Goat Cheese Stuffed Strawberry Muffins

Sometimes cooking for two is a challenge.  What?!?  Cooking for two?  That’s not hard at all, you say.  But Luke and I have palates that seem to have come from different planets.  He’s definitely a meat-and-potatoes-what’s-that-green-thing-doing-on-my-plate kind of guy.

And while I’m not on the opposite end of the spectrum trying to work kale, chard or tofu into our every dinner, I do enjoy foods other than meat and potatoes.

I know that when I think about what to make for dinner, or breakfast, or any meal, I think about what my own taste buds desire first.  I mean, I am the one putting in all the effort to get the dang meal made.  This can be hazardous though, as some of the ingredients I love to cook with are reviled by my co-habitant.

I usually end up scraping my ideas if they involve any of these contraband items, but sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I make things just for me, knowing Luke will never want to lay a finger on them.  I do this because I can’t help myself.  My culinary curiosity gets the better of me.

Some concepts just intrigue me too much.  Like these muffins.  Luke abhors goat cheese, and while  I wouldn’t eat it with a spoon, I still enjoy its flavor in other dishes.  I particularly like it here, as a filling for these summery muffins.

The bright strawberries and tart goat cheese play off each other beautifully, rounded out by a pleasantly sweet muffin shell topped with turbinado sugar.  These are muffins that make me smile, even if they make a certain someone frown.

Goat Cheese Filled Strawberry Muffins

Adapted from Eating Well

Makes 12-15 muffins

3/4 cup (6 oz) crumbled soft goat cheese

2 Tbsp honey

1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest

1 ¼ tsp vanilla extract, divided

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 large egg white

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup fresh strawberries, diced

3 Tbsp turbinado sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or coat with cooking spray.  I got 15 muffins out of this recipe, so be warned you may need your muffin tin twice.

Thoroughly combine goat cheese, honey, lemon zest and 1/4 tsp vanilla in a small bowl; set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Lightly beat eggs and egg white in a medium bowl; add brown sugar and the remaining 1 tsp vanilla and whisk until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in buttermilk and oil until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in strawberries.

Spoon half the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Add a generous teaspoon of the reserved cheese filling to the center of each muffin, and cover with the remaining batter. Sprinkle the tops with sugar.

Bake until the edges start to brown and the tops spring back when gently pressed, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

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