, the rhubarb cooked down and required no extra sweetener in this muffin. The strawberries provided the sweetness and the rhubarb added some moisture. With the muffin being moist and flavorful, the topping of granola put it over the top. I used the topping from an Ina Garten recipe and it really gave a nice contrast in texture... then again, I just like a crunchy muffin top. These muffins also freeze well!


Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch Muffins
recipe adapted from Satisfy My Sweet Tooth

1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour or all purpose GF flour blend* + 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup chopped rhubarb
3/4 cup chopped strawberries

Crunchy topping:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granola
1/4 cup flour or GF flour blend*

1/4 cup cold butter, diced


Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line muffin pan with liners.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, egg, milk and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

Carefully fold in strawberries and rhubarb into the batter and fill muffin cups half way to two thirds full. 

In a small bowl, combine crunchy topping ingredients using a fork or pastry cutter. Blend together until mixture is clumpy. Sprinkle tops with crunchy topping.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean.

*Gluten free flour blend: This is the best combination for my personal uses and has never failed me. I purchased a majority of the ingredients at an Asian market (at less than $.99/lb) and the other ingredients marked were Bob Red Mill brand. Cornstarch was Argo brand. 

300 grams superfine brown rice flour (Bob's Red Mill) 
250 grams sweet rice flour (Asian market) 
150 grams tapioca flour (Asian market) 
100 grams sorghum flour (Bob's Red Mill) 
100 grams potato starch (Asian market) 
100 grams cornstarch (Argo brand) 

Whisk together the above flours and store in an air tight container. To use, measure out 140 grams for every cup called for in your favorite baking recipe (NOT yeast bread recipes.) Add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum for every cup used in the recipe as well to help with texture and binding. Voila! You can bake gluten free with confidence! 

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