Happy first day of June! To celebrate, I made us cupcakes masquerading as muffins. Or muffins pretending they’re cupcakes? I’m really not sure.
These muffins are so darn tasty, it almost doesn’t seem fair to categorize them as JUST a muffin (no offense, muffins fans). They’re dense and sweet but not cakey enough to be a cupcake! A true dilemma.
I guess I’m struggling with their definition because these are, hands down, the best muffins I’ve ever made. Like, it really doesn’t seem right to classify them as a breakfast food. And here’s why: I didn’t cut any corners. Nope. I went all in with butter, full-fat milk, and plenty of sugar. No wonder they taste like cake, huh? To make such things acceptable alongside a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, I threw in one of Mother Nature’s healthiest ingredients: strawberries.
Because it’s all about balance, people. Even if that means tainting our gorgeous, antioxidant-rich berries with more sinful things like butter and sugar. I’m OK with it. Every now and then.
Especially when the combo results in these incredible muffins. Like I said, best muffins I’ve made to date. Both my husband and son would agree. The first batch of these disappeared in record time. I think Dan actually ate three in a matter of a few hours. While it usually takes us a week or so to get through a whole batch of muffins, these were gone in like two-three days? Crazy.
Remember a few months back when I mentioned that muffins were my secret mommy weapon for sneaking some healthy stuff into my kid? Well, this is still true. But sometimes, healthy muffins just don’t cut it. Sometimes you need the real thing. Sometimes a muffin is just meant to be a freaking muffin: a carb combined with other carbs and fat.
The fruit in “real” muffins only exists to make us feel better. We all know that the blueberry muffin the size of our hand is not a health food, despite the blueberries and coffeehouse signs toting it as such. You’re better off grabbing the fruit parfait and making a run for the door before you submit to the temptation.
Again, though, sometimes you just need a real muffin. Or a cupcake masquerading as a muffin.
This type of muffin, of course, is a treat in our house. Meaning, we eat them rarely, and when we do, they can pass for breakfast or dessert. The latter being the most frequent scenario. Because these babies are sweet! And they are an ideal vessel for those juicy strawberry gems that are just so perfect this time of year. Just like the hand-sized muffin is for the blueberries. It just works. How can it not when the magical combination of sugar and butter is involved? Only good things can come of that.
These muffins (cough-cupcakes-cough) are no exception. They are perfect for celebrating June! Strawberry season was made for these.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or extract)
½ cup buttermilk (or whole milk)
2 cups diced strawberries
Turbinado sugar, for topping
Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Spray the liners with nonstick baking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until pale yellow and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
Alternate adding the flour and the buttermilk, starting and ending with flour (so, add flour first, then milk, then flour, and so on).
To the empty flour bowl, add the chopped strawberries and 1 tablespoon flour. Toss the strawberries to evenly coat in the flour.
Using a spatula, gently fold half of the strawberries into the batter.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan and then top each muffin with some of the reserved strawberries. Sprinkle each muffin with some turbinado sugar and then bake for 25-30 minutes or until the muffins are golden around the edges and set in the middles.
Allow to cool on a wire rack and keep covered at room temperature in an airtight container.