Strawberry & Cream Muffins

These muffins are delicious, especially still warm. I make them several times in late spring and early summer when the strawberries are in season and on sale. They are wonderfully moist and perfectly sweet. Make sure to pat the strawberries dry or you could end up with soggy muffins.
Original recipe from Jane’s Sweets & Baking Journal.
Makes 12-14 regular muffins
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp. + 1/4 vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
3/4 + 1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped into very small pieces
4 oz. cream cheese, very soft
1 1/2 Tbsp. of liquid from one whole egg that’s been beaten lightly

1. Preheat oven to 400. Put paper liners in the cups of your muffin pan.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, the beaten egg, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract. Mix until almost all the lumps are gone. Set this aside. (Do not chill.)
3. Melt the butter slowly in a sauce pan on low heat. Add 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla, almond extract, and  milk into the butter & stir to combine. Cool until the mixture is just warm, then whisk in the eggs.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour all of the butter, milk, and egg mixture into the dry ingredients, blending just until combined. Don’t overmix.
6. Fill each muffin cup barely half full. Scatter a few pieces of strawberry on top of each one.
7. Dab a generous teaspoonful or so of the cream cheese mixture on top of the berries.
8. On top of that, add on another tablespoon or two of the muffin batter. On top of that, add a few more pieces of strawberry. Push them in just slightly.
9. Sprinkle the tops of the unbaked muffins very generously with coarse sugar for a nice sparkle.
10. Bake the muffins for about 15 to 18 minutes, until they’re light golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. (If muffins begin to brown too quickly, cover with foil.)
11. Let the muffins cool in the pan, on a rack, for a couple of minutes, then carefully remove them from the pan to cool the rest of the way on the rack.

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