Ben and I have been fighting about vanilla the past few weeks. Namely, our vanilla walls. (We agreed that the Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt Muffins are delightful and can stay.)
When we moved into our new house last September (well, my new house—Ben lived in it from the ages of 7 to 18. That story here), I foolishly believed that we’d have our belongings thoughtfully stowed, our home bar in place, and our pictures hung in time to throw a Christmas party.
Reality: the wreckage of our old dining room table is still scattered across the basement, and there’s an unpacked box of Ben’s childhood toys in the center of our family room as I type this.
We have made some progress. We repainted our entire first floor, replaced our stackable plastic drawers with grown-up furniture, and changed out our electrical sockets without starting a fire, all of which I consider an achievement. I’m becoming more accepting of the fact that turning a “house” into a “home” takes time (a lot of it) and tempering my nagging honey-do list accordingly. One unfinished aspect of our move, however, I simply could not let alone: our plain vanilla walls.
Our house is in an ultra-woodsy area, so it stays fairly shaded during the day. A photographer and sunshine junky, I wanted to paint the walls a color that would reflect as much natural light as possible during the day, so we chose a paint that I most appropriately described as vanilla (or French vanilla. If you buy a lot of vanilla ice cream, you know the one I mean.)
While the light, creamy color does add an airiness that I love, without pictures the walls felt sterile. Finally, I reached a breaking point—I could handle Ben’s toys being out (doesn’t it sound like I’m talking about my son there?), but I could not stand the bare vanilla walls for one more second. At my insistence, we spent an entire Saturday combing our old hard drives for pictures, bought out the entire frame selection at World Market, and then Ben gave me the best anniversary present of all: he hung every single picture in our whole house.
Now when I look around, instead of seeing vanilla, I see beautiful reminders of the people we love and the places we’ve been fortunate to travel. Our once-empty walls fill me with gratitude.
Apparently vanilla eked its way into my brain, because I became captivated by the idea of baking a muffin so bursting with vanilla flavor, it would be vibrant and unmistakable, two adjectives I almost never use when referring to vanilla. I didn’t want to bake vanilla (i.e. boring) muffins; I wanted VANILLA muffins in the truest sense of the term.
Vanila-Packed Fluffy Strawberry Muffins
To achieve my very vanilla goal, I packed three types of vanilla into the muffin batter: vanilla Greek yogurt, Silk vanilla soy milk, and vanilla bean paste.
The yogurt makes the muffins unbelievably moist and adds protein, the soy milk packs even more protein (these babies are filling!), and the vanilla bean paste is luxurious and has a highly concentrated vanilla flavor. I love the pretty speckles it adds to the batter too. (This vanilla bean paste and this one are both fabulous.)
Though the yogurt muffins would be lovely as is, I couldn’t resist the urge to stir in a handful of juicy ripe strawberries. Feel free to swap other fruit or toss in a handful of chocolate chips as you feel so called.
How to Store and Freeze Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt Muffins
- To Store. Store leftover muffins in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To Freeze. Place muffins in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. I like to individually wrap each muffin so I can thaw them as desired.
More Marvelous Muffins
- Applesauce Muffins
- Coconut Flour Muffins
- Healthy Banana Muffins
- Raspberry Muffins
- Buttermilk Crunch Muffins
Whether you pack them for a snack, eat one on the run, or serve a big basket at your next brunch, I hope these Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt Muffins bring you a bit of the brightness and gratitude I feel when I look at my vanilla walls.
Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt Muffins
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour or substitute additional all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or substitute 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt I used non-fat Greek
- 1/4 cup vanilla soy milk or unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 cup diced fresh strawberries
- Turbinado raw sugar or big sparkling sugar, for decorating
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a standard-sized muffin tin. In a large bowl, stir together the all purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the vanilla bean paste, eggs, butter, yogurt, and almond milk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour the wet ingredients into the center. Stir by hand, just until combined. The batter may be slightly lumpy. Gently fold in the strawberries.
- Divide batter evenly between the prepared muffin tins and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 16-20 minutes, until the tops spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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