I have always felt that muffins were little more than cupcakes for grown-ups, and I guess that’s why I love them. I adore heavy bran clunkers as much as I do their light, cakey sisters, but strive for something in the middle when I am baking them at home. I was inspired by a recipe at the Mayo Clinic Web site for a healthy rhubarb muffin, and did a bit of a riff on it. Here’s what I came up with: Perfectly nutritious, but still cupcake-yummy.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup organic raw sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 egg whites
2 tbsp. light olive oil
2 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce (or strawberry applesauce if available)
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/4 cup finely chopped rhubarb
3 tbsp. chopped almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined.
3. In another bowl, add the egg whites, oil, applesauce, orange juice and almond extract. Beat until smooth with an electric mixer or by hand. Add to the flour mixture and blend just until moistened but lumpy. Stir in the rhubarb.
4. Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Sprinkle the chopped almonds onto each muffin and bake until springy to the touch, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.