It’s mid-June and that means strawberry season! It’s hard not to get excited for local strawberries; they taste so much better than the ones you can find at the grocery store shipped in from California. I almost think the two should have completely different names. I’m not one to bend over in the sun and pick my own strawberries but I do buy lots from market when they show up. Last week we picked up our first strawberries of the season and after using the first quart to make the strawberry cake I posted about last year, I baked up my favorite muffin recipe and added the second quart of these sweet berries.
We all know my love for all things cake and I’d venture to say that muffins come close. Let’s face it, muffins are basically cupcakes without icing and are widely accepted as a suitable breakfast food. (Some may frown upon cupcakes for breakfast, you won’t find any of those people in my house though!) I will also say that a muffin with crumb topping is just about the best kind of muffin there is. And so, when I found this recipe on Pinterest, claiming to be the “best muffins ever” and saw that they include crumb topping, I was in.
I actually made the recipe with just blueberries the first time, back in the Winter and loved it. When I picked up a pint of local blueberries along with a quart of strawberries, the blueberry-strawberry muffin was born. The recipe is simple but the best part, besides the crumb topping, is that you make a berry compote with half of the berries and some sugar and then mix both fresh berries and the compote into the batter. The compote really brings out the deeper flavors of the berries and adds so much more to the batter than just plain berries do. It also needs to be said that as I’ve demonstrated, you can make any kind of muffins you want to with this recipe, just change out the fruit. I’m thinking maybe a peach-raspberry muffin will need to be made come August.
Start the recipe by making the fruit compote on the stove and then set it aside to cook. Pouring it into a cold bowl helps to speed the cooling process along. Simply put the fruit along with a tablespoon of sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Use a potato masher or a fork to break down the berries and release their juices. Simmer until the mixture is chunky and reduced by half, then set aside.
Mix up the dry ingredients in a large bowl and then mix up the wet ingredients in a separate smaller bowl. Mix the two together until just combined. Add the fresh berries to the batter.
The recipe says to place the batter in the cupcake pans and then follow behind with a scoop of the compote. I’d say that’s probably the way to go for the best results however I’m very lazy and hungry in the morning and decided to add the whole compote to the large bowl of batter and gently swirl the compote through to achieve a similar result. Do whichever method you prefer! Here’s my big bowl of swirled batter and compote.
Fill the cupcake pans and then mix up your crumb topping. Simply mix all the ingredients together paying close attention to the ratio of butter and flour. You may need to add more of one or the other to achieve a nice crumbly consistency.
I usually end up having to add more flour because the topping is clumpy and wet, like wet sand, instead of dry and crumbly like it should be. Top each muffin with about a tablespoon of crumb topping.
Bake those babies and you’ll get some muffins that look like this!
I loved having strawberries in muffins, I feel like strawberries are not used enough in the muffin world.
How is everyone doing as Summer is finally here? Our house is getting into a groove now that we are 3 instead of 2. I’m psyched about getting more sleep and night and have discovered the lovely sanctity of the morning and afternoon nap. I love that I can finally have a few hours at home to bake or clean or do whatever needs done. My house is finally starting to feel like I’m managing it again instead of it managing me. What are you guys up to? Any new moms out there in the trenches with me? I’d love to hear from you!
Here’s the muffin recipe from A Cook’s Quest blog:
- Streusel Topping
- 3 T white sugar
- 3 T brown sugar
- ⅓ cup flour
- 5 T melted butter
- 2 cups (or less if you are me!) fresh blueberries, picked over
- 1⅛ cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. If your oven cooks on the hot side normally, reduce the heat. Some people have commented that 425 was too hot. I would recommend getting a thermometer for your oven if you aren’t sure.
- Prepare standard muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or liners. Bring 1 cup blueberries, water, and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing the berries with your potato masher or fork several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced by about half. This will take about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and well combined. Slowly mix in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not over mix.)
- Using a cookie scoop or large spoon, divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar or streusel evenly over muffins.
- Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.