I had thought that rhubarb needed lots of sugar to taste good, but have now realised that their tartness is all part of their charm. Roast rhubarb with a drizzle of maple/agave syrup – or honey – and it sweetens up, but retains that characteristic sharpness.
These moist, sticky muffins celebrate the beautiful friendship of oranges and rhubarb. I’ve added a few sweet spices too. The trick to successful, light muffins – gluten free or otherwise – is not to overwork the flour. So mix the wet ingredients well (hello food processor) and also the dry, but once you add them together, try to keep the stirring to a minimum.
Ingredients (makes 8 muffins/10 cupcakes)
400-500g of rhubarb
2 tbsp maple/agave syrup
200g medjool dates (stoned)
80g coconut oil
30g ground almonds
50g rice flour
1-2 tsp cinnamon
A grating of nutmeg (optional)
½ -1 tsp ground ginger (optional)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Preheat oven 200 (fan)/220 (conventional) for the rhubarb; turn down to 160 (fan)/180 conventional for the muffins
- Soak the stoned medjool dates in 150ml of warm water.
- Zest the orange before squeezing, leave to one side.
- Cut the rhubarb into chunks – about 2cm in length – and place on a baking tray. Juice the orange and mix with the maple or agave syrup. Pour over the rhubarb and roast for about 20 minutes until soft but not soggy. Give a stir/shake halfway through. Once the rhubarb is done, turn the oven down to 160 (fan)/180 (conventional).
- Blitz the dates and their soaking water into a paste. Melt the coconut oil and drizzle in, add the eggs and blend well.
- Meanwhile, mix the flour, ground almonds, cinnamon, other spices – if using – baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together, then pour the contents of the blender in, giving a brief stir to lightly combine everything. Add half of the rhubarb pieces.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin or cupcake cases. Poke the rest of the rhubarb into the tops.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes until firm and lightly golden. Let the muffins cool in the tin before removing/eating (they are better cold rather than fresh out of the oven).