Let’s talk about classics that never go out of style.
Some things are just classics, things every girl would use over and over and over again if she invested in them (and didn’t change size too dramatically). I don’t actually own any of the above classics, although I would like to – I see their point.
What I DO have is some good classic recipes.
Like a well-thought-out wardrobe, you don’t need a huge selection, just the right basics, and you can pull off a win every time. In my books, everyone needs to know how to make one light fresh appetizer or one great warm appetizer, a classic lasagna, and a really, really good apple crisp. With these few recipes up your sleeve, you really can’t go wrong, and you can make people think you can cook without ever really risking failure. My secrets are out.
A basic muffin is another must. There are all kinds of ways to fancy-up muffins, from chia seeds to Nutella swirls, but sometimes you just need to stick with classic perfection. These banana muffins, these berry muffins, and now these rhubarb muffins are all perfect examples.The rhubarb in my garden is finally starting to grow enthusiastically enough that I can chop stalks off without guilt, but the first step was to use up the last of the rhubarb in my freezer from last season. I always freeze extra produce in the summer and then spend the winter not using it for fear of running out, meaning I am now using all that hoarded freshness with wild abandon as I can see the imminent arrival of fresh replacements. Frozen raspberries and strawberries, grated and cubed zucchini, and, of course, rhubarb.
The classics aren’t hard – they became classics because they work, and they’re just plain good. This is a slight adaptation of my mom’s rhubarb muffin recipe, and certainly adding a crumbly streusel topping would in no way be frowned upon by my classics-loving self – I just currently have a one-and-a-half-year-old who likes to help himself to muffins and makes a mess with streusel like nobody’s business, so I took the (only slightly) neater way out.
When working with tart rhubarb, you don’t want to skimp too much on the sugar, so I recommend using the full cup, also because the brown sugar contributes a lot to the flavour and texture of these muffins. With fruit muffins I like to toss the fruit with the flour mixture rather than adding it last because I find it eliminates issues like fruit sinking to the bottom of the batter, or overly-liquidy fruit making the muffins soggy. I always mix muffin batters by hand, because over-mixing the wet and dry ingredients can very quickly lead to tough, dense muffins instead of light, fluffy ones, and that just makes me sad. Ok, enough technical stuff…it’s just that I take my muffins very seriously ;)
Like all my muffins, I recommend freezing any extras the day you make them or the next day for future use – toss them in a freezer bag or airtight container or wrap them individually in plastic, then just microwave a frozen muffin for about 30 seconds and it’s as good as fresh. Leaving homemade muffins at room temperature for more than 2-3 days will definitely result in dried out muffins since there aren’t any handy preservatives to be found in the classics.
If you have rhubarb, fresh or frozen, these simple muffins are a must-make. Warm with butter…that’s my kind of classic breakfast comfort food :)
- 2½ cups all purpose flour (can substitute up to half with whole wheat flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk or sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with papers or spray with cooking spray.
- In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gently stir in rhubarb.
- In medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, oil, egg, buttermilk, vanilla and almond extracts until smooth.
- Pour wet ingredients over flour mixture and stir just until combined. Divide batter evenly over muffin tins.
- Bake for 19-22 minutes, until tops are golden and firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to eat or to a rack to cool further.