Strawberry Muffins

I have elite and discerning tastes.

(I mean, couldn’t you tell from my Disney Junior recipe.)

So maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, right now, with three littles running around.  I’ve learned that to be able to actually make something, I need to get their buy-in.  So that they: 1. Let me have the time to make it – and 2. Actually eat it after the fact.

The easiest way to do this is to let them pick the recipe.

That’s what happened this week.  I let my middle (chef-baker-wannabe) pick out anything he wanted for us to make.  He went to his trusty kids cookbook and picked one right out.

Let’s just say that today’s recipe is brought to you by the Letter S.

(Oh, how times have changed.)

The Recipe:

Strawberry Muffinsadapted from Abby Cadabby’s Disappearing Strawberry Muffins

1 1/2 c flour

1/3 c sugar

1/4 c cornmeal

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1 c low-fat strawberry yogurt

1/3 c oil

1 large egg

2 c chopped strawberries (lightly sprinkle with flour)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line muffin tins with cups or lightly grease.  

Whisk together all dry ingredients and set aside.  Stir together yogurt and oil until incorporated.  Add egg and mix until well-blended.  Stir in dry ingredients until just mixed and then fold in strawberries.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 way full and bake for 20-25 minutes (until toothpick in center comes out clean).  Let cool on rack.

Makes 12 or so muffins.

The Results

Let’s just start with the beginning – a short trip to the grocery store to pick up some whole wheat flour.  (‘What?’ you’re saying – ‘I don’t see whole wheat flour in the recipe.’)  Well, of course you don’t… let’s just say our trip did not go exactly as planned (add car troubles, crying babies, and wrestling boys) and I ended up bringing home bread flour.  Really?!  The main thing I needed to pick up, and I did it wrong.  Sounds just about right around here.  So, as you can see, I just used regular flour instead because I was NOT going back.

Anyhow, other than that snafu, the recipe was super simple, and my four year old did pretty much all the work.  He was especially excited that I let him cut off the strawberry stems – it’s the little things for him.  🙂

And the muffins turned out pretty darn good.  The yogurt made them super moist inside and I loved the bits of fresh strawberries throughout.  And all three kids ate them right up, so I say a definite success!

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Blackberry Mini-Crisps

When I left off posting in the beginning of August, not only did I have writer’s block, but I just plain frustrated.

Tear out my hair a little, frustrated.

The problem was that all my ‘healthy’ desserts tasted ‘healthy.’

(Or maybe it was because we’d been eating so many dessert treats over the last year that I was having sugar withdrawals.)

(I know, not a really horrible problem in the whole scope of things, but it was driving me crazy.)

Anyways, I was tired of having an expectation of a particular taste… and then being disappointed.  So I took a break (completely) from baking.  Hubs and I continued our daily exercise, ate less, and got really amazing results – which is always motivating to keep on track.

And I finally felt like I was ready to try baking – either in moderation or with healthier intentions.

I had remembered this post from Kristy’s blog, Eat, Play, Love, and thought it might be pretty darn amazing with some blackberries instead.  The best part – it was dessert in moderation with some healthier ingredients!

The Recipe:

Blackberry Mini-Crisps, adapted from Eat, Play, Love

2 1/2 c blackberries

1/4 c honey

zest of 1/2 lemon

1/2 c whole grain oats

1/2 c whole wheat flour

2 T wheat germ

1/2 c brown sugar

1/4 t baking powder

1/4 T cinnamon

1/4 c butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 4 to 6 ramekins with cooking spray.  Combine honey, blackberries, and lemon zest.  Stir to barely break apart blackberries.   Evenly spoon the mix into the ramekins.

In another bowl, combine the rest of the dry ingredients.  Using a pastry blender cut in the butter.  Sprinkle evenly over the blackberries in the ramekins.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

We were blown away.

Seriously.

This did not taste one bit ‘healthy’ and one serving was a perfect amount to hit that sweet craving.

The blackberries were sweet and tart and just bursting with juicy goodness.  And the topping was crispy, slightly carmelized, and the perfect counterpoint to the berries.

This is my only picture… what can I say, I got lazy with my picture-taking, too – just wanted to get to the eating, apparently. 🙂

We’ve made various versions of this since then (with peaches, apples, etc.), and they’ve all been big hits.  I can’t recommend this recipe enough – it’s definitely become a favorite around here.

So try it.  I promise you will not regret it!

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday.

Strawberries and Cream Muffins

It’s secret shame time, again, here at Misadventures in Cooking…

This post has been brought to you by my unhealthy penchant for boxed Jiffy Muffins.

(There’s just something about them – add egg and oil, mix, bake, and voila: preservative-filled but moist and delicious muffins.  Sometimes, I just can’t help myself.)

Anyways, this weekend, I decided that I needed to help myself…and making some delicious strawberry muffins from scratch would do the trick – I hoped – and break my bad-boxed-muffin-habit.

The Recipe:

Strawberries and Cream Muffins, adapted slightly from Jane’s Sweets and Baking Journal

4 oz full-fat cream cheese, very soft

1 1/2 T of liquid from one whole egg, beaten lightly

1/3 c sugar

1/4 t vanilla extract

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1 c whole milk (or, you can use something like 2/3 c 2% milk, and 1/3 c half-and-half mixed together)

1/2 c butter

1 1/2 t vanilla extract

2 large eggs

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2 c flour

3/4 c sugar

2 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1 c fresh ripe strawberries chopped into very small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put paper liners in the cups of your muffin pan, or use nonstick baking spray liberally.

In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 1/3 c sugar, 1 1/2 T beaten egg liquid, and 1/4 t vanilla extract.  Mix until almost all the lumps are gone. Set this aside, but don’t chill it.

Melt the butter slowly in a sauce pan on low heat.  Once melted, add the vanilla extract and milk into it, stirring to combine.  Cool until the mixture is just warm (if the milk didn’t cool it), then whisk in the eggs.

Thoroughly combine with a whisk, in a large mixing bowl, the rest of the dry ingredients (except berries).  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Pour all of the butter and milk mixture into the dry ingredients, blending just until combined.  Don’t overmix.  It’s okay if a few little flour streaks are still evident.

Using a scoop, fill each muffin cup barely half full.  Scatter a few pieces of strawberry on top of each one.  Using a small spoon, dab a generous teaspoonful or so of the cream cheese mixture on top of the berries.   On top of that, add on another tablespoon or two of the muffin batter.  On top of that, add a few more pieces of strawberry.  Push them in just slightly.  Sprinkle the tops of the unbaked muffins very generously with coarse sugar, which lends a nice sparkle, and adds a little crunch.

Bake the muffins for about 15 to 18 minutes, until they’re light golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.  The middle of the cupcake should be kind of firm when lightly pressed with a finger.  Check on the muffins early, and if they’re browning too fast, lightly cover the pan with a sheet of foil.

Let the muffins cool in the pan, on a rack, for a couple of minutes, then carefully remove them from the pan to cool on the rack.

Makes about 12 to 14 muffins.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

Now, don’t be intimidated that there are a lot of steps (I almost let that stop me from attempting these).  I’m pretty sure they’re all there for a reason – some super cool baking science reason that I don’t know.  But just know, it all works out in the end.

The star of each muffin is, of course, the strawberries.  I found some gorgeous ripe ones at our local TJ’s that I just couldn’t resist.   (I may have eaten one or two or seven while baking.)

It was actually quite fun layering up the muffin liners – though I think I may have gone a little overboard on a couple.

As they baked, the scent of strawberry wafted throughout the house making us all smile.  It also built up the anticipation.

I ended up having to bake them almost 10 minutes more than suggested, but I just think my oven’s finicky like that.  They came out looking all gorgeous and golden.

And the flavor was absolutely delicious.  The muffins are a balanced mix of sweet strawberries, tangy cream cheese, and moist bread-y muffin – though the strawberry flavor is the definite winner.

So, my conclusion… I can definitely make muffins that blow the Jiffy ones away…they might just take a little longer.

But they are so worth it!