Mandarins this time of year are simply divine.
Full of juice, amazingly sweet and perfectly packaged these little babies make the ultimate on-the-go baby led weaning snack.
Lately, a day doesn’t go by without one of these bright orange autumnal fruits finding its way into our lunch box and ultimately Miss G’s. tummy. She absolutely adores them.
So in celebration of our go-to fruit of the moment I conjured up this batch of wonderful wholemeal strawberry and mandarin muffins.
And I couldn’t be more pleasantly surprised by the flavour combination. The strawberry and mandarin work beautifully together. While the mandarin adds a delightful aromatic citrus zest and flavour to the muffins the strawberries provide natural sweetness which is needed due to the intentional lack of sugar in the recipe.
For a little extra goodness I also decided to replace the white refined flour with the more hearty, wholesome and nourishing wholemeal variety.
This particular muffin recipe makes 12 strawberry studded beauties and I am more the happy to say they freeze wonderfully. Simply allow the muffins to cool completely, wrap individually, pop into a freezer bag or container and stash in the deep freeze for up to 3 months. I often pop a muffin straight from the freezer into Grace’s lunch box and by lunch time the muffin is defrosted and ready to devour.
I know I’ve said it before but muffins, along with a little fresh fruit, really do make a wonderful baby led weaning breakfast or morning tea snack. They’re the perfect shape for little hands to grip and nibble away on with ease and they’re gorgeously soft texture makes them an effortless snack from the very beginning of your baby led weaning journey. In fact, if Grace has been fussy with teething and off her food I’ll often bake a quick batch of fruit filled muffins to induce her appetite once again.
To create these super simple strawberry mandarin muffins simply…
Begin by preheating your oven to 180 degrees celsius (350F). Place the brown sugar and zest of three large mandarins into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine allowing the zest to infuse the sugar with all of its gorgeous mandarin flavour and fragrance.
To the mandarin sugar, add the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk and vanilla and whisk to combine.
Add the wholemeal flour and baking powder and gently stir to combine. Do not overwork the batter.
Gently fold through the chopped strawberries.
Use a 1/4 measuring cup to ladle the strawberry specked batter into a 12 hole muffin tin lined with papers. Gently press a piece of strawberry into the top of each muffin and bake for 15 minutes or until golden. To test if the muffins are cooked simply press the top of a muffin, if the muffin bounces back they’re done.
Allow the muffins to cool for five minutes or so before removing from the tin to cool completely on a wire rack.
Enjoy alongside a little fruit for a gorgeous baby led weaning breakfast, morning tea or snack. X
strawberry & mandarin muffins
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
zest of 3 large mandarins
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil (any lightly flavoured oil is fine such as light olive oil, cold pressed macadamia nut oil etc)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups wholemeal plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 punnet strawberries, hulled and diced PLUS 4 strawberries hulled and quartered for decoration
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (350F). Place the brown sugar and mandarin zest into a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine. Add the flour and baking powder and lightly mix until just combined. Gently fold through the diced strawberries. Use a 1/4 measuring cup to ladle the muffin batter into a 12 hole muffin tin lined with papers. Gently press a piece of strawberries into each muffin. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and cooked. To test if the muffins are cooked simply press the top of a muffin, if the muffin bounces back they’re done. Enjoy x
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