There is something special about watching the first green shoots pop up after a long, drawn-out winter. There’s so much promise in those little green leaves. The promise of shedding winter coats and boots, of sunshine on our skin, of enjoying meals al fresco, and most of all, of getting cooped up kids outside!
And in the kitchen, there’s the promise of rhubarb. In today’s global market it’s one of the last seasonal products that we must wait for each year. And boy, is it worth the wait.
Making muffins is a sure fire way to get kids involved in the kitchen. Add to that, baking is a great way to expose kids to new foods, flavours and textures. You may not think that stringent, sour rhubarb would be on the top of a kid’s favourite foods list, but introducing it in a familiar recipe (muffins) while getting them involved in the process, gives you higher odds that they’ll try it and even like it.
The key to having kids be adventurous eaters is exposing them to new foods often and in a variety of ways. Sure, you can try offering ready-made rhubarb muffins to your kids and hope they will try them and like them. But, if you can involve them in the process of picking it (tip: make friends with neighbours who grow backyard rhubarb), shopping for it, prepping it and cooking with it, the odds your kids will try it and like it multiplies.
“If at first, you don’t succeed, try try again” rings true when it comes to kids and eating. If rhubarb or any other ‘new’ food isn’t accepted the first time around, continued exposure will eventually lead to acceptance in the vast majority of cases. If rhubarb was a no-go in the muffins, next time you can try rhubarb pie, strawberry rhubarb crumble or rhubarb jam. Not only will you be exposing your kids to rhubarb over and over, but you’ll also be exposing them to new cooking techniques.
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon (divided)
- 1 ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk (to make your own add 1 Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of 2% or 3% milk, stir and let stand for 5 minutes)
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups diced rhubarb
- 2 teaspoons butter (melted)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Prep and Cook
- 1Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with paper cups or spray well with cooking spray.
- 2In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and 1 tsp cinnamon.
- 3In a second large bowl, combine brown sugar, buttermilk, canola oil, egg and vanilla.
- 4Fold flour mixture into the wet mixture in three batches until just combined.
- 5Add rhubarb and combine by stirring gently. Batter will be very thick.
- 6Fill each muffin cup ¾ full with batter.
- 7In a small bowl, combine melted butter, granulated sugar and remaining ½ tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle about ½ tsp of the sugar mixture over each muffin.
- 8Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.