Friday, June 26, 2009

June's Sweet Bounty: Strawberry Muffins

I have one particular go-to muffin recipe that I discovered about a year ago and have subsequently enjoyed through all months of the year. They're blueberry muffins, calling for frozen blueberries, which are available at the store whenever the mood to purchase them strikes my fancy. Because I don't bake muffins very often, I've never been inspired to find a recipe that takes advantage of fresh seasonal produce. Then, I recently found this recipe for strawberry muffins. The ingredient list specifies fresh strawberries are needed, and given how glorious these Pacific Northwest berries have been tasting the past couple of weeks, it was impossible not to make these immediately.

It turns out that I was right to do so. These muffins, found in the magazine Body and Soul are a divine breakfast wake-up call. Not laden with a host of various flavors and textures, the berries have the opportunity to be center stage; and as with any dish, when the key player is fresh, local, and of high quality, then there is no possibility for failure (or great failure, anyway). The buttermilk adds a down-home quality to the muffins without making them heavy, and the whole wheat flour makes them slightly more fiber-filled. And they are a light and sweet morning treat with a vibrant strawberry essence.

Although I know I will pull out the recipe book for my blueberry muffins come autumn, while the season allows, I believe I've found a new go-to muffin recipe.

Strawberry Muffins
Yield: 1 dozen

1 ½ cups sliced strawberries
1/3 cup plus 1tbsp. sugar
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Toss together strawberries and 1/3 cup sugar. Using a potato masher, lightly mash berries; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk mixture and berry mixture (with juice). Fold until just combined. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with remaining sugar.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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