Strawberries and Cream Muffins

Posted by on May 21, 2010 in Blog, Bread, Breakfast, Desserts & Treats | 10 comments

 

You might be wondering what this has to do with muffins, but I’ve been wearing my last pair of disposable contact lenses for TWO months.  That’s pretty disgusting considering I should have disposed of them over a month ago (no wonder my vision was impaired), but due to a host of scheduling issues, weekend family commitments and a shortage of childcare I never made it to the optometrist’s office.

As it happens, bebe dada’s contact lens prescription just expired so he made an appointment for both of us to see our good friend, Dr. Eyes, together.  That way we could take turns watching bebe E and get our much-needed eye exams.  Perfecto!

Dr. Eyes was so kind and extremely helpful that we wanted to do something nice in return to say, ‘thank you’, and I knew the perfect treat with which to do so.  I came across a recipe for strawberries and cream muffins and they looked so adorable.  These would be the perfect thank you gift, and it would give me another opportunity to try baking with fresh strawberries. :)

Ever since I made strawberry shortcake cookies, which was the first time I ever baked with fresh strawberries, I thought to myself, “I have GOT to bake with fresh strawberries more often!”  Until recently, my experience with fresh strawberries as an ingredient has been limited.  My mom used to put sliced strawberries in our dinner salad when I was a child, but I never grew to like this because I’m not a fan of fruit in lettuce leaf salads, with the exception of pears and sliced grapes.  (Is that high-maintenance?  I’m afraid bebe dada would say, “yes”.)

My other experiences using fresh strawberries as an ingredient has been limited to fruit salad, “fast-food” strawberry shortcakes made with store-bought pound cake (you know the individual-size, round, greasy-looking ones) and berry glaze out of the jar (sad, I know), chocolate dipped strawberries, and my Jichan’s (grandpa) strawberry treat.

My Jichan’s strawberry treat is very simple, yet so wonderful to me.  Strawberries and milk is what I call it, and it’s another one of my favorite childhood desserts.  I’ve always loved strawberries, ever since I was little, but what I loved even more is that my Jichan grew these in his backyard in South Pasadena.  My fondest memory of his strawberries is that he used to make this simple, yet very special dessert for me.  We would pick a few strawberries, then he would slice these, pour milk over them, sprinkle a little sugar and voila!  Jichan’s strawberry treat.  Every once in a while I’ll still make this nostalgic dessert for myself.  :)

In a way, I feel as though my use of fresh strawberries as an ingredient is maturing, just like me!?!  They are no longer merely eaten as is, in fruit salad, dipped in chocolate or with milk and sugar.  Now, fresh strawberries are showcased in cookies and muffins!  Just lovely!

Strawberries and Cream Muffins

(makes 12)

for filling:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

for muffin:

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, diced
  • Sanding sugar

1)  Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line muffin tins with paper baking cups.  Dice fresh strawberries.

2)  In a large bowl, whisk flour, white sugar, baking powder and salt.

3)  In a small pan, melt butter on low heat and add vanilla and almond extracts.  Turn off heat and immediately add milk.  In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork.  When the butter mixture is cool enough not to scramble the eggs, that’s when you add the eggs and gently mix using a whisk.

4)  Pour the butter and egg mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and gently mix using a spatula.  I didn’t use my KitchenAid mixer for this because the original recipe mentioned that over-mixing would create dense, flat muffins.  (While my muffins were not flat, I thought they were a bit too dense for my palate since I prefer lighter, airy muffins.  If anyone has any suggestions on how to make this recipe lighter and fluffier, please do leave me a comment.)

5)  For the filling, in a separate bowl, mix room temperature cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract with a spoon.  Beat one egg and gently spoon the egg into your measuring spoon.  It’s difficult to scoop the egg out using just the measuring tablespoon.  Your egg will likely run away.  Mix until the ingredients are incorporated.  There will be some cream cheese lumps which adds texture to the muffins, but if you prefer lump-free cream cheese, I recommend using a mixer.  I thought about using the mixer and I should have… I didn’t appreciate the clumps in the muffin.

NOTE: I used Neufchatel Cheese which is a fancy American marketing term for low-fat cream cheese.  It’s not really Neufchatel cheese, as I mentioned in a previous post.



6)  Pour muffin mixture into paper baking cups, about 1/3 full.  Sprinkle with diced strawberries and scoop a generous spoonful of the cream cheese mixture over the strawberries.

7)  Next, pour additional muffin mix over the cream cheese mixture up to the rim of the baking cups.  Then sprinkle additional diced strawberries and finally, generously sprinkle sanding sugar.

For those who read my post on strawberry shortcake cookies, the recipe called for sanding sugar but I didn’t have any.  When I saw that the original recipe for these muffins called for sprinkling white sugar over the tops, I thought it would be even better with sanding sugar!  :)  So of course I ran out to Michael’s to buy some sanding sugar.  They had different colors and I was debating between white and pink.  I figured white would be more versatile, but now I regret buying the pink (my fave color).  The pink sanding sugar would have looked really cute with the little red strawberries, but the muffins do look very pretty even with the clear, large decorative sugar sprinkles on top.

8)  Bake at 400 F for 15 – 20 minutes until muffin tops are golden.  I inserted a toothpick to make sure the muffin was well-done.  You’ll find some cream cheese and strawberry moisture on the toothpick as expected but as long as the muffin mix is crumbly it should be well-done.

I let the muffins cool on a rack and then packed them in little gift bags with pink tissue to give to Dr. Eyes as a way for us to say, “thank you!”

Arigato, Dr. Eyes!

Judy | bebe mama

Recipe courtesy of Cooking For My Peace of Mind

 

Strawberries and Cream Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • FOR FILLING:
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1½ tablespoons of egg
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • FOR MUFFIN:
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, diced
  • Sanding sugar
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper baking cups.
  2. Dice fresh strawberries.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk flour, white sugar, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a small pan, melt butter on low heat and add vanilla and almond extracts. Turn off heat and immediately add milk. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork. When the butter mixture is cool enough not to scramble the eggs, that's when you add the eggs and gently mix using a whisk.
  5. Pour the butter and egg mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and gently mix using a spatula. I didn't use my KitchenAid mixer for this because the original recipe mentioned that over-mixing would create dense, flat muffins.
  6. For the filling: In a separate bowl, mix room temperature cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract with a spoon. Beat one egg and gently spoon the egg into your measuring spoon. It's difficult to scoop the egg out using just the measuring tablespoon. Your egg will likely run away. Mix until the ingredients are incorporated. There will be some cream cheese lumps which adds texture to the muffins, but if you prefer lump-free cream cheese, I recommend using a mixer.
  7. Pour muffin mixture into paper baking cups, about ⅓ full. Sprinkle with diced strawberries and scoop a generous spoonful of the cream cheese mixture over the strawberries.
  8. Next, pour additional muffin mix over the cream cheese mixture up to the rim of the baking cups. Then sprinkle additional diced strawberries and finally, generously sprinkle sanding sugar.
  9. Bake at 400 F for 15 - 20 minutes until muffin tops are golden. I inserted a toothpick to make sure the muffin was well-done. You'll find some cream cheese and strawberry moisture on the toothpick as expected but as long as the muffin mix is crumbly it should be done.
Notes
Recipe courtesy of Cooking for My Peace of Mind.

10 Comments

  1. avatar

    Thanks for the shout out! :) These little muffins are just to good not to taste and share. You have a lovely blog. It seems our tastes in food are very similar.

    • avatar

      Hi Danielle, You’re very welcome. We all enjoyed the muffins and I’m looking forward to trying more of your baked goodies. :) That’s funny because I noticed your enchiladas this morning when I went back to double check the instructions. I would have never thought to make my own sauce though! ;) My enchiladas are quick n’ dirty, not gourmet like yours. I’ll have to try yours one of these days. They looked delicious! You have a wonderful blog as well! Cheers, Judy

  2. avatar

    Mmm I love strawberry muffins. Yours look yummy.

  3. avatar

    Oh strawberries, I love them raw, cooked, in tarts, just in any way. Those muffins look really delicious and unctuous, great recipe!

  4. avatar

    Your strawberry muffins look so good, I will have to try them, thanks for sharing!

  5. avatar

    Perfect gift! And glad you got those lenses changed!

  6. avatar

    LOVE! Absolutely cute and beautiful cupcakes.

  7. avatar

    mmmm, looks so yummy, great recipe.

  8. avatar

    What a great treat and gift, how kind of you to do that. They look and sound so good.

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