I’ll never forget the first time I had these muffins. It was a cold, dark, dreary Oregon spring evening and I was sitting in my mother-in-law’s cozy kitchen out on the family farm. I was lamenting how confused I was about where my life was going and who I was supposed to be. While she quietly mixed the ingredients, she listened to my sorrows.
I was in a pretty melancholy state of mind, but as the smell of the muffins baking permeated the kitchen, I felt my spirits start to lift. Halfway into the first bite, my life looked a little less terrible. The caramelized brown sugar in the muffins warms from the inside out, and the tart rhubarb adds just a touch of sunshine. Despite the rain outside and the dark cloud over my head, by the end of my first muffin I felt sufficiently comforted.
In that moment, my wise mother-in-law knew it wasn’t words of advice or direction that I was looking for. She saw that all I needed was a simple, sweet reminder of life’s goodness.
Now, whenever I’m feeling a bout of melancholy coming my way, I’ll mix up this sweet batter and cozy up to the oven with a cup of tea, anxiously awaiting my first bite.
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup canola (or coconut) oil
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups rhubarb, small dice
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Combine ingredients and bake 15-20 minutes. Makes about 12 muffins.