These are not cupcakes dressed up in muffin's clothing. That generous drizzle of orange glaze over the top is definitely a treat, so if you're having these first thing in the morning consider them the baked good that replaces that pastry you usually pick up with a cup a coffee.
It's not sugar and spice, though! A mix of whole-wheat and all-purpose flour leaves these orange- and vanilla-scented muffins with nutty undertones and a hearty texture that makes them feel wholesome. The real highlight, though, is the ripple of fresh, chopped strawberries throughout and piled on top of each muffin.
A Smart Tip for Layering the Berries
While I was testing these muffins, Hali shared a tip with me about another way to marry the berries into the batter, and it proved to be a game-changer. Mix them right into the batter and the berries are likely to sink to the bottom — but layer them into the muffin wells, and you get berries in every inch of the muffin.
This tip was inspired by Stella Parks over at Serious Eats, where she suggests adding a cushion of batter to each muffin well before adding the berries and the remainder of the batter. Rather than sink to the bottom, the berries remain evenly studded throughout the center and top of the muffins. Our recipe slightly deviates from her tip, layering the berries into the muffin wells rather than folding them into the remaining batter. It prevents the berries from bleeding into the batter and delivers the same delicious outcome.
Read the original tip: Muffin Myth-Busting: Don't Waste Your Time Tossing Berries in Flour from Serious Eats
Have a container of bland berries on your hands? This is an exceptionally smart way to pull even more flavor out of them. Bland berries aren't great eaten out of hand, but the heat from baking draws out the fruit's natural sugars for a sweeter taste.
Orange and Strawberry Muffins
For the muffins:
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups chopped strawberries, divided
For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 to 4 teaspoons orange juice
Make the muffins: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Line a standard 12-well muffin pan with papers liners or coat the wells with cooking spray.
Whisk the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the zest, orange juice, oil, egg, and vanilla together in a medium bowl until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Some lumps are fine.
Add a large spoonful of batter to each muffin well, filling each well about 1/4 of the way. Add a couple heaping teaspoons of chopped berries to each muffin well. Evenly divide the remaining batter between the muffins wells. Top the muffins with the remaining chopped strawberries.
Bake until the muffins are golden-brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the glaze.
Make the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar and 3 teaspoons of orange juice in a small bowl. If necessary, add the remaining juice so the glaze has a thick, pourable consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the muffins.
Storage: The muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.