June seems to be whizzing by rapidly and I haven't made much of a start on all of the challenges I want to participate in, but it always seems to happen that way - I'm very much a last-minute type person. Anyway, I have at least managed to get this month's We Should Cocoa entry made. This month Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog is hosting the challenge and she felt that after some pretty difficult ingredients and last month's roulade challenge that we all deserved something easier and picked strawberries.
I think strawberries and chocolate do go well together, but of the summer berries strawberries are not my favourite - I much prefer raspberries (guess how excited I was that raspberries were the first pick for We Should Cocoa way back last September!). But not everything can be my favourite and strawberries are lovely too so I set about looking for a recipe that combined cooked strawberries and chocolate. I'm not a massive fan of cooked strawberries, but I needed a cake that would keep for a day or two, and while there are millions of recipes where strawberries are incorporated as a decoration I wasn't sure how well my strawberries would keep out of the fridge, so I decided to go the cooked route. After much searching I ended up adapting a recipe designed for raspberries.
These are based on Nigella Lawson's Lemon Raspberry Muffins in 'How to be a Domestic Goddess'.
White chocolate and strawberry muffins
200g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g caster sugar
juice and grated zest of one lemon
approx 120ml milk
1 large egg
175g strawberries, washed, dried, hulled and chopped
100g good quality white chocolate, chopped
- Preheat the oven to gas 6/200C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
- Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
- Stir together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, sugar and zest in a large bowl.
- Pour the lemon juice into a measuring jug and make up to 200ml with milk. This will curdle which is fine.
- Beat the egg and melted butter into the curdled milk mixture.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients gently but thoroughly to ensure no flour pockets remain but don't overmix.
- Briefly mix in the strawberries and white chocolate.
- Spoon into prepared cases and bake for 25 minutes.
- Allow to cool in the tin and then after 10 minutes move to a wire rack.
It may not come as a surprise to you that I was really disappointed with the way these looked. I was envisaging beautiful peaked muffins and what I got was a flat top that had barely risen at all. I don't really know why this is - the cases were nearly that full when I put them into the oven. My tsps of baking powder were scant as I was running out, perhaps that made all the difference? Perhaps substituting strawberries for raspberries was a mistake - strawberries are 'wetter' than raspberries. Maybe the mixture couldn't hold the extra chocolate? Who knows! I do know that all of the strawberries and chocolate chunks sank to the bottom during baking, which again, I wouldn't have expected of a recipe labelling itself 'muffin' - muffin recipes are generally quite good at holding 'add-ins' in suspension in the batter. I feel betrayed.
On the plus side, they smelled fantastic while they were baking, and in spite of appearances they tasted pretty good too. They were a little too sweet for me - probably should have reduced the sugar a little, given that I was using strawberries and masses of sweet white chocolate, but adding the lemon was a revelation - it really lifted the flavour of the muffin/cake without being too lemon-y. That's definitely something I'll do again. The flavour combo was good, but the recipe just didn't work for me. A pity, but I still enjoyed my muffin!
You can see how all the strawberries and white chocolate have sunk to the bottom.