Sunday, July 4, 2010

strawberry hazelnut muffins

Poor strawberry. For a little while every year, you're everybody's darling. The first real fruit of the season--except for rhubarb, which despite all of our efforts to dress it up is still just a vegetable--is bound to get all of the love. And surely the strawberry deserves it, especially the rich red ones you can get at the Farmer's Market, the shiny ones that practically melt when you pick them up, the ones with a hint of perfume. Strawberries are joyous after the winter's dearth of luscious fruit. But then the other fruit comes: the cherries (sigh), the plums, the raspberries, the currants. I'm already distracted. I'm still buying strawberries, but I'm not sighing so much when I pop them in my mouth. I'm not gobbling them down in a couple of days, but leaving them to linger in the back of the fridge where their mushy edges will have to be hidden in a smoothie. I like you, strawberries. I just don't like like you.

Looks like it's time for strawberry muffins, a sad use for strawberries I must say. Really, strawberries should be in a tart, carefully arranged atop sweet and silky pastry cream and a flaky crust. Oh well. Time is short these days and sometimes muffins are all you can manage. These muffins certainly don't convey the glory of strawberries, but they are delicious. And maybe, like me, you and strawberries are ready to part ways anyhow.

Strawberry Hazelnut Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
8 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup sliced strawberries

Hazelnut Streusel:
3 T. unsalted butter, room temp
6 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
1/4 cup sugar
(Blend together all of these ingredients; I just use my fingertips)

Oven at 400 F. For muffins, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, butter, and milk. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, until just combined. Gently fold in strawberries. Divide batter into muffin tins (I usually make 8) and top with hazelnut streusel. Bake for 20 minutes.

Note: For ground hazelnuts, spread whole hazelnuts on baking sheet. Roast at 350 F. for about 10 minutes. Let cool. Rub hazelnuts with a kitchen towel to remove skins (you won't be able to get them all off, but no worries; I often just rub the hazelnuts between my hands). Grind the skinned nuts finely in a food processor.

Strawberry on Foodista


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