Last week I had a cooking class in my kitchen for an 8-year-old birthday girl and her good friend. The birthday girl has a grandma who appreciates the fact that her granddaughter loves to cook and bake and she wants to nurture that interest. So, grandma arranged for me to give a cooking and baking lesson to her young and very kitchen-savvy granddaughter.
I knew the moment the girls walked in with their own aprons that they meant business. My assumption was reinforced when I began showing the girls to crack eggs on the work surface rather than the edge of the mixing bowl to prevent little pieces of shell from sliding into the bowl and to drop the insides into a little custard cup before adding it to the mixing bowl and I heard, “Yup, I saw that on a cooking show.” Yes, these girls knew their way around the kitchen.
We snipped fresh herbs from the garden to add to a salad, made pizza with whole wheat pasta, mixed up granola for them to take home and squeezed lemons to stir into a cool beverage (yes, they knew lemons at room temperature rolled around on the counter give more juice). For dessert, the young bakers made banana muffins with a strawberry hidden inside.
Very ripe bananas got mashed with a fork and stirred into a buttery batter. Then, the batter got scooped into paper-lined muffin tins.
Before the muffin tins were ready to slide into the oven, the girls rolled clean, whole strawberries in sugar. A sugar-coated strawberry got pushed into the top of each muffin before baking. That’s the sweet,Â juicy summer surprise inside.
I just made another batch of these moist muffins. I used garden-fresh strawberries that I bought at the Lakes Area Farmers Market in Detroit Lakes. My favorite guy ate a couple warm out of the oven for a snack last night. He grabbed a couple on his way out the door this morning to eat on the way to work.Â Sprinkled with a little powdered sugar and served with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream (homemade is great!), these muffins become cupcakes for dessert.
These muffins are a nice way to use a handful of the strawberries that are ready to pick at local berry farms. Tomorrow (Saturday), I’ll be turning some fresh strawberries into Strawberry-Almond Cheesecake Bites when I do a cooking demonstration at the farmers market in Detroit Lakes. I’ll be cooking there from 11:00 to 1:00, using fresh produce, beef, bread and edible flowers from the farmers/vendors who will be selling there on Saturday. If you are in the area, please stop by. I’d love to see you at the Lakes Area Farmers Market.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Whole, fresh medium-sized strawberries
- 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar for the strawberries
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Put muffin papers into the baking pan.
- Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer to beat sugar and butter together until creamy.
- Add mashed bananas and beat.
- Break eggs into a medium-sized bowl. Beat slightly with a whisk. Add buttermilk and lemon juice. Whisk about 20 times.
- Pour the buttermilk mixture into the bowl with the butter and sugar. Beat at low speed with the mixer to blend.
- Add sifted dry ingredients all at once to the bowl.
- Gently stir with a wooden spoon until the flour disappears.
- Use Â¼ cup measure with a handle to scoop batter into muffin papers, filling almost to the top.
- Roll each strawberry, one per muffin, in the 2 tablespoons sugar.
- Using your fingers, push a sugar-coated strawberry into the top of each muffin
- Bake muffins in preheated 400-degree oven 15 to 20 minutes.
- Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool.
- Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 dozen muffins, depending on size.