Saturday, 31 May 2014

Rhubarb, ginger and white chocolate muffins

I started my blogging career with a trio of muffin recipes. Lemon and white chocolate, rhubarb muffins and Quality Street muffins. For a while it looked like I should have called the blog InvisiblePinkMuffins. Since then the muffin recipe frequency on the blog has taken a nosedive. Time to do something about that! I wanted to make an extra special muffin to take with me to work to celebrate my birthday last week. And everyone knows the way to pimp up a muffin is to add more goodies into them. Fresh rhubarb form the garden was a must, it's only rhubarb season once a year. Some white chocolate and candied ginger for a bit of sweet and spice. And maybe throw in a zesty icing, just to make sure there's enough things going on.

For the recipe, I went back to my trusty basic muffin recipe from Kinuskikissa (the Finnish baking blog I've mentioned a time or two or seventeen...). What can I say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, it's such a quick and easy one bowl recipe. Muffins are also perfect to take along somewhere. You can leave some of them with your friendly ladies at reception, and take the rest along to your office. You can't do that with a cake. You can also try out a few in advance at home just to make sure they turned out good enough to take to work. With a cake all you can do is hope for the best. And if you really plan it right, you actually make one and a half times the recipe which means you have plenty of muffins to take to work *and* to have several left to snack on at home as well. Sneaky!

Just a note, the original recipe gives volume measurements in deciliters (100 milliliters) which is the normal volumetric unit of measurement for recipes back home. I have converted to approximate cups and weights using online calculators and I believe they should be close enough to work but have not tested so use at your own risk. Don't blame me that the cup measurements are quite whacky!

Rhubarb, ginger and white chocolate muffins (makes 12):
150 g butter
150 ml or 2/3 cups minus one tbsp or 128g sugar
2 eggs
400 ml or 1 2/3 cups minus one tbsp or 260 g all purpose flour 
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
150 ml or 2/3 cups minus one tbsp  milk
3-4 tender spring stems of rhubarb
50 g white chocolate chips
3-4 pieces of candied ginger

about 250 ml or 1 cup icing sugar
zest and juice from 1 lemon

The howto:
Bring the butter, eggs and milk to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (392 F or gas mark 6). Using a handheld electric mixer, whisk together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Keep whisking and add eggs one at a time. Add the flour, baking powder, vanilla paste and vanilla paste and mix once or twice. Add the milk and only mix enough to bring the batter together, careful not to over mix. Finely chop the rhubarb and ginger, and fold it into the batter. Divide into 12 muffin cases. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

After removing the muffins from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes while making the icing. Put the icing sugar in a small bowl, and add lemon zest to taste (a whole lemon will give a very mouth puckering zingy icing, use less if you prefer a more subtle flavour). Add lemon juice until desired consistency, you can add a bit of water if needed. Put into a piping bag and pipe a zigzag pattern on the muffins. If you don't have a piping bag, just make your icing a bit more runny and use a spoon to drizzle over the muffins. The muffins keep quite well for a few days in an airtight container if needed, but are best on the day of baking.

The verdict:
I think the combo of rhubarb, ginger, white chocolate and lemon worked very well. Although the muffins are quite sweet, the zestiness of the rhubarb and lemon counter the sweetness very well, and the ginger brings in some nice, spicy flavours. They seemed to go down a treat with the colleagues and I really enjoyed them. This is such a perfect easy and quick recipe that gives perfect muffins every time. 

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