Sunday, March 6, 2011

Strawberry Muffins

In just a few short weeks we'll be in Florida.  I can't wait, I am in major need of some serious sun.  There are a few foods I associate with Florida.  Oranges, of course, although I had an unfortunate experience in the orange grove when I was a baby involving fire ants in my diaper.  Fried catfish and hush puppies.  And finally, strawberries.  There is a strawberry festival nearby every year that consists of huge amounts of strawberry shortcake and a Miss Strawberry competition, but sadly we'll be missing it this time.  
The other day at the market Florida strawberries were on sale, so in the spirit of our upcoming vacation, I impulsively scooped some up.  I know grocery store strawberries can be pretty disappointing, so I was pleasantly surprised that these were great!

Strawberry Muffins
adapted from Martha Stewart's Blueberry Muffin Recipe
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh strawberries, cut into small pieces
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin, or butter and flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with hand beaters), cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  I was so proud of myself for remembering to take the butter out of the fridge last night so it could have warmed to room temperature by this morning.  Unfortunately, our house is so cold at night that it was still a rock when I came down, so that set me back a bit.
Add in the eggs one at a time.  It's a good practice to always break eggs into a separate bowl when baking because you never know when you're going to get a bad egg, and it would be so sad to ruin your whole batter.  Mix in the vanilla.  
The mixer looks pink today, because it's reflecting my outfit.

With the mixer on low stir speed, slowly add the flour mixture until just combined. I held back about 1/2 cup to mix with the strawberries (see below).  Add in milk and mix on low speed until combined. The batter looks like this:
Tossing the cut strawberries in the remaining flour prevents the muffins from turning completely pink (not that that would be a bad thing...), and also helps avoid the fruit all sinking to the bottom of the muffin.  

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the berries into the batter.  
The easiest way to portion muffin batter is using an ice cream scoop.  Mine exploded into springs and pieces last year and I haven't bothered to replace it, so I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup.  

I ended up having extra batter, so I also filled a small ramekin to bake alongside, and called it the mega-muffin 34 times until my husband agreed to split it with me.  
Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  Cool on racks for 10 minutes.

Bake these for someone you love.  They will love you back.  


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