Strawberries and cream. They make a great pair, don’t they? In their simplest forms, they are spectacular, but they’re even better when baked together, like in these muffins. As soon as I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew I had to make it. Fortunately for me, strawberries are available year-round in Southern California.
These Strawberry and Cream Muffins are absolutely delicious! They also got rave reviews from my husband, my official taste taster, who proclaimed them “one of the best muffins” he’s ever eaten. Pretty heady compliment for these tasty treats. Then, he shocked me by reaching for a second one, which is something he doesn’t do very often. You see, my husband actually possesses self-control; he rarely overindulges, but these muffins are that good!
They are tender and moist, with a little crispness from the excellent streusel topping. The almond flour lends a slightly nutty taste and gives the muffins some added texture. Instead of melted butter, this recipe calls for olive oil, which is more heart-healthy. I used some blood-orange olive oil that gave the muffins the perfect hint of orange. As the muffins baked, the mascarpone filling melted beautifully into the batter, which gave the muffins a little richness and tang.
I have to agree with my husband. These really are one of the best muffins we’ve ever eaten!
Strawberries and Cream Muffins
Yields 11 muffins
Mascarpone Cheese Filling
4 ounces mascarpone (cream cheese is a good substitute)
1/4 cup sugar (preferably ultra-fine sugar, which combines more easily)
1/2 egg (about 2 tablespoons beaten)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, chilled
1 cup milk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used this blood orange-flavored olive oil)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup almond meal/flour)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup strawberries, cut into small cubes
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line muffin pan with liners.
To prepare filling, combine mascarpone cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a bowl and mix till smooth. Chill filling until needed.
In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon for streusel topping. Cut in butter using two forks or a pastry cutter until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Whisk milk, olive oil, egg, and almond extract together. Add flour(s), sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix just until moistened. The muffin batter should be lumpy.
Spoon in one tablespoon of muffin batter into each cup of the muffin pan. Divide half the diced strawberries equally between each of the cup, and a tablespoon of the cheese mixture. Spoon remaining muffin batter into each cup and top with the remaining strawberries. Generously sprinkle streusel topping on top.
Bake for 22-25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan. Muffins are best served warm.
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