Right before and after I had my little girl, a lot of people told me that having two kids was great. That it was tough at first (they said this with a perceptible shudder, which made me start sweating just a bit), but that after about a year, it was wonderful because your kids can actually play together. You know, a built-in buddy.
I was pretty skeptical when I heard this. I looked at my squidgy, helpless little newborn and then I looked at my rambunctious, rough-and-tumble two-year old and couldn’t help but think: “There’s going to be a whole lot of tears.” Every bone-crushing, head-squeezing hug given by my sweet boy to his little sister seemed to be confirmation of this. And then there was my experience of sibling-hood, in which my younger brother and I spent the greater part of our childhoods finding ways to torment each other. Let’s just say I have way more memories of the moments that I succeeded in this endeavor than moments where we played peacefully together. (Don’t worry, I like him now! A lot! He thinks up genius things like this.)
Needless to say, I wasn’t holding my breath. As Grace learned to walk, I watched as Joey came barreling towards her, knocking her over as he ran by. I wiped away tears the other day as Joey sobbed that Grace had pulled a fistful of hair out of his head. It’s a tough phase, guys.
But today, something magical happened. I was in the kitchen, making these muffins, with Grace playing contentedly by my feet, when Joey came into the kitchen, and said, “Grace, come with me.” He took her by the hand (heart. melting.) and led her into the living room, where he explained that they would be playing firefighter and she was in charge of the hose. He handed her the end of a play cloth and they went on their merry way, fighting fires and slobbering on plastic animal figures they had rescued from the burning building. As I watched this miraculous situation unfold, my heart about burst. At one point, Grace wobbled back into the kitchen, squawked for a piece of muffin, then returned to the living room, where she stood staring, shoving muffin in her mouth while her brother screamed, “Do something! There’s a fire!”
But she couldn’t. Probably because these muffins are so dang good. These rhubarb muffins with almond streusel are moist (shudder), tender, and just the right amount of sweet, with jammy little pockets of rhubarb throughout. As if that wasn’t enough, they’re topped with a crumble of almond-flecked streusel. I’m pretty sure that the streusel is what kept baby girl coming back for more, even as the building burned down due to her negligence.
These muffins kind of seem like the embodiment of my joy today: nothing too flashy, but somehow perfect in their simple, easy awesomeness.
P.S. In case any moms are reading this and are like, “So how long did it last before there were tears?!” Pshhhhh… the answer is 10 minutes.
Gotta start somewhere!
inspired by this recipe
- FOR THE STREUSEL
- 1⁄2 cup flour
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
- 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
- 1⁄2 cup sliced almonds
- FOR THE MUFFINS
- Unsalted butter, for greasing
- 4 1/2 cups flour, separated
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or vegetable oil of your choice)
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 lb rhubarb, cut into 1⁄4" pieces
Heat oven to 350°.
Grease muffin pans; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Add in the butter, and rub the mixer between your fingers to incorporate the butter, until the mixture is fairly even-crumbed. Gently stir in the almonds. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; set aside. In another bowl, whisk together sour cream, buttermilk, both sugars, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla extract; pour mixture over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. In a small bowl, toss remaining 1/2 cup flour with rhubarb until evenly coated, and then stir into batter. Scoop large spoonfuls of batter into the muffin tins- about 1/4- 1/3 cup per muffin. Sprinkle the streusel over the top, pressing down into the batter a bit with the tips of your fingers. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of each muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
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