Strawberries are usually at their best when they are eaten at the peak of season and uncooked, since they have both a great flavor and texture when they are fresh. But when strawberries are in season, I find that I am very tempted to put them in to all kinds of things, from breakfast to baked goods. These Strawberry Pecan Muffins are a very good way to indulge the urge to bake with strawberries when your kitchen is full of them!
The muffins have ground pecans and brown sugar in them, giving them a sweet and nutty flavor that is unexpected with the fresh berries, but very complementary. They’re sweet, satisfying and definitely a great summer breakfast muffin I started with whole pecans and finely ground them in the food processor to get a very coarse meal (like almond meal/flour). When ground, the pecans were evenly distributed throughout the muffin to make sure every bite had some of that pecan flavor. The ground nuts also contributed to the muffins’ very soft, tender crumb.
Strawberries lose a lot of their texture and release a lot of moisture when you bake with them. This can help contribute to a very moist muffin, as it does here, but a big chunk of strawberry in the middle of your muffin could lead to a very soggy baked good. For these muffins, it is best to finely chop the strawberries before stirring them into the batter. This way, the berries will be evenly distributed and you’ll get moist muffins with some strawberry in every bite, but no sogginess.
Strawberry Pecan Muffins
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries
coarse sugar, for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a food processor, combine the pecans, brown sugar and salt and whizz until pecans are ground finely and the mixture is uniform. Transfer to a large bowl.
To the bowl with the sugar mixture, add the egg, melted butter and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Stir half of the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in remaining flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Fold in chopped berries.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Batter will be fairly thick. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.
Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Turn muffins out to cool completely on a wire rack.