Smashing Strawberry Muffins

Disclaimer: These are not super sweet muffins. I have been eating healthier muffins for the last two years so I forget that sometimes. I just wanted to warn you. However, if you are looking for something high in fiber, low in calories and super easy for breakfast this could be the right thing. (They still have a sweetness to them and if you wanted to add more sugar you could. Or better yet, add some Splenda or Truvia for some calorie-free sweetness)

I have been making whole wheat muffins for years using recipes from Eating Well. I love them because I make a batch and then freeze them. Each morning it takes only 30-45 seconds in the microwave and I have a hot breakfast! They are each only about 200 calories and full of fiber so I stay pretty full.

This morning I didn’t really have the ingredients for any of my recipes. So I experimented with what I had. The two main ingredients I wanted to work with were frozen strawberries (no sugar added) and unprocessed wheat bran.

I didn’t want to wait for the strawberries to thaw, and since I planned on mashing some with a fork, I thought it would be OK to defrost them in the microwave. Again, it was an experiment so I just thought I would go with it. In the meantime I mixed the other ingredients from what I remembered of other recipes. The proportions always seem to be slightly different with each recipe, so I figure the most important thing was to get the ingredients right and worry about the amounts I used later. If you want to play around with proportions it will not hurt my feelings in the slightest. I mixed the wet ingredients in one bowl; two eggs, 3/4 cups sugar and 1/4 c canola oil. In a larger bowl I mixed 1 cup whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp baking soda, plus 1/2 cup of the wheat bran. Here is where I use a little trick.

Powdered buttermilk. You can find it in the baking aisle. I really only use buttermilk for muffins so it doesn’t make sense to buy it fresh. Plus, once opened and refrigerated it has a very long shelf life. All you have to do when you are ready to use it is add water. I have learned from experience that the best time to add the powder is at this point into the process. Add the powder itself to the dry ingredients and the amount of water required to the wet ingredients (the back of the container will tell you what to add to get the correct volume). I found that if I tried to mix the powder and water up on its own and then add it to the other ingredients, the buttermilk just looks like lumpy water. Much better to add the separate parts to their respective bowls.

Now, what to do with the strawberries. I used a strainer to separate the strawberry pieces from the liquid, and there was a lot of liquid. I hated to waste all of that fluid and I thought it might add a little extra flavor to the muffins. I took 1/4 cup of the left over strawberry liquid and then 1/4 of the strawberry pieces (which were already very mushy) and smashed them up with a fork (This is where I came up with the name smashing strawberry muffins. I think up silly things like this in my head when I am alone. Sorry.)

When there didn’t seem to be any big pieces of strawberry left I added it to my bowl of wet ingredients and wisked them all together. I then poured the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon I gently combined everything. It is important when making muffins not to over mix the batter. When all of the ingredients were combined I added the rest of the strawberry pieces. I had tried to squeeze a little extra fluid from the remaining strawberries since the batter is pretty moist. Gently mix those pieces in. Then scoop into a muffin tin sprayed with cooking spray ( I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup). Once each tin was full I used what was left over to even them out. The cups were quite full.

I baked them for 12 minutes first, then added 5 minutes and then 3 minutes. So after 20 minutes the tops of the muffins bounced back when touched and I took them out to let them cool.  After a few minutes I took a muffin out to try. Sorry, I ate half of it before I remembered to take a picture.

You can tell they have a lot of whole wheat in them, but they have a nice gentle strawberry flavor and every once in a while you get a bite with a piece of strawberry in it.  Plus, they are pretty large so I think it will make me feel like I am eating more. I calculated that they have about 190 calories a piece, so right on track with the other muffins.  To freeze them you have to individually wrap each muffin, either in plastic wrap or ziploc sandwich bags. In the morning take them out of the plastic and wrap in a paper towel. About 45 seconds in the microwave will do the trick.

Here is an easier to read copy of the recipe:

  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1 c buttermilk (or 4tbsp buttermilk powder + 1 c water)
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c wheat bran
  • 15 oz frozen strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Defrost strawberries in microwave. Prepare muffin tins with cooking spray. In a bowl whisk sugar, eggs, canola oil and buttermilk (or water). In a separate bowl whisk whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda, and wheat bran. Strain strawberries and reserve 1/4 c of fluid. Mash 1/4 cup of strawberries with a fork and mix with reserved fluid. Add mixture to wet ingredients. Add all of wet ingredients to dry and combine gently with a spoon. When combined, add remaining strawberry pieces (pat strawberries first with paper towel to remove excess fluid) and stir to combine. Scoop into muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes or until tops of muffins spring back when gently touched. Let cool a few minutes before removing from tins.

I think there is still room to play with this recipe. I might use 1 egg instead of two, or add more whole wheat flour. I might use brown sugar instead of granulated. If you try anything different please let me know what works!

And finally, here is a gratuitous picture of Cutty. He sat in the kitchen the whole time I was baking and meowed at me, as if to say please stop playing with the camera and food and come play with me!