Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins with Strawberry Butter

This morning, I made a choice between hiking through half a mile of snow or paying almost $2 to ride a bus. This afternoon, I had to make the same decision again. In fact, because my town doesn't salt or plow some of the sidewalks I use, I'll have to make this choice each and every day until the snow melts.

However, in some places, the weather in early March is a little bit more desirable, and luckily there are some ways to enjoy the perks of those warmer climates even if you find yourself under Punxatawny Phil's curse for a few more weeks.

The trick? Strawberries. Right now, in Florida, it's strawberry season. That means east coasters can get the juicy, red fruits shipped from down south instead of out west. For those of us in the mid-Atlantic, this means fresher, sweeter, and cheaper berries than we could get earlier in the winter. 

Next time you're in your grocery store, look for strawberry labels from Plant City, FL. These berries may be a little smaller than the California variety, but trust me, they are so worth it. Rinse them and eat them for breakfast. Put some in your cereal or a spinach salad. Or, blend them up into a sweet strawberry butter, perfect for these oatmeal chocolate chip muffins.

Plant City strawberries are basically all the best parts of the weird Florida seasons, without having to actually move there and deal with summer.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/4 c Quick oats
1 c Whole wheat flour
1 tsp Salt
1 Egg
1 1/4 c Milk
1/2 c Vegetable oil
3/4 c Brown sugar, packed
2 tsp Baking soda
2 tsp Cornstarch
3/4 c Chocolate chips

1. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt, and mix thoroughly.
2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, milk, and egg. Once mixed well, gradually stir in the dry ingredients.
3. Stir until just mixed, and then let sit for about 10 minutes.
4. Fold in the chocolate chips and separate into a greased or lined muffin pan.
5. Bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Remove from pan and cool on a rack. Serve with strawberry butter.

Strawberry Butter

1/2 c Butter, unsalted, softened (one stick)
3/4 c (about 5-6) Strawberries, chopped
2 Tbsp Powdered sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
Splash of heavy cream

1. In a small bowl, place the chopped strawberries and the sugar. Mash the berries and mix using a fork, pastry blender, or potato masher.
2. Add the butter to a large bowl with a splash of cream and the salt. Mix using an electric mixer on medium.
3. Add the strawberry mixture and continue mixing until fully incorporated.
4. Transfer to a small bowl or ramekin and chill in the fridge until ready to use. Or freeze for longer storage

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