Strawberries and poison ivy go together for me like strawberries and Valentine’s Day for most people. Some of my earliest memories include staining my 5-year-old hands with incredibly sweet but tiny berries from the ditches of the tar-covered road in front of my house. I ate organically before it was cool…and expensive.
The price for sampling one of God’s most popular fruits was not entirely free, however. I would itch and scratch for days after. Now that I’ve learned to avoid “leaves of three” and no longer live on that Indiana farm, I don’t have to endure Calamine lotion whenever I eat strawberries. I don’t even have to wait for summertime anymore between year-round availability and frozen strawberries.
One of my favorite ways to eat strawberries is a Strawberry Balsamic Muffin with Goat Cheese from the Central Market Bakery. I’m not claiming to have THE recipe. I don’t know how to get it since I don’t work there or know anybody who does, but I wish I did. Doesn’t that sound like a fun job? Maybe my next career.
A few weeks ago, I shared my super quick and easy method for making strawberry-balsamic sauce using frozen strawberries. It has two ingredients and cooks in only 6 minutes. The result is something similar to strawberry preserves but not as thick or sugary. It’s perfect for these muffins. The strawberries are already cooked, leaving no soggy spots inside after baking.
Goat-cheese crumbles give these muffins a distinctive flavor. I love it but prefer the lesser amount listed in the recipe below. You could also leave it out or use toasted pecans instead for equally delicious results.
Start the day out right by making these for Valentine’s Day! Serve with strawberry or cherry preserves for maximum strawberry flavor.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1-1/2 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon soda
- ½ cup unflavored, non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 egg
- ½ cup strawberry-balsamic sauce (See note)
- 1-2 ounces crumbles goat-cheese (depending on how much you like goat cheese)
- Sanding or sparkling sugar for sprinkling on top
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Melt butter in microwave for one minute on HIGH. Allow to cool.
- Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and soda in a medium mixing bowl.
- Combine yogurt, egg, and melted butter in separate bowl. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Do not overmix.
- Lightly fold in strawberry-balsamic sauce and goat cheese.
- Portion evenly into muffin pan that has been greased and floured. (I use an aerosol flour/butter mixture.) Muffin pans vary, but I usually end up with 9 smallish muffins.
- Sprinkle liberally with sanding sugar.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before removing from pan.