I’ve been testing these strawberry white chocolate muffins periodically for the last few months. At first because I really wanted to tweak them until I got the perfect golden-domed tops.
But later on, I realized that it’s because nothing transports me to the briefly perfect British summer quite as much as fresh strawberries.
Typical strawberry muffin recipes just chop fresh berries and plunk them straight into the batter. In my testing, I found that letting the chopped strawberries sit in a light sprinkle of sugar to draw out their juices makes for a richer strawberry flavor that isn’t so reduced by their natural water content.
It also allows the muffins to keep a little better, since they don’t release all of that water into the batter as they bake, which means, in turn, that the strawberry pieces don’t create softer, wetter spots around them in the batter that will go soggy over time.
I like to go a little lighter on the white chocolate chips than I usually would, since a heavy hand can out-sing the strawberries that really should be the star of these muffins. Some varieties of white chocolate chips offer a heavy hand of sugary sweetness and not much else, so I like to choose those that are more creamy tasting than overly sickly.
I did test a batch of these muffins with chopped white chocolate for a fancier choice, but found that the flavor disappeared along with the white chocolate once it melted – ghost-like – into the batter.
This is one place where chocolate chips really do what they’re supposed to do, dotting the chocolate throughout.
If you have the time, most muffins do benefit from a period of rest before hitting the hot oven and these strawberry white chocolate muffins are no exception. I tested this batter with resting periods starting at the half hour it takes for my oven to thoroughly pre-heat all the way, up to overnight.
The extra time allows the flour to hydrate and the batter to thicken, which results in a more tender crumb and lovely lofty tops.
In the end, I did write the recipe with the shortest resting time, since I suspect many of us are just not able to stand the wait, but if you find you need to come to an unavoidable stop part way through, just know that the batter is forgiving enough to spend the night, covered, in the refrigerator.
Lastly, the turbinado sugar is a little over the top and what takes these muffins firmly into bakery-style territory. Be lovingly generous with your sprinkling and you will be rewarded with a contrasting crunchy layer that gives way to softly-perfect muffin tops and fruit-filled perfection beneath.
My recipe testing is to your muffin-eating gain!
Bakery Style Strawberry White Chocolate Muffins
These strawberry white chocolate muffins are the best of both worlds: tender, fluffy fruit filled interiors with bakery style crunchy tops.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes plus resting / preheating time
- Yield: 12 large muffins 1x
- Category: baking
- Method: oven baked
For the strawberries:
- 12 oz / 340 g strawberries, chopped into bite size pieces, about 2 generous cups
- 2 tablespoons / 30 g granulated sugar
For the muffin batter:
- 4 tbsp / 56 g unsalted butter
- ¼ cup / 60 ml neutral flavored oil
- ¾ cup / 125 g granulated sugar
- ½ cup / 100 g light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, see notes
- ½ cup / 120 ml yogurt
- ½ cup / 120 ml whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons / 8 ml vanilla extract
- 2 ¾ cups / 345 g all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp / 15 g double acting baking powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup / 100 g white chocolate chips
- turbinado sugar for sprinkling
MACERATE: Sprinkle the chopped strawberries with the sugar in a medium mixing bowl and stir to coat evenly. Let the berries sit until they release their juices and are bright and shiny with syrup, about 30 – 60 minutes, stirring once or twice. If you like, this step can be done in advance, letting the berries sit in the fridge up to overnight.
WARM: In a medium heat proof bowl large enough for the wet ingredients, gently heat the butter until it is just melted. Don’t let it bubble or brown. Stir in the oil.
COMBINE: Sprinkle both sugars over the top of the oil. Use a spatula to bring together into a sugar paste. The mixture should now be room temperature so that the eggs won’t curdle or cook when added.
WHISK: Add the eggs and whisk until the mixture is smooth and a caramel color. Whisk in the yogurt, milk and then lastly the vanilla until all the wet ingredients are combined and a lightly yellow hue.
DRAIN: Strain the chopped strawberries through a fine mesh and discard the liquid. If the strawberries are still fairly wet, pat them dry with a clean cloth or tip them back into the bowl lined with some paper towels so that they absorb any extra liquid. You should have at least 10 oz / 280 g of chopped drained strawberries.
MIX: Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is barely combined with flecks of flour throughout. Add the white chocolate chips and just stir through. Lastly, gently fold in the strawberries until just evenly mixed through the batter and no pockets of dry flour remain. Don’t over mix or try to make smooth as this will dry out the batter.
CHILL: Cover the batter and place in the fridge to rest, hydrate and thicken while the oven preheats to 425 F / 218 C. Make sure the oven is true to temperature with an oven thermometer! It is critical that the oven reaches this temperature to ensure a quick rise and beautiful domed muffin tops, see notes.
FILL: When the oven has come to temperature, pop paper muffin liners into a 12 well muffin pan. Split the muffin batter evenly, filling each well until it is a little mounded over the tops. Sprinkle each with a generous amount of turbinado sugar for lovely crunchy tops once baked.
BAKE: Slide the muffins into the oven on the center rack and bake for 5 minutes, until the tops puff and rise, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 F / 177 C without opening the door. Bake until the muffin tops are lightly golden and no wet batter remains in the center, about another 15 minutes.
COOL: Transfer the baked muffins to a trivet for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Set up a cooling rack next to the muffin pan and gently twist each muffin free from the hot pan. If necessary, a little spatula popped carefully under each muffin top will help any sticky fruit release from the pan. Transfer each muffin to cool completely on the rack.
I like to make these by hand because it is very easy to overmix the batter with a mixer. If you do use a mixer, do so as gently as possible when adding the wet ingredients to the dry. It’s OK if there are a few lumps, akin to a pancake batter.
Don’t be tempted to skip the macerating step. Letting the strawberries release plenty of their natural water helps to concentrate their flavor without adding extra liquid to the batter, which in turn gives you a higher rise and a better texture.
Room temperature eggs, yogurt and milk make for an easier, more evenly mixed batter that won’t curdle and is better hydrated for a tender, moist muffin. I like to set out these ingredients to come to temperature while the strawberries macerate.
Oven temperature is critical! Check and ensure that your oven temperature is accurate, don’t just rely on your oven’s preheating beep – my own oven takes an additional ten minutes after that point to actually reach the required temperature in the center of the oven. This burst of high heat at the beginning is what will give you the beautiful, well risen tops that are central to this bakery style of muffin.
The sugar-topped muffins give a lovely crunchy contrast to the softer muffin beneath. That said, the sugar can draw moisture from the muffin and result in softer tops if you store the muffins for too long in an airtight container. To keep the tops crunchy, place the muffins in a paper towel lined container and pop the lid at one corner to allow excess moisture to escape without condensing back down onto the muffins overnight. If you keep the muffins for longer than the next day after baking, you can seal up the container completely to keep them fresh.
I recommend white chocolate chips in this recipe, since chopped white chocolate will just melt and disappear into the batter.
If you like, the mixed batter can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking, with no ill effect on the rise of the tops. Make sure you are using double acting baking powder, or your rise will flop!