The pressure is on – there is still leftover rhubarb in my refrigerator, and I need to use it up before it spoils. I cannot let this precious stuff go to waste! I received a Chow recipe for Rhubarb Muffins with Cardamom Streusel (how appropriate since it’s rhubarb season), so I decided I would make them. Cardamom is a spice that I didn’t have on hand and frankly, didn’t know anything about. After a little research, I found out that Cardamon is native to India – a member of the ginger family. It’s also quite pricey – after saffron and vanilla beans, cardamom is the third most expensive spice. Perfect… just what I want to spend my money on. Well after looking in a few grocery stores, I couldn’t even find the stuff. Couldn’t I just leave the cardamom out?
Yes, you can definitely leave this spice out. Because let’s be honest, I’m not one of those people who buys every single ingredient every time I make a recipe. You would probably go broke that way – or at least I would. If a recipe calls for orange zest, I use lemon if I don’t have orange. If a recipe calls for cloves, I use nutmeg or cinnamon or both. So you can definitely use another baking spice like cinnamon or nutmeg in place of the cardamom, and they will still taste great. However, if you do want to venture outside of your normal baking realm, you’ll find that cardamom adds a “pungent aroma and a warm, spicy-sweet flavor”. I was able to get cardamom via a certain Mother who buys spices from a certain spice man who sells them at a certain Syracuse farmer’s market. The cardamom cost $3.50. I can’t imagine you’d find this much cheaper anywhere else. If you do want to buy this spice for a reasonable price, check online spice shops or even check your local Indian market.
The next few recipes I’ll be posting are rhubarb ones, so please be patient if you hate the stuff or just don’t want to make rhubarb anything. But if you do want to try some of these recipes, now is the time. I’ve spotted rhubarb at the farmer’s market, Whole Foods, and Wegmans, so you’re sure to find some in season. Enjoy!
Ingredients For Streusel:
- 6 tbsp flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Ingredients For the muffins:
- 1 1/2 c small diced rhubarb
- 3/4 c sugar
- 1 1/3 c flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 c plain yogurt
Directions For the Streusel:
- Mix the flour, sugar, cardamon, and salt in a bowl. Add butter and combine with your fingers rubbing the utter into the flour until small pieces form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Directions for Muffins:
- Heat the oven to 375 and coat a muffin tin with cooking spray or liners.
- Toss the rhubarb with 1/4 c of sugar and set aide for 5 minutes.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom in a bowl until combined.
- Place remaining 1/2 c sugar, butter, egg, vanilla, and yogurt in a separate bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ones and mix until combined.
- Fold in rhubarb gently.
- Fill each muffin until full and sprinkle streusel over top.
- Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.