Are you still awake? Oh, good. I know it's late, but since tomorrow is Monday, I really, really think you need to stay up just a little longer to ensure a happy start to your week.
Honestly, it's been such a wet and gloomy weekend here, and tomorrow looks like more of the same. The good news? School's out for summer! (Sing along if you like!) The bad news? The wet weather ushers in the end of strawberry season.
We eagerly await the first strawberry of the season. After all, what announces spring more than a scrumptious, juice-dripping, warm-from-the-sun strawberry? Then, in a blink of an eye—and maybe because we're all so wrapped up with end of school year programs, finals, awards days, playoff games, camp registration, and the assorted noise of every day—the strawberry sign pointing to the farm vanishes.
In a panic, I drove by, only to see “Sold Out” handwritten on a paper taped to the farm stand door. The strawberries in our garden are dwindling, so it shouldn't come as a great surprise that the farm by us would be done, too. But, with the craziness in getting ready for the farm tour, I completely forgot to freeze strawberries to get us through to next spring.
So, like any good locavore, I sent out an emergency plea to my Facebook friends to find out if strawberries could be found.
Thank goodness for social media, because within moments, I had the names of three farms still selling berries. Within two hours, I returned with two gallons of strawberries in my possession.
Whew. Disaster averted.
Here's the thing: you need to make these muffins immediately, while you can get your hands on fresh strawberries. Although you can use frozen berries, it's just not the same celebratory spring muffin. I'm sure it's good, but the best part of baking strawberry muffins is savoring one fresh-from-the-garden, delicious strawberry that emits the sweet scent of spring while you chop the other berries to add to the mix. The aroma alone will make your mouth water.
I made these muffins for the CFSA Upstate Farm Tour, and they seemed to be a hit. In the next batch, though, I experimented with adding a streusel topping—and I liked it even better. (I should have taken a photo with streusel. Sorry.)
(Makes 18 muffins)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1-1/4 cups milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2-1/2 cups diced fresh strawberries
1-1/2 cups sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper liners or grease muffin pan.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl, mixing thoroughly. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and melted butter. Add the liquid ingredients slowly into the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. (There will be some lumps in the batter.) Add the strawberries and sugar to the batter, stirring gently to combine.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups to fill the liners ¾ full. Sprinkle streusel topping (see below) on top of the muffins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean and the muffins are lightly browned.
1-1/3 cups sugar
1-1/3 cups flour
1-3/4 tablespoons water
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
Mix all ingredients until crumbly.
Now, with a warm strawberry muffin in your tummy, the challenge of Monday seems less daunting, doesn't it?
Hope you have a lovely week!