Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins
I wanted to make a scratch strawberry cake.
But when I realized what needed to be done to accomplish that, strawberry muffins sounded real good.
There’s so many recipes for strawberry cakes and cookies, but most of them involve cake mix. Nothing wrong with Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies or cake mix in general, but I wanted to make a scratch cake.
However, scratch strawberry cakes involve making a homemade strawberry jam of sorts, which is added to the batter, but because of the volume of flour and dry ingredients needed to compensate for all that liquidy jam, the cakes tend to turn out very pale pink and lackluster. Unless you use red food coloring, which seems to defeat the point of a scratch cake, so muffins it is.
The muffins were proclaimed the “best muffins I’ve ever had” by my taste tester. However, it was 1pm when I gave him the muffins and he hadn’t had breakfast or lunch, so a dirty shoe would taste good by that point.
But he inhaled 3 muffins in 10 minutes. And then 3 more by the end of the first day.
They’re easy to make, no mixer is needed, and I used frozen strawberries. I’m sure you could use fresh, but fresh strawberries in January aren’t too practical.
What I also love is that the berries don’t all sink to the bottom, a problem that tends to plague fruit-based quickbreads. That wall of berries on the bottom and it tastes fine, but I want the visual appeal of pretty berry chunks in the middle of the muffin, not just sunken at the bottom.
To combat the sinking issue, the batter is extra thick. Like really thick. It’s hard for berries to move around in such a heavy, thick, dense batter.
I used half of a 16-ounce bag of frozen berries. Allow the berries to come up to room temp for about 10 minutes from the freezer,or just long enough that you can put a pile on your cutting board and chop them. Don’t let them thaw completely because by that point they’re watery and will water down the thick batter you’ve created.
Toss the berries with 2 tablespoons of flour. That’s another trick that helps prevent sinking.
My berries weren’t very sweet and I only used 3/4 cup sugar to sweeten 1 dozen muffins plus 1 small mini loaf (or ~14 muffins). To compensate for their tartness, I added mini chocolate chips. Chocolate and strawberries are a great combination. Isn’t that what every Valentine’s Day candy company is counting on with chocolate-covered strawberries.
I used mini chips because I like smaller chips in muffins, but if all you have is larger, I’m sure they’ll work.
I used buttermilk, oil, and Greek yogurt, and all three are wonderful for keeping quickbreads soft, moist, springy, fluffy, with just the right balance of lightness and density. I’ve written extensively about buttermilk, most recently in this post. I prefer oil to butter in quickbreads for keeping them moist and soft.
And even though you’ll still be eating chocolate chips for breakfast, the muffins aren’t overly sweet.
What they are is soft, tender, and moist with big chunks of strawberries in every bite. Who needed that strawberry cake anyway.
Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins
The muffins are easy to make, no mixer is needed, and frozen berries are used. Allow the berries to come up to room temp for about 10 minutes from the freezer, or just long enough so you can chop them. Don’t let them thaw completely because by that point they’re watery and will water down the thick batter. Even though you’ll still be eating chocolate chips for breakfast, the muffins aren’t overly sweet. I used mini chips because they’re less prone to sinking. The muffins are soft, tender, and moist with big chunks of strawberries in every bite and make a great breakfast, brunch, or snack.
8 ounces frozen strawberries, roughly chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (allow to come to room temp for about 10 minutes, or until they can be chopped; do not thaw completely)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, for tossing with strawberries
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar (use 1 cup if your berries are tart or you prefer sweeter muffins)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 large egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 rounded tablespoons vanilla/plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (full-size may be used but are more likely to sink)
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a Non-Stick 12-Cup Regular Muffin Pan with paper liners or spray with floured cooking spray (I prefer the cosmetic look of not using liners so I didn’t); set pan aside. You will likely have batter for a 13th or 14th muffin, and I baked it in a cooking-sprayed 3×5 mini loaf pan. My oven is small and that setup works; discard extra batter if that’s easier.
- Place the strawberries in a medium bowl, add 2 tablespoons flour and toss to coat; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, optional salt, and whisk to combine; set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl or glass measuring cup, combine egg, buttermilk, oil, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
- Slowly pour wet mixture over dry ingredients, and stir lightly until just incorporated. Batter will be very thick and lumps will be present; don’t overmix. If your batter is ridiculously thick, add a splash of buttermilk to thin it.
- Gently fold in the strawberries.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, fill each of cavity of the prepared muffin pan to about 3/4-full. Don’t be afraid to fill them quite full because this is how you’ll get domed-shaped, tall muffins.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until tops are domed, puffed, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs dangling but no batter. Because the moisture content in strawberries varies, as do pan sizes, climates, and ovens, bake until done; watch your muffins and not the clock.
- Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before carefully removing. Muffins are best fresh, but will keep airtight for up to 5 days at room temp; or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
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