I’m a big fan of muffins, especially cute little homemade ones that you can just pop into your mouth (the small size means they have fewer calories...yeah right). I think they make the perfect addition to a brunch table offering up a yummy, sweet option that isn’t a pain to make. However, as much as I love muffins, I’m really picky about them.
First of all, I like fruity muffins. None of this chocolate-chocolate chip or stodgy bran with walnuts nonsense for me...I want fruit. As in, fruit in every bite. There is little that disappoints me more in a muffin than breaking it in half to reveal 3 blueberries. Rip off! Secondly, I don’t like weighty, heavy, dense muffins. I want light, fluffy muffins. Delicate and cake-like, but like a buttery layer cake not a pound cake.
And finally, I want them to have a balance of great flavor, and not be overwhelmed by sweetness.
This recipe is all that, and makes use of plump, juicy, sweet spring strawberries which are all over the market now (at least the farmers’ market near my house!). They are superb both on their own (even slathered with a little homemade strawberry jam) or as an addition to a special brunch spread, such as Mother’s Day. I for one would love these to be served to me on a lovely tray alongside a cuppa tea, a mimosa, and a slice of frittata. Husband, are you listening?
A few things to note: look for the sweetest organic strawberries you can find. You can also make these in a standard 12 cup pan, just be sure to fill the cups nearly to the top and you might need to bake them for a few additional minutes. Also, instead of the crunchy sugar topping, you can sprinkle the tops with your favorite streusel if you like. Just be warned: these are addictive, you cannot stop at just one!
Strawberry-lemon mini muffins
Makes 48 mini muffins or 12 large muffins
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1⁄2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp sea salt)
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 2⁄3 cup sugar
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup sour cream
- 12 oz fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
- Coarse sugar, such as turbinado, for sprinkling (optional)
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F (200°C). Spray two 24-cup mini muffin pans generously with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the sour cream and lemon juice and beat on low speed. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until evenly moistened. Gently stir in the strawberries on low speed. The batter will be super thick.
Using a tablespoon, heap the batter into the greased muffin cups, filling them nearly full.
Sprinkle each with a big pinch of coarse sugar, if you like.
Bake until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then unmold onto the rack. Smear them with butter if you like, and eat while they’re still warm.