November 18, 2010

Spiced Almond and Rhubarb Muffins

My thoughts have been on the upcoming Christmas for quite a while now, probably ever since the last Christmas, to be exact! There is nothing like a white Christmas and to me it's the only Christmas I know, so you can probably imagine how weird it is for me to think Christmas whilst in the middle of the Australian summer.

I don't think it has quite hit me yet, probably for this above mentioned reason, that in a few weeks time I'll be in the Winter Wonderland, up at the Arctic Circle. There is a lot to do and a lot to see before we get there, however, so for now I'm trying to find a teeny bit of Christmas spirit in a way of these spiced muffins. It is the spices I've used in these muffins that make me think of Christmas, and I've poached the rhubarb in one of the stunningly fragrant teas I received from Swedelicious Tea. Christmas is getting closer, one muffin at a time!

Spiced Almond and Rhubarb Muffins
(Makes 12 small muffins)

1 cup water
2 tsp Swedelicious Rudolf Tea
250g rhubarb, cut into chunks
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
1 tbsp manuka honey blend

2 cups almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
3 large free-range eggs
1/2 cup organic, unsweetened apple puree
1 tbsp agave nectar

Preheat oven to 175C and prepare a muffin tray.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to boil, turn off the heat, and add the tea. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes then drain keeping the tea. Return the tea into the saucepan, add the rhubarb, vanilla and honey and bring to boil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the rhubarb has softened.
Drain (keep the liquid and drink or use elsewhere, it's really lovely!) and leave to cool.

Mix the almond meal, baking powder and spices in a bowl. In another bowl whisk the eggs, add in the apple puree and the agave nectar and stir to mix. Pour the egg mixture into the almond mixture and stir to combine. Spoon the batter into the muffin tray and spoon some of the rhubarb on top of each one. Press gently with a spoon to 'sink' the rhubarb. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly on a wired rack and serve warm with a cup of tea.