I’m slowly but surely gearing myself up for a little recipe invention of my own, but until I find the nerve, I’ve been doing a bit of recipe tweaking to get myself in the experimental spirit. Everyone in my family was such a fan of Jordan Marsh’s blueberry muffins that I made a few weeks ago, and I’ve been thinking about taking a spin on them ever since. Now I probably should base my recipe alterations on taste first, but I can readily admit that this new version was based on pure color inspiration. While eating our second round of the blueberry muffins, Jared and I started talking about how pretty a splash of strawberries would be in the same basic batter. Perfectly red and perfectly sliced. Strawberries are a pretty little fruit, don’t you think? Yep, they’re practically perfect in every way, as Ms. Poppins would say.
I’m trying to teach myself to do a few tiny changes at a time rather than a sweeping overhaul of an entire recipe so I can keep better track of which switches work and which ones don’t. So aside from swapping blueberries for strawberries and adding a splash of vanilla (vanilla and strawberries are soooo good together), I kept the rest of the recipe as it was. And the verdict? For a tweaking that started as pure aesthetic inspiration, I’d say the taste factor caught up quite nicely. The slightly tart, slightly sweet nature of the strawberries works very similarly to the blueberry version, and the touch of vanilla warms it up just enough to keep things interesting. The only trouble I came across was that the strawberries hold a lot more liquid than the blueberries, which makes for a slightly heavier and wetter muffin in certain spots. Here’s hoping that can be remedied in the second go-around. Taste-wise, however, they are spot on. Woot!
Adapted from Jordan Marsh’s Blueberry Muffins, The Essential New York Times Cookbook (Amanda Hesser, p. 635)
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
• 1 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 large eggs
• ¾ teaspoon vanilla
• ½ cup milk (the original recipes calls for whole; I use skim)
• 2 cups strawberries, rinsed and cut in ¼-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups (or line with paper cups). Sift together flour, salt and baking powder, and set aside.
Cream butter and 1 ¼ cups sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one, then add vanilla. Add to the flour mixture, alternating with the milk and beating just until smooth.
Crush ½ cup of the strawberries with a fork, and mix into the batter. Fold in the remaining strawberries.
Fill muffin cups with the batter, and sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar over the tops of the muffins. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes before removing from the pan.
Have you done any recipe experimenting lately? Any suggestions for how to avoid my too-much-liquid-from-the-strawberries problem? And in totally unrelated news, is anyone else so, so excited for the royal wedding tomorrow morning? Eep!