I normally don’t believe in Valentine’s Day.
Roses, Strawberries and Chocolate are not my kind of Valentine’s day either. Yeah, probably twelve years back may be. Both of us are over and done with that phase of romance now, I guess. Nonetheless ironically, it seemed like ‘not a bad idea’ as a theme on the blog for Feb the 14th.
Besides, I have been yearning to eat strawberries the whole winter (happens only when we can’t get them right!) and now, the timing seems to be right as the northern crop has already hit the supermarkets.
I love strawberries by their fruity selves, not dipped in chocolate or any other way, smoothie may be an exception though. This time, I thought I could do with a little change. I sometimes wondered how strawberries tasted in a baked product as I’d not heard of as many recipes as there are for blueberries. But, I was somehow not in the mood for any cake (possibly due to an overdose of cakes on all blogs I’ve been hopping lately). Cupcakes sounded very cute but you must know I am not much of a fan of whipped cream, so pass. Muffins (though they seemed like twins) on the other hand turned out to be a pretty neat option.
Does the thought of muffin and cake puzzle you like it did for me? Are they same, are they not?
Here’s some food for thought on Cupcakes vs Muffins from “Cake Spy”
With that definition, I don’t know if I left my muffins be muffins or dragged them into the cupcake arena!
Even though it felt like too much of a big deal, my requirement for an eggless whole wheat muffin with strawberries and chocolate chips finally did meet a recipe. Frosting and I are not the best of friends but, I did make the best use of some leftover frosting to dress up my muffins for Valentine’s day.
But don’t let yourself be restricted to just these muffin decorating ideas. Valentine’s day is definitely a time to let your imagination take control of your creativity!
Happy Valentine’s Day to you! Here’s to a day filled with love and lovely home made muffins..
What better way than a home made ‘something special’ to show someone you love? What say, you?
Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe
recipe adapted from Parita’s Kitchen
Makes about 12 small muffins
Things you’ll need:
For the muffins:
- 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp aluminium-free baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup cane sugar + 1/2 to 1 tbsp
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup non fat greek yogurt
- 3/4 to 1 cup non fat milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1-1/4 cups chopped hulled strawberries (about 5-6 large strawberries)
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used 100% natural Ghirardelli)
- Baking tray/sheet pan
- muffin pans (two 6 muffin pans)
- paper muffin cups
- Ice cream / cookie dough scoop ~ optional
- wire rack
For the chocolate frosting:
(makes about 2 cups of frosting)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2/3 cup natural unsweetened Cocoa
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For Valentine’s day special decoration:
- 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
- tea strainer
- 3/4″ paper or cardboard heart cutout
- ziploc bag for frosting decoration
How it’s done:
To bake the strawberry muffins:
- Taste the strawberries first. If the strawberries are not that sweet, macerate the strawberries in a clean non-reactive bowl by sprinkling 1/2 to 1 tbsp of sugar and let sit for the fruit to soak in for at least 15 mins. Skip this step if you think the strawberries are sweet by themselves.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Line the muffin sheet with paper cups or grease with oil or butter.
- Mean while, in a mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk/sift for thorough mixing.
- To bring butter to room temperature, either let sit on the counter for 15-30 mins or just microwave for 10-12 secs until just soft. In another bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together until well combined and creamy. To this add the greek yogurt and 2/3 cup milk and whisk together. Finally whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Now, add in the dry flour mix and whisk in slowly until it comes together. Add more milk as necessary a tbsp or two at a time as you go. Do not over mix. Fold in the chopped (macerated) strawberries and chocolate chips.
- Scoop the dough into lined muffin cups only upto 3/4 th full to give enough room for the muffin to rise or else the dough will rise and spill out during baking . Place the muffin pans on a baking tray with at least 2-3 inches between them as well as with the inside of the oven for even hot air circulation. Bake for 25-30 mins or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Check around 25 mins for done-ness check. Do not overbake.
- Remove the baked muffins from the tin and let cool immediately on a wire rack.
- Serve warm or at room temperature as is or decorated with confectioner’s sugar heart impressions or chocolate drizzlings for the valentine’s day! (continue reading for recipe and how to)
- Do not open the oven door during the first 15 mins as it causes the rising muffin dough to collapse.
- Do not forget or delay cooling the muffins on a wire rack right after pulling out of the oven. Otherwise, due to the retained heat, muffins start to sweat inside and end up soggy instead of fluffy.
How to make chocolate frosting:
recipe for Hersey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” chocolate Frosting from the back of Hershey’s Cocoa-Natural Unsweetened box
- Melt butter in a saucepan until just soft or microwave for about 12-15 seconds. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered (confectioner’s) sugar and milk, beating to “spreading” consistency. If you take a dollop out of a spoon it should fall but not flow freely. Add small amount of additional milk (a tsp or so) if needed. Stir in vanilla extract. Do not overmix.
Note: The ingredients listed (are) from the original recipe make a huge quantity of chocolate frosting.
I had leftover chocolate frosting from the chocolate almond cake I baked a month back and used the same. If you do not wish to make so much of the frosting, just halve the frosting recipe and store the leftovers in a plastic bag or airtight container in the refrigerator. Does not spoil for 3-4 weeks.
For the Valentine’s Day special muffins:
To make the heart impressions:
Place the paper heart cut-out on the muffin at the centre. Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar through a dry tea strainer until the top surface is covered. Remove the heart cut-out with a fork.
For the muffins with chocolate frosting:
Fill a ziploc bag with chocolate frosting, twist it tight and zip shut. Snip the tip of the ziplock bag just a tiny bit. Holding the other end of the bag secure, press and drizzle the chocolate frosting in a zig zag manner.
Note on Substitutions:
- Baking Flour – I have always used regular whole wheat flour for baking cakes and love the ‘healthy’ taste of it. However, if you are not up for it, whole wheat flour can be substituted with whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour or a combination of both. The amount of milk required reduces considerably in which case, just start with 1/4 cup milk and add a tbsp at a time as you go as needed. Here’s a useful link that explains the difference between different baking flours.
- Yogurt makes this muffin fluffy and airy. Regular yogurt may be used in place of greek yogurt (which is thicker and contains more protein than regular yogurt). Reduce the amount of milk accordingly as mentioned in flour substitution.
- Blueberries should also work perfectly in place of strawberries.
- Chocolate chips can be substituted with dry fruits like raisins or chopped pitted dates.
- Single use aluminium muffin pans work very well and last for much more than a couple of uses. If you are not a frequent baker, feel free to buy them (costs <$3 for a set of 3 pans) in place of a more expensive regular/non-stick muffin pan.
Sending this Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffin as my entry to these events:
The weekly “Bake-Off “ event – Feb 18th Roundup hosted by Champa of Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen
Cooking with Fruit event hosted by Smita of Taste Buds