I love strawberries – well, strawberries that taste of something. Strawberries that taste of strawberry to be precise (who’d have thought?). I love strawberries and cream or strawberries just sprinkled with some sugar. Simple perhaps, but yummy (assuming the strawberries have flavour). However, I’ll be honest and admit that if I’m at home and faced with flavourful strawberries, they rarely make the acquaintance of a bowl and cream or sugar. I can eat an entire punnet (or two) of good strawberries straight out of a colander sitting in the sink. I know, I know. Eating over the sink. Shocking.
I feel the spring weather has been all over the place this year – ridiculously sunny in February and for a good part of April (basically whenever I had deadlines… Standard.) and then horrific November-esque rainy, windy weather the rest of the time. Apparently the strawberry plants really liked the crazy weather and the season seems to have started quite early this year. I would usually only really expect to find flavourful strawberries (grown outdoors – none of these tasteless greenhouse-grown strawberries, thank you very much) from the very end of May, but we’ve had proper strawberries for a couple of weeks now. Exciting stuff!
When I came across this recipe for white chocolate strawberry-surprise muffins in the June issue of delicious., I decided I just had to try it out. Having already eaten my first few punnets of the year at the just-washed-and-still-sitting-in-the-colander stage, I was even able to resist eating the strawberries destined for the muffins. Which was apparently more of an achievement than I’d anticipated since I had been planning on keeping the left-over strawberries aside to take photos of, but, uhm, I ended up eating them whilst impatiently waiting for the muffins to bake. Woops.
In other news, I happened across a brand new blog challenge this morning whilst faffing around before writing this post: Ren at Fabulicious Food has started a link-up/challenge entitled Simple and in Season. The premise is super simple – basically cook something that showcases seasonal ingredients. The recipe can be invented, or it can come from a magazine (as this one does) or a book. I think this is a rather genius idea, and since I try to use seasonal and locally-grown foods where possible anyway, I don’t think adding this extra challenge to the four other monthly challenges I’m involved in will really be an issue. Even though strawberries aren’t usually in season until the end of May, this year they are early, so I’m submitting this recipe to the challenge for this month (the closing date is today, so I’m only just in time).
White chocolate strawberry-surprise muffins
Makes 18 muffins
Recipe from delicious. June 2011
The original recipe was for 12 muffins, but I had lots of batter left over and was able to make 18 muffins out of it, and the cups were very full. Aside from that small detail, I didn’t have to change the recipe at all and the muffins turned out absolutely scrumptious! Like most muffins, they don’t store very well, but they’re so good that they’ll be gone in no time!
18 strawberries (preferably all of a similar size)
250g white chocolate
375g self-raising flour
1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g golden caster sugar
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs
200g natural yoghurt
2 tbsp milk
1-2 tbsp granulated sugar, to sprinkle
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C. Line two muffin tins with 18 paper liners or set out 18 silicone moulds on a baking tray. Hull the strawberries and set aside. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
2. Roughly chop the white chocolate and add to a large bowl with the flour, bicarbonate of soda, golden caster sugar and salt.
3. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, yoghurt, milk and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a metal spoon until just combined (don’t over-mix! Lumpy is fine).
4. Half-fill each muffin liner/mould with batter (there should be left-over batter) then push a strawberry into the middle (make sure you don’t push it down all the way to the bottom though) of each muffin and cover with the rest of the batter so that the strawberry is hidden.
5. Sprinkle the tops with the granulated sugar and bake for 20-25 mins until golden. Cool in the tin or moulds for 5 mins before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.