Mother’s Day Treat: Roasted Rhubarb-Orange Muffins with Vanilla-Almond Crackle

Roasted Rhubarb-Orange Muffins with Vanilla-Almond Crackle (Wendy Goodfriend)

If someone were to ask me what my perfect dream muffin would be it would be this one. Served in bed (after being allowed to sleep in by my 5-year-old). With a nice hot cuppa tea. And maybe a big mimosa. Made from fresh-squeezed blood oranges. Just sayin'. Mother’s Day is coming people, and it’s nice to make Moms feel special.

These might seem like a bit of an undertaking, but Mom is worth it. And you can get ahead of the game by roasting the rhubarb the night before, stirring together the almond crackle ingredients, and even whisking together the dry ingredients for the muffins (don’t forget to pull out the butter so it’s all ready at room temp in the morning). Store the almond crackle and rhubarb in the fridge and pull it out when you get up to make Mom some coffee.

For those of you who question rhubarb, or have never tried it, it’s one of my favorite vegetables-masquarading-as-a-fruit. I love it in any dessert (turnovers, galettes, pies, etc.) with or without strawberries, and it’s even terrific in savory recipes—try making it into a chutney and serving it with roasted pork tenderloin. Once, my stepmum-in-law made a rhubarb tarte tatin and I nearly cried from joy.

If you want to simplify this, or you are averse to nuts, leave off the crackle and just sprinkle the muffins with crunchy raw demerara sugar. It adds both texture and sparkle!

Roasted Rhubarb-Orange Muffins with Vanilla-Almond Crackle
Roasted Rhubarb-Orange Muffins with Vanilla-Almond Crackle (Wendy Goodfriend)

Recipe: Roasted Rhubarb-Orange Muffins with Vanilla-Almond Crackle

Makes 20–24 muffins

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Ingredients:

    Roasted rhubarb
  • 8 oz trimmed rhubarb (about 4 small stalks), trimmed and cut into 1/3-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 large orange
  • 1 vanilla bean
Trim and cut rhubarb stalks into 1/3-inch slices.
Trim and cut rhubarb stalks into 1/3-inch slices. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Almond crackle
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
    Muffins
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 large orange
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream (not low-fat)
    Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line 20–24 standard muffin cups with liners. Using a paring knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise, then, using the back of the knife, gently scrape the seeds from the pod. Put the seeds into a medium mixing bowl and reserve the pod.
  2. Using a paring knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise, then, using the back of the knife, gently scrape the seeds from the pod.
    Using a paring knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise, then, using the back of the knife, gently scrape the seeds from the pod. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  3. To roast the rhubarb, on a small rimmed baking sheet or glass baking dish, toss together the rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, and vanilla bean pod. Spread into an even layer and cover with foil. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and set aside on a wire rack to cool completely. You can make this up to 1 day ahead, just refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
  4. To roast the rhubarb, on a small rimmed baking sheet or glass baking dish, toss together the rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, and vanilla bean pod.
    To roast the rhubarb, on a small rimmed baking sheet or glass baking dish, toss together the rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, and vanilla bean pod. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and set aside on a wire rack to cool completely.
    Roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and set aside on a wire rack to cool completely. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  5. To make the almond crackle, add the egg white, sugar, and salt to the bowl with the vanilla bean seeds and whisk just until frothy (you aren’t actually whipping the whites, you are simply breaking them up) and the vanilla seeds are evenly dispersed. Add the almonds and stir to completely coat. Set aside.
  6. To make the almond crackle, add the egg white, sugar, and salt to the bowl with the vanilla bean seeds and whisk just until frothy (you aren’t actually whipping the whites, you are simply breaking them up) and the vanilla seeds are evenly dispersed.
    To make the almond crackle, add the egg white, sugar, and salt to the bowl with the vanilla bean seeds and whisk just until frothy and the vanilla seeds are evenly dispersed. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Add the almonds and stir to completely coat. Set aside.
    Add the almonds and stir to completely coat. Set aside. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  7. To make the muffins, reduce the oven temperature to 400F. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, salt, and orange zest on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the sour cream and beat on low speed. Add the rhubarb and the dry ingredients and, using the rubber spatula, stir just until evenly moistened.
  8. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, salt, and orange zest on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.
    In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, salt, and orange zest on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the sour cream and beat on low speed.
    Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the sour cream and beat on low speed. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Add the rhubarb and the dry ingredients and, using the rubber spatula, stir just until evenly moistened.
    Add the rhubarb and the dry ingredients and, using the rubber spatula, stir just until evenly moistened. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  9. Using an ice cream scoop or two tablespoons, heap the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them 2/3 full and dividing it evenly. Top with almond crackle, distributing it evenly.
  10. Using an ice cream scoop or two tablespoons, heap the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
    Using an ice cream scoop or two tablespoons, heap the batter into the prepared muffin cups. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Fill the cups 2/3 full and divide the batter evenly.
    Fill the cups 2/3 full and divide the batter evenly. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Top with almond crackle, distributing it evenly.
    Top with almond crackle, distributing it evenly. (Wendy Goodfriend)
  11. Bake until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto the rack and serve at once. The muffins are best served the day they are baked, but can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days and briefly re-heated in a 400F oven. Or, freeze the muffins in a zippered plastic freezer bag for up to 3 months; let defrost at room temperature, then re-heat in a 400F oven.
  12. Bake until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, about 17 minutes.
    Bake until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, about 17 minutes. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    Let the muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto the rack and serve at once.
    Let the muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto the rack and serve at once. (Wendy Goodfriend)
    The muffins are best served the day they are baked, but can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days and briefly re-heated in a 400F oven. Or, freeze the muffins in a zippered plastic freezer bag for up to 3 months; let defrost at room temperature, then re-heat in a 400F oven.
    The muffins are best served the day they are baked, but can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days and briefly re-heated in a 400F oven. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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