Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Duo of Strawberry Muffins

I know I have been bombarding this site with strawberry recipes recently. However, when one has nearly 8 quarts of big, beautiful berries quickly approaching the point of rotting, nothing can be done except to make lots of strawberry-studded treats!

I decided to make some strawberry-banana muffins for Matthew's playdate last week. I was so excited to whip this recipe up for the kiddos, imagining them chomping down on their sweet snack with glee as I whisked together the flour and salt. I was already hearing their angelic voices singing my praises, declaring my triumphant muffins "the best snack ever" as I carefully scooped the batter into each individual muffin cup and slid the pan in the oven.

Once the muffins had cooled substantially enough so that little mouths would not be burnt, I handed each child a muffin and eagerly waited for the imminent hums of approval.

Instead, I was handed back a mangled, half-eaten muffin by one of the little girls who immediately informed me: "I don't like it...there are mushy, yucky things in there!"

She meant the strawberries. The big, beautiful, juicy strawberries that this very same child had gleefully stuffed her face with along with her peanut butter sandwich for lunch. Apparently, when baked into a sweet, buttery cake, the strawberries took on a less appealing taste and texture.

I took a bite of the rejected muffin to see if I agreed with the child's assessment.

A peek inside the Strawberry-Banana Muffin.  Notice all the "yucky stuff."

And I have determined that she's absolutely crazy.

The muffins were delicious! They are just in need of a more refined palate to truly enjoy their lightly sweetened crumb. It just goes to show, when you are planning a snack for a group of picky eaters, you might as well save yourself some time and effort and just open a box of graham crackers.

At least Mr. Matthew thoroughly enjoyed his muffin...

I made another batch of strawberry muffins later that evening that included rolled oats, a bit of balsamic vinegar and black pepper. I liked those even more! They were really not too sweet and really accentuated the natural flavors of the strawberries. Simply lovely. I froze a big batch of those to enjoy for quick breakfasts on the go during the week. I might just have to make another batch once this batch disappear. They are fantastic!

Strawberry-Banana Muffins
adapted from Sunny Anderson

1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 lemon, zested

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix together strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar. Let sit 15 minutes until strawberries give off juices.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, eggs, oil, 1 cup sugar, strawberries, and lemon zest.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in blueberries and walnuts.

Scoop batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out with a few crumbs but not wet, about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack to room temperature.

Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins

Note:  Do not be afraid of the addition of balsamic vinegar and black pepper to this recipe.  It simply serves to enhance the strawberry flavors.  You really will not get a gigantic bite of pepper in the final product.  I promise.

1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 pound strawberries
2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix the oats and plain yogurt together in a large bowl.

Rinse and core the strawberries. Roughly chop the strawberries (I cut them in quarters lengthwise and then make one or two crosswise cuts). You should have about 1 1/2 cups of chopped strawberries. Place in a small bowl. Sprinkle with white sugar and balsamic vinegar. Gently stir to coat the strawberries with the sugar and vinegar.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a 12-well muffin tin by coating with butter or lining with paper muffin cups.

Whisk together in a medium bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, finely ground black pepper, and cinnamon.

Add the eggs, melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract to the oatmeal and yogurt mixture. Stir until just incorporated.

Use a wooden spoon to gently stir the flour mixture into the oatmeal. Stir until just incorporated and the flour is moistened. Do not over-mix! Or your muffins will end up rubbery. The batter should be rather lumpy, not smooth.

Gently fold in the strawberries, including any of the sugary vinegary liquid the strawberries have been sitting in.

Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin tin wells or cups. Bake until the tops are browned and the muffin bounces back when you gently press on the top with your fingertips, about 20 minutes. A bamboo or metal skewer inserted into the center should come out clean. Let cool for a couple minutes in the muffin tin before removing to serve.

1 comment:

  1. Your story cracks me up. What is it with kids and anything new (food)? So glad you liked the muffins!