Strawberry Rhubarb Bran Muffins

For the last few weeks I've been resisting the rhubarb at the farmer's market for no particular reason. I didn't have anything specific in mind for what to do with it, so I kept walking right on by. However, this past week I realized that if I didn't pick some up it would soon be gone, and then I would be very sad that I didn't enjoy this lovely spring vegetable (?) when I had the chance. First thing up, some baking with the classic strawberry rhubarb combination. I couldn't resist. Why mess with success? 

I recently ran across this simple bran muffin recipe and thought it looked like a winner. Sweetened with molasses and a little honey as well as a some applesauce, it's definitely more on the healthier side of the muffin spectrum. Since I almost never have applesauce around, I replaced it with mashed banana making these strawberry rhubarb banana bran muffins. Yes, the banana adds some of it's characteristic flavor to the muffin, but with the deep flavor of molasses as well as the strawberry and rhubarb it's really not that noticeable. Plus, I love bananas so it didn't matter that much to me. If you prefer a more neutral flavor, stick with the original applesauce. 

I halved this recipe and ended up making 8 muffins. I was going to make 6 but there was too much batter for that! This may be due to the fact that I just threw in a banana that had been hanging out in my freezer for far too long without measuring it. The batter was likely a little wetter than it was supposed to be, but it all worked out deliciously in the end!

These muffins turned out moist and sticky, strongly flavored with molasses so if you're not such a huge molasses fan just be warned. I'm guessing you can replace some of the molasses with a little more honey, but I haven't tried that yet. However, these muffins were so easy and nutritions that I know I'll be experimenting with them more in the future. 

 
 

Strawberry Rhubarb Bran Muffins
Adapted from Food 52
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (30 grams) wheat bran
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of a mix of chopped rhubarb and strawberries
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup (85 grams) molasses
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a large bowl, whisk together the wheat bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the strawberries and rhubarb to the flour mixture.

In a medium bowl, mix together the milk, molasses, honey, egg, banana, and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Place 12 paper cups in a muffin pan, or grease the cups. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Greek Yogurt Tart with Sunflower Seed Crust

Well, June is here and after a chilly start to the week, it finally feels like it has actually arrived here in Michigan. June is a wonderful month, but for all it's greatness I think my favorite thing about June may be strawberries!! We wait so long for such a short season, but I try to enjoy every minute of it. This Greek yogurt tart is the perfect way to showcase this fruit in all of its splendor. I actually made this tart a few weeks back for a Memorial Day brunch I attended, but now that local strawberries are just beginning to arrive at the Farmer's market it's the perfect opportunity to give this recipe a try. Of course, as the summer goes on and other fruits come into season this tart can be adapted to pretty much whatever fruit you have on hand in a given moment. 

I was looking for something fresh, light and delicious to make for my brunch and my mind kept focusing on some kind of fresh tart. I didn't want it to have a traditional crust, but wanted something a little different. While browsing recipes I came across a savory sunflower seed crust over at Natural Girl Modern World and was intrigued. I decided to try adapting it a bit to work for me in a sweet application. With a few tweaks it came out great! More like a giant cookie crust as opposed to a traditional tart crust, exactly what I was looking for. It was perfect topped with some yogurt and fruit, kind of twist on the more traditional fruit and yogurt parfait - delicious. 

For the filling of this tart I wanted to go very simple. I took my homemade yogurt and strained it for several days until very thick and incredibly creamy. Store-bought yogurt would work just fine too, just make sure to buy plain yogurt to strain, not the flavored stuff, you can add sugar and flavorings yourself.  To the very thick yogurt I gently added a little honey, a little brown sugar, and some lemon zest. Not a lot of sugar, but just enough to add a touch of sweetness. Just taste and adjust until the flavors are to your liking. I spooned this sweetened yogurt into the crust and topped with the sliced berries. Done! Fresh and light, exactly what I was hoping for. 

 
 

Sunflower Seed Tart Crust
Adapted from Natural Girl Modern World
Ingredients

  • 1 cup (80 grams) oats 
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) flour
  • 3/4 cup (105 grams) sunflower seeds 
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons (63 grams) butter, chilled
  • 3  tablespoons (63 grams) honey 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom

Directions
In a food processor, blend oats until the texture of coarse sand. Add sunflower seeds and salt and blend until the seeds are also a crumb-like texture. This should only take 30 seconds to 1 minute. Over-blend and you'll start to make nut butter. Add the flour and pulse a few times to combine. Add the chilled butter and pulse a couple of times, until starting to come together. Add the honey and continue to pulse until a ball of dough forms. It will be sticky. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place into the back of your freezer for about 15 minutes, or refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight. 

While the dough chills, preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Remove dough from freezer and press it into prepared greased 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Aim for an even distribution of dough throughout the pan, pressing the dough together firmly to create a solid base. Using a fork, prick the bottom of the crust thoroughly to allow air to escape when baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it towards the end of baking to ensure the edges don't over-brown. Set aside to cool before filling. 

Festive Lemon Berry Bars

Happy Fourth a few days late! I hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was incredibly relaxing and lazy, exactly what I was hoping for! One of the few things I did accomplish during this wonderful weekend was baking up a batch of these festive and delicious lemon berry bars. I wanted an easy and quick dessert that was summery and fitting for the 4th of July. These bars fit the bill perfectly, filled with colorful red and blue berries and topped with a simple white glaze. The hint of lemon from some fresh lemon juice and zest was the perfect way to brighten them up for the middle of summer. Light and refreshing, these bars will be wonderful all season long!

The original recipe for these bars called for just blueberries, but I wanted to make them more festive for the holiday so I threw in the strawberries too because I had them on hand. Raspberries would have also been really good. I think pretty much any berry would do very nicely in these bars, so don't feel constrained to just blueberries and/or strawberries. 

When I first pulled the bars out of the oven they looked kind of funny. Since there is no leavening in them, they didn't really rise much, and the top was covered in bubbles which you can kind of see in the pictures. I wasn't sure what they would look like in the end, but once I cut them, and especially after adding the glaze they looked really nice, and quite delicious. So if they turn out a little funny looking at first, have no fear! Just cut them up once cool and add a nice hefty dose of glaze and all should be well!

Festive Lemon Berry Bars

Adapted from 

Sweet Pea's Kitchen

Ingredients

For the Bars:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated zest 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, cut into small pieces

For the Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of water or fresh lemon juice 

Directions

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8” x 8” pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, about 20 seconds. Add lemon juice and vanilla and mix to combine. Add flour and salt, mixing until incorporated. Fold in blueberries and strawberries.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake until skewer inserted into brownies comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack to room temperature.

To make the lemon glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and water or lemon juice. Spread over bars and let firm up, about 10 minutes.

Strawberry Coffee Cake

It may no longer be strawberry season, but that doesn't mean you can't keep those early summer flavors alive throughout the summer, and even the entire year, especially if you were able to freeze a couple bags of those peak season berries a few months back. This coffee cake is the perfect way to tantalize those tastebuds with the bright, summery sweetness of juicy red strawberries topping a fluffy, tender cake. The whole thing is sprinkled with a chunky, buttery streusel and baked to perfection. Invite a few friends over, brew up some coffee and you've got yourself the best kind of party.

For whatever reason, I was recently craving a tall and beautiful strawberry breakfast cake. It surprised me that so many of the recipes I came across, although they looked very tasty, were such short cakes. I wanted something with a little more stature and this cake delivered just what I was looking for. It's difficult for me to not top my breakfast cakes with a generous layer of streusel so on it went once again. I thought it was a wonderful combination, something I will return to without a doubt.

Strawberry Coffee Cake

Heavily adapted from 

Tidy Mom

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2-1/2 cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup (2 3/4 oz) greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup (5 oz) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2-3 cups sliced strawberries

Topping

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (1.75 oz) granulated sugar
  • heaping 1/2 cup (3 oz) flour
  • pinch salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, set aside. In a small bowl whisk together the yogurt, milk, and egg yolks. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 

Add the wet and dry ingredients alternatively to the butter and sugar mixture, starting and ending with the dry, mixing until just combined after each addition. 

Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Clean the bowl of the stand mixture and add the egg whites to it. Beat until firm peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter. 

Pour into greased 9 inch springform pan. Spread the strawberries on top. To make the topping, mix all the ingredients in a bowl with your fingers until crumbly. Spread on top of strawberries.

Bake for 45-50 minutes. Until lightly brown on top. Allow to cool, then remove from pan.