Strawberry Muffins

For the past few weeks I’ve been on a huge muffin kick. They make a great grab and go breakfast (even if the Chocolate Chip version isn’t so healthy), an even better second breakfast, and a pretty nice snack, too!

Since April is the kick off for strawberry season in California, I decided to try my hand at creating a strawberry muffin. We were absolutely thrilled with the results, light and fluffy with a nice strawberry punch. I liked mine with just a little butter (well truthfully, the Land O’Lakes spreadable butter with canola oil) and Jesse liked his plain (though of course he said they’d be just that much better with icing, haha).

*Side note – When I took this picture I totally felt like I was in one of those commercials with just the hands spreading butter/margarine on toast/a muffin and voice overs talking about great said butter/margarine is. 🙂

Looking for more strawberry recipes?

Strawberry Sorbet
Strawberry Brownie Tarts
Strawberry Lime Cupcakes
Strawberry Vanilla Scones

Strawberry Sorbet

As much as I love rich and decadent chocolate desserts, I think it’s also important to balance your menu. So if you have really heavy dinner, you’re probably better off going with a lighter, more refreshing, dessert. Today I’m taking that  lighter approach to Valentine’s day.

Sorbet is cold and refreshing and a nice lower-fat alternative to ice cream. But don’t confuse this sorbet with that neon rainbowy stuff from your childhood. This sorbet is PACKED with a sweet powerful strawberry punch and naturally has the most beautiful reddish-magenta color. It would really be the perfect finish to a heavy Valentine’s dinner.

 

Individual Strawberry Brownie Tarts

As I promised on Facebook last week, this week is going to be full of Valentine’s worthy treats. Lots of pinks and reds. And of course some chocolate too!

These Individual Strawberry Brownie Tarts are the perfect dessert for impressing your Valentine. A rich and chocolatey brownie topped with a delicious (and simple!) cream cheese frosting, juicy strawberries, and drizzled with chocolate syrup. Decadent and impressive, but surprisingly easy! For the brownie I stuck with a simple one-bowl recipe. While the brownies were baking I cleaned out the bowl and used it for the simple frosting. If you realllly wanted you could make them just a few steps easier by using boxed brownie mix and store bought frosting, but you might find that the (very few) extra steps for the homemade version are worth it. And you can definitely use store bought chocolate syrup (like Hershey’s).

As for the “individual” part of this dessert – I used a this heart shaped mini-cake pan from Wilton. You could also use ramekins or even a regular muffin tin (making 12 instead of 6, so they aren’t too thick). Or if you don’t feel like messing with individual dessert you could also use a pie pan, tart pan, or spring-form pan.  No matter which option you choose, I’m sure your Valentine will be impressed!!

 


Strawberry Lime Cupcakes

I’ve already posted 2 awesome snacks from our Bayday (Soft Pretzel Bites and Veggie Pizza Appetizer) but we certainly couldn’t survive the hours at the beach on salty, savory, treats alone. Nope. We needed something sweet. Usually when I think about a sweet dessert to share with a group my mind jumps straight to chocolate. And don’t be fooled, last minute I did whip up some brownie bites, but for the main attraction I had a vision of a light and summery cupcake. From there I decided on Strawberry Lime Cupcakes.

The recipe I used for the cupcake caught my eye right away (well, pretty much anything that uses cream cheese does that). You might be skeptical, but I used cream cheese in a coffee cake once and the result was a moist and tender crumb, I figured that would be perfect for my cupcake base. I made a few changes to really up the strawberry flavor and sub lime for lemons and I think that was a good decision.

Strawberry Lime Cupcakes

(Cupcake adapted from Cooking Agents; Frosting Sunny Side Up Original)

Cupcake

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp lime zest
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/3 cup strawberry puree* **
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

*I used a pint of strawberries which made about 1 cup of puree. I processed the strawberries in my food processor and then pressed through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds. This process really helped to concentrate the strawberry flavor (more so, I think, than fine chopping alone)

** The original recipe called for 1/4 cup of vegetable oil instead of strawberry puree. I accidentally poured a little too much (1/3 cup) which is why my measurement reads 1/3 instead of 1/4. If you live in a really humid environment maybe cut it back to 1/4.

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a measuring cup combine the strawberry puree, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla, set aside.

In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle, beat the cream cheese and butter with sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the liquid ingredients in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture. Careful not to over mix.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

Strawberry Lime Frosting

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup strawberry puree
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
1/4 tsp salt

Directions

Beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until smooth, adding more powdered sugar to achieve desired consistency. (Just be careful not to cover your kitchen in powdered sugar, which has never happened to me)

Garnish cupcakes with chopped strawberries and lime zest.