They say that the quickest way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, so it’s only logical that the main fixture of a Valentine’s Day celebration seems to be something edible. While chocolate candies tend to take center stage for obvious reasons, there are endless other possibilities for equally romantic treats, especially for those who prefer something sweet that isn’t such an over-the-top indulgence. … Or maybe at least something delicious they can eat in addition to their truffles and bonbons.
Brainstorming ways to spoil my family and friends, I dug through cupboards full of forgotten baking hardware, searching for perhaps a cute cookie cutter or two. Pushing a rusted baking sheet out of the way, I uncovered a long lost treasure that must have been with our family for a solid two decades at the least: A plastic muffin pan, bearing 6 precious heart-shaped orifices.
Corny and ubiquitous, but after stumbling upon such a find, there was clearly no way around making adorable heart shaped food for this holiday yet again. Having gone the route of sugary chocolate cupcakes last year, I instead opted for something with berries that could be considered an excellent breakfast-in-bed sort of item. Muffins fit the bill perfectly. If that’s not really your cup of tea, all you need to do is whip up a simple frosting and you’ve got another cupcake recipe on your hands, albeit slightly healthier if anything.
No matter how many times I take a gamble and give the fresh strawberries on the market a try, they simply aren’t up to par for an application like this, so frozen are a good dependable option, always consistent no matter the season. Thawing created a good amount of juice which turned my batter a gorgeous shade of pink, but it sadly faded as the muffins browned during cooking. Not an issue in my eyes, but food coloring could also be added if tinted food really gets you going. The only real danger is bursting berries during cooking – You could end up with a bleeding heart!
But in all seriousness, these are perhaps the ideal Valentine’s offering – Moist with a fine, soft crumb, and oh so delicious. Of course regular muffins that don’t take the form of hearts work just as well if you lack the necessary equipment. Whatever vessel ends up becoming a home to your blushing batter, the muffins are guaranteed to elicit gratitude and delight regardless. Nothing is better than a special breakfast for your sweetie, and by making muffins the night before, you don’t even need to wake up early to prepare it. Lightly warmed through and topped with a dollop of strawberry preserves, it may be difficult to find a reason to leave bed again once you present these bad boys to your love.
1 1/2 Cups AP Flour
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
¾ Cup Vanilla Soymilk
1/3 Cup Canola Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Frozen Strawberries, Thawed
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease 12 muffin tins.
Begin by mixing together your dry ingredients (Flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda.) Gently stir in soymilk, oil, and vanilla but be careful not to over-mix. A few lumps are okay! Fold in your thawed strawberries and pour batter into muffin tins, ¾ of the way to the top. Slide you filled tins into the oven and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on your oven. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick; When they’re ready to come out, the toothpick will remain dry.
Fresh out of the oven, they are still young and impressionable, so don’t try to remove them immediately or you will end up with smushed, dented muffins! Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes inside their cooking vessel. Enjoy with someone you love.
[A small side note: I have recently been honored to join the fine folks over on the Well Fed Network, so I will now be contributing posts like this one that you can also view on Just Baking. Go check it out and get inspired to fire up your oven again!]