Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins

Are you an oatmeal lover? Recently I started adding strawberries to my breakfast oatmeal and thought the combination would make a pretty good muffin too. Several experimental batches later I now have a strawberry oatmeal muffin that I’m proud to share with you. Here’s the deal, you don’t just want to toss some chopped strawberries into an oatmeal muffin batter. You can if you want, but they won’t turn out as well as they could. Macerate the strawberries first in a little sugar with some balsamic vinegar, to concentrate and intensify the flavor of the strawberries. Macerating the berries first also releases some of the strawberries’ moisture, which will go into the batter where you want it.

One ingredient you might find odd in this recipe is the 1/4 teaspoon of finely ground black pepper. I don’t know what it is about black pepper, but just this small amount brightens the overall flavor of the muffin.

The muffins get plenty of leavening from eggs, baking powder, and baking soda. The baking soda and the baking powder will react with the yogurt and vinegar as soon as they come together, so work quickly. Do not let the batter sit around. Get it into a muffin tin and into the oven as soon as you can after you mix the wet and dry ingredients.

  • Prep: 20 minutes
  • Cook: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 12 muffins.

The addition of black pepper to this recipe is important, but make sure you are using finely ground black pepper, not coarsely ground. If all you have is coarsely ground, skip it.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 pound strawberries
  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Method

1 Mix the oats and plain yogurt together in a large bowl.

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2 Rinse and core the strawberries. Roughly chop the strawberries (I cut them in quarters lengthwise and then make one or two crosswise cuts). You should have about 1 1/2 cups of chopped strawberries. Place in a small bowl. Sprinkle with white sugar and balsamic vinegar. Gently stir to coat the strawberries with the sugar and vinegar.

3 Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a 12-well muffin tin by coating with butter or lining with paper muffin cups.

4 Whisk together in a medium bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, finely ground black pepper, and cinnamon.

5 Add the eggs, melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract to the oatmeal and yogurt mixture. Stir until just incorporated.

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6 Use a wooden spoon to gently stir the flour mixture into the oatmeal. Stir until just incorporated and the flour is moistened. Do not over-mix! Or your muffins will end up rubbery. The batter should be rather lumpy, not smooth.

7 Gently fold in the strawberries, including any of the sugary vinegary liquid the strawberries have been sitting in.

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8 Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin tin wells or cups. Bake until the tops are browned and the muffin bounces back when you gently press on the top with your finger tips, about 20 minutes. A bamboo or metal skewer inserted into the center should come out clean. Let cool for a couple minutes in the muffin tin before removing to serve.

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