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.
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
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
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.
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!