Strawberry Smashed Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

Welcome back from the weekend — it’s Muffin Monday! Okay, I just made that up. Over the weekends I’ve been making new muffins for the work week, so it just made sense to declare Mondays “Muffin Mondays”. I have no idea how long I’ll keep to it; my ability to stick to a blog schedule hasn’t been all that stellar. My biggest fear is that I’ll eventually run out of muffins to make. Eventually I’d have to get into the bizarre kinds and I’m not so sure if I want to do that. Sometimes I like playing it safe. Case in point: Strawberry Smashed Muffins.

Strawberry Smashed Muffins with Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

I like muffins, not only because they’re delicious and are easy to eat, but because they’re really quick and simple to make. Throwing together a good, easy batter takes all of 15 minutes and everything can be quickly cleaned while the muffins bake.

Berry Smashed Muffins - Batter

A multitude of berries can be used for these muffins; I selected strawberries. Raspberries would also be delicious and appropriate for anyone who is leery of lots of sweetness. The sweetness isn’t overbearing; my fear was that it would come out rather syrupy (not my favorite) but they weren’t. The cinnamon-sugar topping is very over the top in the sweetness of these muffins, so if you’re not into that, consider doing the simple streusel from the blueberry muffins. Also, these aren’t as cakey as the banana muffins I was gushing about last week, but still fluffy enough to satisfy me. The batter held up quite nicely with the berries.

The original recipe calls for vegetable oil, but I substituted with natural, unsweetened applesauce and got great results. Another good switch up on these muffins would be to half the all-purpose flour and make up the difference with wheat flour. (And obviously if you’re that worried about being health-conscious, don’t dip these in melted butter and sugar… Duh!)

Strawberry Smashed Muffins with Cinnamon-Sugar Topping
Adapted from RecipeZaar / Gold Medal Rainbow Bakery children’s Cookbook

Muffins
1 2/3 cups fresh strawberries (or frozen, thawed and drained)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup natural, unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping
4 tablespoons butter, melted and warm
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 425 F. Lightly grease the bottoms of 12 regular sized muffin cups.

Slightly smash strawberries in large bowl, using fork. Alternatively, quarter strawberries and pulse in a food processor with 7 one-second pulses. Remove from processor and place in large bowl.

Stir in sugar, applesauce and eggs until mixed. Stir in other ingredients just until moistened.

Using a 1/3 measuring cup, evenly distribute batter into muffin cups. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until light golden brown or toothpick poked in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Loosen sides of muffins from pan and take them out of the pan. Let cool for another 5 minutes.

For topping, mix together sugar and cinnamon, until cinnamon is evenly distributed throughout the sugar. Dip muffin tops lightly in melted butter, then into sugar mixture.

These are a delicious and light and the smashed berries inside are a fun treat to bite into. Here’s a photo of the insides… I went to get the camera and our illustrious web admin decided to take one of the muffins for a test drive.

Berry Smashed Muffins - Test Driven & Approved

MizzNezz’s Banana Muffins

No, this is not a repeat from last week’s Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. I had extra bananas in my pantry that were going brown and wanted to use them up. I did enjoy the muffins I made last week but I was searching for something different — a more scrumptious treat with a cake texture.

Found it.

Banana Muffins 5

These muffins are incredibly moist and soft with a sweet banana flavor, thanks to the fact that it calls for a whole 3 bananas — a great way to get rid of those brown things sitting on top of your fridge.

What falls down for me a bit is the streusel mixture that goes on top — comprising mostly of brown sugar and a little bit of butter, during the baking process it melts into the muffin and doesn’t retain its crumbly texture as well. I think the best bet is to use the streusel from the Blueberry Muffins, which is comprised of nearly equal parts sugar and flour. Add in 1/3 cup of nuts, and you’ll have the winning streusel topping.

Banana Muffins 1

These muffins are the easiest muffins yet. Dump your wet ingredients into a bowl, mix well with an electric mixer, add the dry ingredients, mix well with an electric mixer, divide into a greased, non-stick 12-cup muffin tin. Bake. Eat.

Streusel Topped Banana Muffins
Courtesy of MizzNezz / RecipeZaar

3 large ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Topping (as reflected in photos)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, to taste
1 tablespoon cold butter
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine bananas, sugar, egg and butter. Add dry ingredients and mix well, scraping the bowl with spatula as needed.

Divide batter into a greased, non-stick 12-cup muffin pan. Combine streusel in bowl and divide evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and serve.

I also want to give a special call out to MizzNezz, the RecipeZaar contributor who came up with these muffins. A few of her dishes are staples in my house, like her Chicken Tetrazzini.

Banana Muffins 3

Apple Muffins

I don’t keep breakfast items readily available in the house. There’s always dry cereal, but we don’t use the milk fast enough to warrant keeping a lot of it in the refrigerator, and the cereal sits alone, unwanted. I like breakfast, specifically something that goes well with my coffee. Yep, you guessed it — more Ellie!

Unfortunately a lot of my photographs that I took didn’t come out well so, just a few minutes ago, I set up a little faux photo studio made from pages of a white “While You Were Out” message pad.

It was the best I could do.

apple-muffin-1

I wish these were a lot more photogenic. Sadly, their modest appearance just doesn’t do the taste justice. These little gems are moist, sweet muffins with tender bits of apple baked throughout. And they’re delicious. Coming from someone who generally dislikes apples, that’s quite a statement. But that’s not the best bit. What really makes this little gem is the tasty brown sugar, cinnamon and pecan streusel on top.

Apple Muffins 2

These go together fast and they’re very easy, not to mention that they contain a lot of nutritious things your body needs — such as the applesauce and whole wheat. And yet, I don’t taste the “diet” element in this, something I am incredibly picky about. I don’t drink diet sodas nor do I eat a lot of sugar substitutes. They don’t taste right to me. These scrumptious muffins taste dynamite and you’re giving your body good, too.

Most importantly, it’s great with my coffee. I take two of these to work with me in a little plastic sandwich bag so I can eat them at my desk. They’re incredibly moist and surprisingly sweet and, because they’re in muffin format, they’re portable.

The recipe was adapted from Ellie Krieger’s book that I’ve been going on and on about. You’re probably sick of hearing about it by now, but I’m just in love with what I’m able to find inside. Remember those portobello lasagna roll ups I made not too long ago? I remade them the other night using creminis and turkey sausage. So yummy.

Anyway, most of the ingredients for this recipe were already in my cupboard, except for the applesauce. The only applesauce I had contained sugar, and what the recipe recommends is natural. To compensate, I cut the brown sugar in half, and still came out with something really special. My version is below. You can find Ellie’s original in her book, or on the Food Network website.

Apple Muffins
Adapted from Ellie Krieger

Cooking spray
3/8 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12-capacity muffin pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, the pecans and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and oil until combined. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in the applesauce and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Whisk just until combined. Gently stir in the apple chunks.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with the pecan mixture. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and unmold. Cool completely on the rack.

I’m going to keep making these so I can have them on hand. I have a lot of leftover blueberries in my fridge so I’m going to switch those in for the apple and see what happens.

apple-muffin-bite