May 9, 2013

Roasted Strawberry Muffins with Lemon-Vanilla Bean Butter


I made a resolution to myself this spring that I would cook and bake with the fresh berries that are available this time of year.  I have a habit of just serving them on the side with breakfast or as a snack in the afternoon.  I don't cook and bake with them nearly enough.  One of the reasons for that is that while I love strawberries, they don't always translate well into muffins/cakes/etc. because they release so much liquid and become gummy.  Annie solved that problem by roasting the strawberries, which I've never done, before mixing them into a muffin batter.  Genius!!  That trick make flavorful, strawberry-laden muffins that weren't gummy in the least.

I made a quick lemon-vanilla bean "butter" (think apple butter but with lemon) to top the muffins and it really brought them to a whole new level.  The lemon butter is tart yet sweet and the vanilla bean flecks are so pretty.  (You can substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla bean.)  I had a hard time not eating it with a spoon.  :)

Roasted Strawberry Muffins with Lemon-Vanilla Bean Butter
Printable Version

1 lb. strawberries, rinsed, hulled and quartered
1 cup granulated sugar, plus a pinch for roasting
Buttermilk or milk, if needed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F and line a baking sheet with foil. Spread the prepared strawberries out onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Toss gently to coat and then roast, stirring the strawberries twice, until the berries have become tender and released most of their juices, 20-22 minutes.
2. Place fine mesh strainer over a bowl or liquid measuring cup and drain the roasted strawberries, reserving the excess juice. (You will have about 4 tablespoons or ¼ cup of juice.) Add just enough buttermilk to the strawberry juice to make 6 tablespoons of liquid.
3. Lower the oven temperature to 350˚ F and line muffin pans with paper liners; set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flours, baking powder and salt. Whisk to blend and set aside.
5. In a large bowl, combine the reserved strawberry juice/milk, Greek yogurt, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth and then whisk in the cooled butter.
6. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined. Gently fold in the strawberries until no large dry streaks remain.
7. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin liners. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.

Lemon-Vanilla Bean Butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
zest of ½ lemon
juice of ½ lemon
½ cup water
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 vanilla bean, split down the center

1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, and water. Once mixture begins to bubble and thicken, cook for two minutes more, stirring often.
2. Remove from the heat and add in butter and vanilla bean seeds (discard pod).

muffins barely adapted from Annie's Eats, lemon-vanilla bean butter adapted from all recipes

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