Saturday 18 June 2011

We Should Cocoa - White chocolate and strawberry muffins

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
60g butter
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.


Ruth said...

Just found your blog via Belleau Kitchen. It seems we are both into baking and both in the North of England! Just had a quick glance around and you have some great posts on here!

Anonymous said...

C, I'm not a huge fan of cooked strawberries either, although I don't mind strawberry jam in a cake. Never thought to combine them with white chocolate - thanks for the suggestion! For what it's worth, some of the Nigella cupcakes from that book are very very flat, so maybe that's her style?

Unknown said...

I made something similar this weekend and all my stuff went to the top!... WTF?!?!... I find with strawberries that if I make a puree with them first and then mix this into the batter, it not only tastes better but permeates the whole cake... if you see what I mean! ...look pretty anyway!

MissCakeBaker said...

I'm more of a raspberry fan too but this challenge gave me a new found apppreciation of strawberries. The muffins look v good.

Maria♥ said...

I love white choc and strawberry combo and these muffins sound gorgeous. I reckon if you wanted to make these extra special you could pipe some white choc buttercream and decorate with a strawberry!


Anonymous said...

Oh how delicious! They sound super amazing...I think I could just smell their sweetness baking! YUM! You have a lovely blog by the happy I stumbled upon it!


Chele said...

Mmmmmmmmmmm (I'm having a Homer Simpson moment!) these would be my first pick of the muffins if I was to walk in a shop and find them on offer. Scrummy! Thanks for taking part again ;0)

Caroline said...

Ruth - thank you, I'll visit your blog in a bit!

Celia - yes, I perhaps should have remembered that Nigella recipes can be inclined to be flat. Mind you, some of the pictures in Kitchen show sunken cakes - doesn't inspire me to try those ones!

Dom - our add-ins obviously have a mind of their own. I'd love to know how yours all went to the top though - defying the laws of gravity! A strawberry puree sounds like a plan, I recall trying that a couple of years ago and it was reasonably successful:

MissCakeBaker - thanks!

Maria - thanks! I had thought of piping buttercream onto them, but they were very sweet as they were, and I was cross that they hadn't risen, so didn't want to throw good after bad as it were!

Tammy - thanks for dropping by and commenting! Yes, they did indeed smell amazing while they were cooking!

Chele - I thought these would appeal to you, what with knowing your love of milk and white choc, and strawberries too - had to be a winner!

Choclette said...

C - sorry to hear you weren't happy with these. The crumb inside the cut muffin looks really good so they must have risen some. I quite like the flat look and in the end, much as appearance counts, it is the taste that matters and these sound delicious. Thanks for participating in WSC.

Alicia Foodycat said...

I think part of the problem is that strawberries are so ubiquitous. I think if they were as scarce, seasonal and expensive as raspberries I would love them just as much!

It's a shame you didn't get the nice domed top, but I think these look lovely anyway.

Caroline said...

Choclette - thanks for the condolences! They weren't nasty muffins, I was just disappointed that's all!

Foodycat - thank you! I suppose it is because they're more ubiquitous than raspberries, but I still prefer the texture and taste of a raspberry!

Johanna GGG said...

great reflections on what worked and what didn't - I think white chocolate can be overwhelmingly sweet but strawberries can be quite tart so would have thought they would work together - am sure I could have eaten one or two - maybe with some fresh berries on the side

Brownieville Girl said...

I'm a bit raspberry fan too, but am quite willing to compromise with some strawberries!!

I fancy one of your muffins now with a big mug of coffee!!


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