May 14, 2014

Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins

Things I love today:

The fact that pulling a kid out of kindergarten just to make your day easier doesn't really matter, academically speaking :)
Diet Coke with coconut and lime (Thanks Amanda, I'm addicted!)
My car stereo
Portable DVD players
Joe voluntarily taking a break from said DVD player to ask if we could play the ABC road trip game
The lovely (no, really) drive between Denver and Colorado Springs

Smartphones, with maps and directions
A really fast pizza dough recipe and leftover M&M cookies for the missionaries I forgot I was feeding tonight!!
Wonderfully helpful boys and husband (who is much better at stretching pizza dough than I am!)
Quiet. And sitting. Doing nothing. Just breathing. 

Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins (inspired by Joan's Food Wanderings)
Printable Recipe

Muffin Batter:
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup fresh strawberries, cut into small pieces

Cream Cheese Filling:
4 ounces cream cheese
1 Tb sugar
2 Tb flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Butter Streusel:
1/2 cup all-puspose flour
3 Tb sugar
pinch of salt
4 Tb cold butter, cut into chunks

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Streusel Topping:
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until the chunks are no larger than small peas.

So, I don't know about you, but I have a dark history with streusel. I follow the directions, and instead of lovely little balls of crunchy deliciousness, it bakes into a puddle of crumbly streusel ingredients. I could never figure out what I was doing wrong, until I started messing with it. It turns out that if you stop when the instructions do, your streusel will fail. So, this is where you've left off, right?
Chunks no bigger than small peas. If you sprinkle this on your muffins, it will fail. So it's time to start playing. Using your fingers (you could also use a food processor, and I think a mixer, but I haven't tried it) start rubbing the butter into the dry stuff. Just pinch and rub together. After a few minutes it will start coming together, but you still have some dry dusty stuff, like this:
Keep going, you're almost there! Keep mixing and rubbing with your fingers, and it will soften and start feeling like stiff cookie dough, and forming large clumps. When it does, break those big clumps apart into smaller lumps, and it will look like this:
Voila!! THAT is what streusel is supposed to look like!! A little more work, but infinitely better results! Okay, now set your gorgeous streusel in the fridge while you get the rest ready.

Cream Cheese Filling:
Beat the cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.

Muffin Batter:
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. In a seperate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, egg and sugar. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and stir gently until just combined. The batter will be lumpy, that's fine, don't overmix!

Here's where it gets fun: Scoop a heaping tablespoon of the muffin batter into each cupcake liner. Sprinkle with a few pieces of strawberries. Add a dollop (about a heaping teaspoon) of the cream cheese filling.
Divide the rest of the batter over the top of the cream cheese filling. Spread it gently, just a bit, to cover the top, but if it doesn't quite reach the edges, don't worry! Sprinkle with a few more pieces of strawberries, and top with a generous sprinkle of streusel.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling. Best served warm!
THAT, my friends, is what streusel is supposed to look like! I'm not bragging, just rejoicing. Because I just barely learned it, and streusel no longer depresses me! :) Warm, golden, and gorgeous, with those jammy little bits of berry peeking through...
You could add half a teaspoon of cinnamon to your streusel if you want, but I was trying to create a streusel reminiscent of cheesecake crust. Warm, fluffy vanilla muffin, with a cheesecake ribbon littered with sweet berries that just melt in your mouth, these muffins taste like Spring to me!
The Geologist took them to work and they were gone in minutes. He didn't get one. Even though he's the one who carried them up the stairs/elevator! He's going to have to be faster, the word's getting around... :)


  1. Beautiful muffins with a good cup of coffee. Blessings, Catherine

  2. LOL April about the geologist. Lucky work mates is all I can say! Streusel should clump together into nice lumps. The fine stuff will only fall off. Good tips! Nice muffins. I miss our chats! xxoo


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