Vegan Valentine – Strawberry Cherry Muffins

My aunt Janice gave me the cute tea towel with the hearts. So perfect for this photo! :)

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

I woke up this morning wanting to make some muffins for Daniel and me, and since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fun to make them pink. With the use of strawberry purée, I made them a light, natural shade of pink with no added food coloring. I also used organic cane sugar instead of white granulated sugar**. It has a different, fuller, more molasses-y taste to it, like turbinado sugar, but smaller crystals.

Make a batch to share with someone you love!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup strawberry puree*
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top

Directions

Refer to Delicious Lemon Muffins as a guide. Combine strawberry purée, oil, lemon zest, vanilla, and sugar in a large bowl and beat until completely incorporated. Add flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix until mostly combined. Add dried cherries and mix until just combined and cherries are evenly distributed. Portion into greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top of each muffin. Bake at 375 ºF for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack about 5 minutes before eating.

* Strawberry purée: I took a heaping cupful of frozen strawberries, let them thaw a bit in the blender, added about 1/4 cup water, and blended until smooth. This made about 1 cup purée. Add a few more strawberries if you wind up with too little purée. If you have too much, measure out 1 cup for the muffins, then add in more frozen fruit and some juice and blend it up to make a smoothie! :)

** Note about granulated sugar: You can certainly substitute white granulated sugar for the organic cane sugar if you like. Some vegans avoid granulated sugar because of the charcoal filters used in the process – the charcoal comes from animal bones. Organic cane sugar is vegan because it is simply evaporated cane juice, and is minimally processed. A surprising number of things we use on a day-to-day basis have animal by-products either in them, or used in the manufacture of them. This TED Talk by Christien Meindertsma takes a really fascinating look at the many uses of the parts of an ordinary pig. (I promise, it’s not propaganda. It’s a really cool, very matter-of-fact talk.)

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