Thursday, March 8, 2012

More fun with strawberries

New Englanders love a good muffin. And yes, that includes a good muffin top. A moist, not-too-sweet morning quickie that can be touchy to make but, when perfected, can fill your belly up with warmth and love.

I learned to appreciate a good muffin working in New England while in college and after. The typical muffins were represented there of course . . . cranberry, blueberry, since those fruits come from that region anyway. My favorite was the bran muffin.

But yesterday morning I was staring at those 8 jars of strawberry preserves (yeah, that's down from 15; I've already given some away), and thought, why couldn't I use those preserves in a muffin, not just on one.

So here's my recipe for Strawberry Preserves Oatmeal Muffins:

1 1/3 Cup unbleached flour
2/3 Cup whole wheat flour (this is optional; you can use all white flour if you want for a total of 2 Cups)
1 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup uncooked oats (I use quick oats but any rolled oats would do)
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 Cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Mix dry ingredients together and set aside.

In another bowl mix:

1/2 pint of strawberry preserves
rind and juice from one med. orange
1/4 Cup of canola oil
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Spray your muffin pan or you'll be sorry.

Now, you know the trick to perfect muffins, right? Well, here it is if you don't. It has to do with how you mix the dry and wet ingredients and for how long.

Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well. Take your rubber spatula and fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients gently. AS SOON AS IT IS ALL MOIST, STOP! No, STOP! STOP MIXING!

This batter is pretty thick, so spoon a good amount into the muffin tins filling them to 3/4 full at least. Then sprinkle them all with some more sugar to get you that crunchy sweet muffin top and bake for 15-18 minutes. Just keep looking at them. When they are a golden brown around the muffin top and spring back when you press in the middle, they are done, get them out quick.

Here's the reason for the mania about mixing the batter:

If you don't stop mixing the minute all the ingredients are moist, then you start activating the gluten in the flour and you DO NOT WANT THAT!

When you activate the gluten in the flour of a muffin, you screw with EVERYTHING that is good about a muffin: moistness, sponginess, and ever-so-gently puffy muffin tops. When you mix or stir too much, you get lopsided muffin tops that look like they are a bad 8th grade science project meant to  mimic a volcano, or cone-shaped muffin tops that look like a conical bra from a bad Madonna video.

If you really want the total New England muffin experience, slice your cooled muffin in half, slather a generous amount of butter on each side, then lay it face down onto a hot griddle for a couple minutes. What you end up with is a toasted buttery outside and a warm steamy inside. If you are a really decadent New Englander, you put even more butter on it before you eat it.

This post has been shared with the following fabulous sites:
Flour Me with Love Mix it up Mondays
In the Kitchen with Audrey March Muffin Madness
Creating My Way to Success A Round Tuit
C.R.A.F.T. Making Monday Marvelous
Skip to my Lou Made by You Monday
Today's Creative Blog Get Your Craft On
Nifty Thrifty Things Nifth Thrifty Sunday
What Makes You Say Mmmmmm Monday Linky
This Chick Cooks Recipe Swap
Jaqs Studio Made by Me
Our Delightful Home Show Me What You Got


  1. We have a link up this week for March Muffin Madness and would love to have you post this recipe.

    1. Thanks so much Kris. I'll hop on over!

  2. Looks delish! The texture of these looks perfect! Thanks for sharing your tips along with the recipe :) I've pinned this and started following :) Hope you have a great week!

    1. Thanks so much, Sky, for visiting, commenting, pinning and following. These are seriously yummy so I hope you get to bake them and try them.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Oh my do these look yummy! Thanks so much for sharing at Mix it up Monday :) I hope to see you next week too!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa. I'll keep coming back to your site . . . mostly for your recipes!

  4. OH YUM!! These look delicious!
    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

    1. Thanks for visiting, Jill. Your site is excellent inspiration for me.

  5. Yum! Who doesn't love muffins lol. I've been looking for a way to use up some things in the pantry this spring and this is just perfect!

    1. I love muffins cuz they are so quick and easy. Thanks for visiting, Jami!

  6. These sound delicious! I would love to have you link up to What Makes You Say Mmmmm Monday. Thanks! :)

    1. Done! I'm more than happy to go to another linky party. Thanks for the invite and thanks for visiting, Karyn!

  7. Looks YUMMMM!

    Love for you to share it at my Linky Party :) -

    1. Thanks for visiting Miss Q! I linked up to your party this morning. Looks like some good stuff there!

  8. Yummy! I would love for you to link up at my linky party via:

    Mrs. Delightful

  9. I'm happy to join your party Mrs. Delightful! Thanks for visiting and inviting me!

  10. These look great! Im a new follower.

    1. Thank you so much, Melissa! Welcome aboard!