Strawberry Coconut Heath Muffins
Let’s be clear, that says HEATH not HEALTH muffins. I don’t want you to get worried I might be sneaking healthy recipes in here right now. The only thing I’m sneaking in is chocolate into your breakfast muffins. Moving on. I think Mother Nature woke up a few weeks ago, graced us with a few beautiful days, then fell back to sleep and has been hitting snooze ever since. I’m about ready to get an airhorn and wake that lady up because I am sick of this cold weather. Yeah yeah yeah I’m thrilled the last bit of snow finally melted a week ago (no lie) but lezbihonest here, we are ready for warmer weather. So bring it on Mother Nature. Regardless of whether or not it gets above 50, I’ve decided I’m just going to channel thoughts of warmer weather and pretend that it’s not frikkin cold. So I decided to bust out the strawberries this weekend for some summery baking.
My friend Sarah, who is smarter than me and already has moved down south to NC (the location of our eventual bakery … one day), was posting pictures the other morning of her large haul of fresh strawberries and ideas for recipes. Since I had a full container of fresh strawberries in the fridge and was supposed to be out of town all week I decided to put those bad boys to good use for some Sunday morning experimenting. If you follow my Instagram, there are basically 3 things I post: sunrises/sunsets, my dinner, and Pinkberry (which often is my dinner when I’m at the airport). I’m not a big fan of eating a big meal before flying, and lately I’ve been able to catch the earlier flights on fly-home-Thursdays from Philly, so I’ve gotten into a routine over the past 6 months of eating Pinkberry for dinner pre-flight. Lucky for me I have a sixth sense in tracking down the Pinkberry in any airport. I’ve had Pinkberry for dinner in the past few months at PHL, BOS, SLC, and ATL (just to name a few). My go-to flavor combination is Strawberry, Coconut and Heath Bar. I never stray from that combo I’m all hashtag no regrets.
So in thinking how I could get this into a muffin, I decided to take my solid muffin base (inspired by Sally’s Bake Blog) and just throw in a bunch of fresh strawberries, sweetened coconut (untoasted) and heath bar. That’s the beauty of baking – sometimes if you perfect the base of a cookie or a muffin, you can really just wing the rest of the ingredients and 9 times out of 10 it turns out delicious. And in this case, it was a very sweet strawberry success!
Yield: 18 muffins
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup milk*
- 1/2 cup canola oil **
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, diced
- 1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
- 3/4 cup chopped heath bar pieces (optional)
*You can also use Buttermilk. I used half & half for this recipe since it was all I had on-hand but my preference for muffins is buttermilk.
**You can substitute vegetable oil
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Whisk in the milk, canola oil and vanilla extract until there are no sugar lumps.
Step 2: In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. I use Vietnamese Cinnamon from King Arthur Flour which is worth the investment, trust me. It has a noticeably different flavor and can really spice up your recipes (literally).
Step 3: Using a wooden spoon, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients. Mix slowly until all of the flour is incorporated, being careful not to overmix.
Step 4: Using a spatula, fold in the fresh strawberries, coconut and heath pieces. You can also omit the heath pieces if you don’t like them (or are allergic) or feel free to substitute mini-chocolate chips if you still want that sweetness.
My friend Jess gave me this bowl and spatula for my birthday from William Sonoma, which is perfect for muffins because it also has the little spout at the end and the handle on the bowl helps for you to get traction when mixing.
Step 5: Line regular-size muffin tins with paper liners and spray the inside with non-stick spray. Fill the cups up all the way with muffin batter. Top with a sprinkle of coconut.
Step 6: Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 22-26 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are lightly brown and firm to touch. The first 5 minutes helps to get that nice crunchy muffin top. Let them cool for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
Cinnamon, strawberry and coconut is an amazing flavor combination. Add in the light, but not overpowering, sweetness of the heath chocolate pieces, and you’ve got yourself a dynamic morning muffin. The best part of these muffins is that the top is nice and crunchy, especially with the toasted coconut on top, but as you can see the inside of the muffin is nice and moist and airy.
I thought I was going to have to fly out this morning so luckily my friend Heather picked these up from me last night to be my taste tester and make sure they did not go to waste. Always good to have friends who are willing to test out new recipes for you. So let’s see, what happened last week. Well, lots of things work-wise. I was in Philadelphia again (like I have been every week for the past 6 months) Tuesday through Thursday because there was some big convention downtown on Monday so all of the hotels were sold out. My regular hotel was still sold out Tuesday so three of us ended up staying at the Sheraton University City which is right on the campus of UPenn. The nice part about this was, despite being further away from work, we got to try out a new food scene and see a new part of the city. We had a great dinner Tuesday night at the White Dog Cafe. Then Wednesday morning I took my regular gym class at 6am and then decided to run back to the hotel which had a really pretty view over the Schuylkill River. Wednesday afternoon was a gorgeous day in Philly, so my friend Havy and I decided to venture out for lunch to one of our new favorite places to grab takeout – Hip City Veg. All the food is vegan, but surprising (to my judgy self) it is also delicious. I’ve now become an addict of their Chinese Noodle Salad and Green Iced Tea. We even had a break in the day to be able to enjoy in the sunshine. Though we lost 15 years off our lives when a bike tire exploded from the heat and sounded like a bomb went off 5 feet away from us. Wednesday night we ventured to Sampan for dinner, which is a very cool Asian fusion restaurant that we’ve been to a few times. We keep trying to hit up happy hour at the Oyster House where there are drink specials and $1 oysters until 7pm, but we never make it out of work in time to get a seat. So luckily delicious food was just around the corner for us. And then as a much-needed hump day treat, we picked up some gelato from Capogiro Gelato which was SO good.
Thursday night was one of those rare seamless problem-free travel days. My 5:15pm flight was wheels up by 5:20pm and I was back home before 6:45pm. Stopped at home, watered the flowers, swapped out my clothes and was in my car by 7:20 en route to Cape Cod for the weekend. I’ve been waiting ALL winter for it to be Cape weekend time again. Usually by March we head down there for a visit, but our driveway was still ice-covered by the end of the month. Not cool Mother Nature, not cool.
You wouldn’t recognize me if you saw me down the Cape. I am nothing but relaxed, calm and happy. Totally stress free. I start my mornings in the sunroom by the fireplace with a hot cup of coffee. In the words of my Uncle Jimmy “forgetaboutit”
Friday night my mom and I watched the Bruce Jenner interview along with the rest of America. Well the rest of America except Skip who refused to watch with us. We also watched Up in the Air, because I am sickly obsessed with that movie. Saturday afternoon we hit up Chatham for some shopping which was nice to do pre-Summer-tourist-season when you don’t have to drive around for a parking spot. And after dinner we came home to this beautiful sunset on the lake. Himanana yippa yippa nana. (The opening scene to the Lion King, obviously). Sunday after baking in the morning, my friend Amanda and I took a long 6-mile walk down to the Seaport and Quincy Market. We stopped at the Aquarium to spend some time with these funny sea lions. This guy was all like “gahhhh I don’t want it to be Monday!” and I was like, I know dude, I feel you.
We picked up a quick snack in Quincy Market, these pretzel bites didn’t compare to my homemade ones but hit the spot. And that’s it really. Well except for the fact my entire work travel schedule is totally up in limbo and I don’t do well with uncertainty (I mean, have you met me??) My Philly project ended suddenly on Friday so I’m heading there tomorrow to finish up a few things, and then TBD. With summer around the corner, fingers crossed I’ll be seeing more of Boston from the ground than 30,000 feet above. In the meantime, I’ve got lots of fun things to keep me busy next month – and I’m most looking forward to my trip to Portland, Oregon at the end of the month for the Indulge Conference. That’s right, I’m officially going to my first food blogger conference and where better to do it than Portland, a city that’s been on my foodie bucket list for a while. So if you have any Portlandia tips for me, send them over!