Strawberry muffins are a favourite of mine and also an absolute favourite of my household. With its fragrant vanilla and zesty strawberry combination, it appeals to any palate in various levels I guess – to the sweet loving with its dense, desserty kind of texture and to the not-so-sweet loving, with the illusion created by the strawberries of tartness cutting through its sweetness. I can’t count the times I’ve made these really. I start baking these by around 3 pm and on a sunny, breezy afternoon, the vanilla smell of these muffins baking mixed with the fruity aroma of the strawberries is carried through the wind coming in through the front door, leaving by the back, leaving a lingering perfume behind. Such bliss :)
This time, I made a slight variation to the recipe and added a gooey chocolate centre! The chocolate one doesn’t have any yogurt in it though as the yogurt will only complicate the flavours. So technically, even though this is one post, it is two recipes really. And two VERY different tasting ones.
It’s amazing how much difference you could make by adding or removing just one ingredient.
- Prep Time :60 minutes
- Cook Time :45 minutes
- Yield : 20
- Sift together the flour and the baking powder. Keep aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Add to this the eggs one by one. Beat until thick and frothy.
- Gradually add the flour. Mix until well combined.
- Combine the strawberries until folded all the way through.
- Melt together all the ingredients preferably over a large pot of boiling water. (but I just melt it overran open fire. Really, I can’t be bother with bain marrie. )
- Leave to cool to a little over room temperature.
- Grease a muffin pan. Place cupcake holders in them and grease them too.
- Put muffin mixture halfway in the paper muffin cup. Make a small dent with your finger in the dough. With a spoon, carefully put a dollop of your chocolate centres in. Top it with more muffin dough.
- Bake at a moderate heat until the top takes on a golden brown and a toothpick inserted to a muffin in the far corner of the muffin tin comes out clean.
- To make the plain strawberry muffins, add 100g sweetened yogurt to the mixture. Omit the chocolate centres.
You may get a shock at first. Chocolate has overflowed and there are red splotches of strawberry everywhere. To remove the muffin cups, simply slide a knife around them and it should slide right out. The muffins may feel a bit wobbly towards the bottom part at first, but do not panic because this is just the liquid in the strawberries settling. Once cooled, they should be alright.
At the first bite, the mouth encounters vanilla softness, dotted with the tart moistness of strawberry – ah heaven! And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, suddenly you encounter the gooey centre of chocolate! While the various levels of softness compete with one another for affection, what ensues is a battle of flavours. The equilibrium of vanilla is pierced with the tartness of strawberry while the chocolate joins them both at once like a wave seeping its way into a cavern, eventually joining hands with the strawberry to create that divine and classic combination that we all know and love. The nose is satiated with the warmth of vanilla while the tongue revels in the richness of chocolate, the tartness of the strawberry and the seductive amalgamation of the two, taunting not only the mind but also the body. Exquisitely rich. Deeply satisfying.
We usually have these on Sundays when the whole family is together, seated in the garden, enveloped by the honeyed rays of the setting sun, bougainvillea blooming in the background, the deep green foliage breathing with the chirping of the sparrows who had come for their evening bath. Conversations in between munching, sipping and slurping of tea, occasionally interrupted by the nuzzling of the doggy boy first begging and then bullying to have a bite and then for his usual bowl of sweetened milk tea. We usually wait there till the sun goes down, eventually to retreat indoors from battalions of mosquitoes who’ve developed a taste for our blood. Monday looms in the horizon, but after a well spent Sunday afternoon like that, you don’t really feel the impending doom and the gloom.
Try it for this Sunday afternoon and make a meal of it. It’s so easy for such a wonderful treat!
- Good chocolate, fresh strawberries. That is all.
- You can use white sugar too and it will produce cleaner, whiter flavours. I use brown sugar because it is healthier.
- Special note on butter – Sri Lankan salted butter is not very salty and hence has the perfect saltiness for cakes, cookies and etc. But anywhere else, do use the unsalted version, adding in a pinch of salt as per taste.