I bought my first strawberries of the season last weekend. A little premature, given that it was actually snowing again in Boston today. Another sign that I was a bit ahead of myself was that I hadn’t devoured them within the first day, so, after a few days, they started to look a little dull and limp. To avoid wasting them completely, I turned them into a healthy breakfast: strawberry muffins made with whole wheat flour… except a few years ago, I bought a mini loaf pan that is now my stand-by for muffin tins. It makes fewer finished goods, but it also turns out a nice breakfast portion, including whole grains and fruit. So, here’s my take on strawberry muffins, turned into miniature loaves.
To prevent these from going to waste, I sliced them and added them to a quick & simple muffin batter.
David’s first thought after eating one of the loaves I’d packaged for his breakfast at work was they weren’t sweet enough… but then thought, no, everyday muffins from Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts are too sweet. Which is basically the point — it’s a great idea to have fruit and whole grains for breakfast, just don’t load them up with sugar. Seriously, a blueberry muffin at Dunkin’s has 500 calories and 48 g. sugar! Martha’s recipe asked that I simply toss the sliced strawberries in 1/3 cup of sugar; absolutely zero sugar is incorporated into the batter itself. It was a great suggestion, so I kept it. I did up the proportion of whole wheat flour and swapped the buttermilk for skim milk and yogurt.
As the days wore on, these mini loaves did lose their soft, moist character, and I can’t help but wonder if buttermilk would have helped prevent this. But then, what baked good ever tastes as good on day 3 or 4 as it did on day one? And, their cute little shapes kept both David and me smiling on our way to work.
Whole Wheat Strawberry Muffins
(adapted from Martha Stewart)
1 ½ cup sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup yogurt
¼ cup skim milk
¼ cup olive oil
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1) Wash and slice strawberries. Allow them to drain. Toss the strawberries with the sugar. Smash the strawberries to release some of their juices and to break up into smaller pieces. Set aside.
2) Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a mini-loaf pan with or insert liners into a muffin pan. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
3) Whisk the yogurt, milk, olive oil, vanilla, and egg until well blended.
4) Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture and the strawberries to the flour. Mix gently to combine. Using a spoon, scoop batter into the loaf pan until about ½ or 2/3 full. Allow some space for the muffins or loaves to rise.
5) Bake the loaves until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaves comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes. Watch them closely and take out when they’re browned and pass the toothpick test – avoid drying them out by over baking.
6) Transfer the loaves to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool.