Spring Muffins

Did you ever tap a maple tree? I have... in our science class when I was a kid. March always means maple syrup season in Michigan. The peak flow occurs when it freezes at night and is bright and sunny the next day with the temperature in the 40s.

The collected sap (which at this point tastes like sugared water) must be boiled to remove water, thereby concentrating the sugars into maple syrup. There is nothing better than homemade maple syrup!

And March also means fresh rhubarb makes an appearance in the market. And it has finally arrived in mine. At least the hothouse form, which is always a much brighter red than garden grown; it's still a bit early for garden rhubarb.

To me this always means two things: spring can't be all that far behind and you're going to see a lot of rhubarb recipes coming at you 'cause I really love it. Mother used to grow it in her garden and she would stew it some days and other days she'd make her rhubarb pie. You don't very often see a recipe for rhubarb pie without some other fruit in it (usually strawberries), or tapioca for thickening. Ruins. The. Pie. Mother just used flour. It's not as thick as most pies, but it's the stuff dreams are made of.

However, I'm not going to post the pie recipe today. Right now I'm going to tell you about my maple syrup rhubarb muffins. Rhubarb is a difficult muffin to make just right. But I've got the perfect recipe. Be sure to use paper liners 'cause this muffin will stick to the pan if you don't. The flavors in this muffin combine to make one perfect gem of a treat. Spring will burst in your mouth!

Rhubarb Maple Muffins
Adapted from Cold Weather Cooking by Sarah Leah Chase

1-1/2 cups rhubarb, cut in 1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Mix the rhubarb and the brown sugar in a bowl and allow to stand for 45 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350°. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg and set aside. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and egg together until blended. Add the maple syrup. Alternate the flour mixture with the milk and mix until you have a smooth batter.

By hand, fold in the rhubarb mixture, the lemon zest and the pecans. Fill your muffin cups nearly to the top with batter. 
( I used up nearly all the batter) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until they are brown and a cake tester comes out clean.


  1. Home-made maply syrup? I can only dream about it, Barbara.

    Love the look of the rhubarb muffins. Spring should not be too far for you, and I am enjoying my autumn!

  2. These muffins looks and sound delish! I've been craving muffins a lot lately!

  3. I've never seen how they being processed. Maple syrup is always a fabulous ingredients. And it makes your muffins sound terrific too! So yummy. Btw, I've something for you Barbara. Pls feel free to visit my blog to collect it. Have a nice day.
    Cheers, Kristy

  4. I love the sound of these. I adore rhubarb, and I have some maple syrup to use up...looks like these muffins are in my future. Thanks! And happy (almost) spring!

  5. Well, I am bookmarking this, because I love rhubarb!

  6. Barbara this will be another great way to use the rhubarb that my friend shares with me. It sounds delish. Now I just wish I had a Maple tree to tap too. I enjoy your blog so much. It makes me wish I still cooked like I did when all the children were home.

  7. Rhubarb so reminds me of Spring!! I am hoping it arrives soon! The maple tree...how cool is that!

  8. Love rhubarb! This sounds really good. I agree with you that rhubarb looses something when it is messed up with other fruit.

  9. tapping maple trees! its like tapping rubber trees for their latex. only maple syrup is more motivating I must say! lovely muffins ^^

  10. Rhubarb season already?!?!? I'm so excited. These muffins look fantastic.

  11. oh wow I want to tap a maple tree what fun, still remember you sail boating over frozen lakes, love the muffins

    posting your verrine post as I type!

  12. My rhubarb is just starting to come up in my garden, so I'll be watching for those rhubarb recipes!

  13. Hi Barbara,

    How lovely tapping the maple trees and getting the syrup.
    I love rhubarb and this recipe sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend


  14. These look wonderful! My sons school tapped a maple tree when we were living in Virginia a few years back and I was lucky enough to get a little jar and I agree, soooo delicious! Just wish I has of thought about rhubarb back then

  15. It's spring at your end and autumn at mine. Lovely muffins. I love spring time.

  16. How cool that you would collect your own maple syrup. I would love to see that being done.
    THe muffins look great!
    Have a lovely weekend.
    *kisses* HH

  17. Wonderful, interesting post as usual Barbara! We love maple syrup, I'd love to tap a maple tree and make my own syrup, maple trees don't grow here:( And rhubarb, oh, I love it, I had some wonderful rhubarb pies in the UK (no other fruits), and a friend once mailed me the rhizomes - the ugliest looking thing on earth. They didn't like the trip, or the soil in my garden: they never grew. Reading about your rhubarb maple muffins is really a feast for me!

  18. how refreshing to find a unique muffin recipe! my mom has been experimenting with sap collection and making her own syrup. i must say, she has a ways to go... :)

  19. Can I say how jealous I am that you got to make your own maple syrup??

    Strangely enough, I didn't enjoy rhubarb as a child and never really thought about it since... your post just reminded me rhubarbs exist and that I should make these as soon as they're in season in France!

  20. Barbara, I just discovered rhubarb last year. My mother never used it!
    I am now a convert. I will certainly give these a try. Would love to collect my own syrup. How fun!

  21. wowow! wish I had one now!

  22. Anh: I dream about it too!

    Kathleen: They are!

    Kristy: Thank you so much for the award!

    Hungry Dog: Most rhubarb muffins are wet. These are not.

    Pam: Me too!

    June: It was great fun!

    Julie: Hope spring comes soon, for everyone's sake!

    Anonymous: Yes, it's usually strawberries too, which steal away rhubarb's flavor.

    Zurin: Another nice thing about being born in Michigan!

    Joanne: I know...and I have lots of recipes to post already.

    Rebecca: Thanks! I'll check it out.

    Lynn: There'll be lots. Already have made three things with more to come.

    Foodie: They are!

    Carolyn: It's a lovely combination.

    Camilla: Then you know just how great it tastes!

    Ellie: That's what's fun about blogging!

    HH: It was!

    Francesca: There were lots of sugar maples in Michigan. I miss it!

    Grace: Good luck to your mom! Keep me posted on her progress!

    Lucie: I've loved it since I was a kid. Of course, those marvelous pies didn't hurt!

    Pam: So many wonderful rhubarb recipes out there.

  23. When I'm able to find some good, fresh rhubarb I'm going to these muffins! I love rhubarb and they sound wonderful.

    I'm sure somewhere in Wisconsin there's some maple trees being tapped too ;)

  24. Rhubarb muffins! That's totally awesome! As soon as my husband comes back from his trip I'm making those for him, he just loves rhubarb!

  25. I love rhubarb desserts! They aren't too sweet. These muffins sound terrific!

  26. I have to try those muffins. I haven't had anything with rhubarb in it in years.

    LOVE maple, especially "fresh" syrup. My mother's paternal side used maple syrup "taps" to supplement their dairy farm income.

  27. These muffins look amazing!! great recipe!!


  28. Vermontville, Michigan always had a maple syrup festival! South of Lansing..Most people don't know how much sap is needed for a quart of good maple syrup! I've had rhubarb- strawberry combos for crisps and pies- your muffins sound great!

  29. Susan: All over the north and northeast there are sugar maples being tapped!

    Natasha: Well then he's going to be very happy, 'cause I've already made 3 rhubarb dishes to post!

    TKW: No, not sickening sweet like so many muffins, but there is brown sugar and maple syrup in them!

    Chan: I really miss those days; it was so much fun!

    Bonnie: They are! Hope you're feeling better!

    BD: You gotta leave the strawberries out of the pie...they cover up the rhubarb flavor!

  30. OOH. Maple and Rhubarb. what a wonderful combination!

  31. Yum! As Canadians, we are all about the maple syrup!
    Looks delicious. Great idea to pair sweet syrup with tart rhubarb.

  32. Oh Barbara what a delight to read this recipe. I love rhubarb and it also makes me think of my mother & home. My parents always grew it (I did too in WA) and mom always made jam, pied and my favorite, rhubarb cake. Whenever I pick it up at our local market (hard to find) the cashier never knows what it is. You've inspired me to track some down this weekend & try those delicious muffins. Thank you as always Barbara. Do hope you are well and having a great Friday?
    x deb

  33. Love this....all my fave ingredients.....I love rhubarb and ginger compote too!!!!!

  34. Spring muffins! I love this idea. And what's not to love about rhubarb?

  35. Your muffins definitely feel like spring, Barbara. They are lovely and I bet delicioius with that rhubarb/maple combo. I'm also intrigued by your rhubarb pie! :)

  36. I came "this close" to posting for Maple Syrup Month:) Oh how I wish I had, I sure would have loved to include this link. I think I'll just save it for next March and in the mean time, look for some fresh rhubarb so I too can have such delicious looking delectables. Thank you so much for sharing Barbara:)

  37. That rhubarb looks so nice, and I wish I could tap a maple. Especially since organic maple syrup is so expensive lately!

  38. This looks like such a lovely practice, tapping your own maple syrup. I know in Asia many kids used to have the opportunity to tap rubber trees. It almost looks similar, cept maple syrup is probably the tastier of the two. :D

    Love rhubarb too!

  39. Kate: I'm working on a verrine with rhubarb!

    Natashya: Louise mentioned this is maple syrup month. Had no idea!

    Deb: I debated making a rhubarb cake..may still do it.

    Ozoz: Rhubarb ginger compote. Sounds good. May try it!

    Molly: Agreed!

    Faith: The pie recipe is coming soon.

    Louise: Link problem on my site is finally fixed!

    Stella: I miss homemade maple syrup!

    Vicky: Yep. I think maple syrup tastes better than rubber!

  40. I remember watching a documentary about maple syrup, when I was a kid. They showed some footage of the syrup poured onto fresh snow, then kids stuck popsicle sticks in the snow to eat it - something I have always wanted to try (but sadly haven't achieved yet.)

    Rhubarb on the other hand, I just discovered last year and LOVE, so will defintiely give these gorgeous muffins a go.

  41. Wow Barbara, these look wonderful! full of the flavours of spring...maple syrup is not as widely used in the UK as in the US - I love it though so I must try to do these :) Lucie x

  42. Oh my gosh those look so good! I have such good memories of rhubarb from my youth and I have YET to make it as an adult!! This recipe looks amazing!


  43. What a fantastic combination. I'll bet these are wonderful. I'll have to give them a try.

  44. Shaz: I've heard about doing that, but never did it.

    Lucie: I knew maple syrup was not a biggie in the UK. It's such a unique flavor, too.

    Amanda: Luckily, my market has quite a bit of it.

    Mary: They're a great muffin!

  45. I dont think a muffin can get any better than this!

  46. these are beautiful! i love those tart pieces of rhubarb in there, wonderful!

  47. Those look very delicious ... lovely images! Off for some more eye candy ...
    Have a wonderful day!

  48. Barbara
    Homemade muffins with rhubarb and maple syrup sounds like a heavenly way to start the day! I would love to taste freshly harvested maple syrup! Sounds amazing and -I confess- I have never had rhubarb either!

  49. Figtree: No...it is a real gem of a muffin!

    Teresa: They're not too sweet, just right.

    Saskia: Thank you for visiting!

    Joumana: Homemade syrup is delicious! Rhubarb is very tart so needs lots of sweetening.

  50. Yummy! The rhubarb looks tempting!


  51. I've never seen rhubarb used in muffins! It sounds wonderful with the maple syrup and spices.

  52. I love rhubarb and I am going to make these muffins. Thank you for another wonderful recipe!

  53. I'd love to make homemade maple syrup one day! :D Lucky you having tapped a maple tree! these muffins look great too! :)

  54. I so love rhubarb in anything & certainly in these georgous muffins!!!

    Waw!!! Real beauties!!! MMMMM,...

  55. Absolutely nice and delicious muffins, huggs, gloria

  56. Nisrine: They are very tempting!

    Christine: It's tricky, but if you macerate the rhubarb in sugar for a while first, it works.

    Brocantess: Thanks for visiting!

    Lorraine: Yes, it was really fun to make maple syrup.

    Sophie: They're winners!

    Gloria! Thanks!

  57. I wouldn't mind some of your maple syrup for my pancakes. Rhubarb is one of my favourites so I can't wait for your pie recipe but in the meantime, these lovely muffins will do nicely. Great idea; if the spring won't come, let's create it in the kitchen.

  58. I have yet to try rhubarb=( Looks tasty!

  59. Have never tapped a tree for syrup or cooked rhubarb. I'll have to give rhubarb a try this spring.

  60. I LOVE rhubarb! and i'm always looking for different ways to use it! thanks.

  61. I love rhubarb and these muffin look terrific. Now I'm waiting for the pie recipe.

  62. Vanessa: Can you find rhubarb in Germany Vanessa? Hope so. These muffins are so good and they freeze beautifully!

    Sherry: It's quite sour so sugar is a must.

    Lea Ann: There were a lot of sugar maples where I lived; everyone did it.

    Elizabeth and Jared: Then you're going to like my blog because there are lots more rhubarb recipes coming!

    Mimi: Coming within a couple weeks.

  63. Rhubarb hasn't shown up in our local markets yet so I'm saving this recipe until then. I'll be looking forward to more rhubarb postings. Thanks.

  64. Dear Barbara I posted today about your lovely Banana Pudding, if you want look my Bog. huggs. gloria

  65. Thanks Barbara I add the "s" sorry dear, Im not well still! sorry, gloria

  66. These Muffins look Great! My husband loves Rhubarb, so he will be thrilled. They grown it in the valley where I live, and I have some in the garden, Yeah Spring! I didn't know they tap the maple tress so early, thanks for the lesson. And thanks for visiting my blog. Bella

  67. That looks incredible, but I'll bet the perfume of maple syrup baking must have been ten times better! I wish there was a perfume that smelled like maple syrup...teehee!

  68. Blonde Duck: Be sure to look for it in your market.

    Cathy: I made a wonderful Rhubarb/Ginger compote today. Will post soon.

    Gloria: Thanks!

    Bella: See my response to Cathy.

    Sophia: You're right. Boiling maple syrup smells divine!

  69. You made maple syrup? Sounds a lot of fun ;-...even more interesting are the muffins with the rhubarb...must taste so yummie.

  70. What delicious looking muffins! Yes, I can't wait for Spring - we have had such an awful winter.

  71. Love your stories and nice pictures. Thanks for posting this and looking to make muffins with rhubarb...

  72. Juliana: It was fun!

    Heather: It's been long and cold.

    Momgateway: Hope you get a chance to make them!

  73. Nope never tapped a maple tree. But let me tell you what a dork I am....a few weeks ago, I asked the most absurd question to my husband. I asked, "what kind of tree does maple syrup come from?' He just looked at me w/ a blank stare. I burst out in hysterical laughter, answering my own question!!! I am a complete dork! I admit it!!!

  74. Oh yeah i saw a maple tree ...jus now on ur blog...never saw one before this....i have a cute bottle in the refrigeration which i love....such a precious recipe...actually with our weather i have warm hot summer bursting in my mouth and for once i love summer.....

  75. Muffins are a favorite in our home. These would be a big hit.



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