strawberry mini muffins: not above it all


I wanna say I am above this whole Royal wedding hoopla created in anticipation of the grand event tomorrow, April 29th.  I mean, the world has more consuming issues to attend to and in the microcosm of my day-to-day, I’ve certainly got bigger fish to fry.  I wanna join Ad Age and The New York Times in their scoffing at Papa John’s Pizza for actually making a pizza portrait of William and Kate.  I wanna.  I really wanna.  Heck, there are tornadoes destroying entire communities all over this country.


But I can’t help but be swept away in the Royal frill.  I gawk at the television snippets.  And speculate with the paparazzi when I break down and buy one of those cheesy magazines at the supermarket checkout.  And soak in the circus feel born with so much of this event  under wraps.


There really are so many opportunities for the mind to become distracted in all this.  Did the pizza artist use a careful combo of anchovies, olives, and peppers to create subtle shading in Kate’s hair? (Is pizza art a profession?) What on earth does a tea biscuit cake, made properly, taste like?  Will Kate’s dress be a poofy Cinderella ensemble or a chic, elegant svelte number? (I’m rooting for number two.)


This obsession with royal nuptials began in my childhood. I  proudly retell whomever cares to listen that on that fateful day young  Diana was wed to the dashing (okay, not the best adjective for the guy but it works well with the story) Prince Charles, I stood on the sidelines, squished amongst many a sweaty bystander, waiting for a glimpse of the princess and her prince.


Okay, so I was ten and probably all I saw was the person’s butt in front of me, but still, there was that wonder, that deliciously flawed fairy-tale that all ten-year old girls breathe in, of the beautiful princess marrying her prince.  It sounded good back then, and, even though I am much older and hopefully a bit wiser now, a chip of that magic seems to have stuck with my nostalgia and ferried its way up to a healthy intrigue with this present day Royal lovefest.


I didn’t invent the wheel on this, I realize. We are a country obsessed with glitz and celebrities.  Add royalty and it’s even better.  Entertainment Tonight is a thriving show for some good reason (I gather) and even CBS Evening news anchor Katie Couric has climbed aboard the fawning bandwagon as an excuse to hang out in London all this week.


And I’m really not that bad.  I won’t wake up at 4 a.m. to watch the wedding.  Nor will I partake in TLC’s mega marathon 8-hour coverage of the event.  But I will shamelessly use the occasion as an excuse to bake, preparing delicious mini-strawberry cupcakes as a tribute to the British scone, but American style.  The recipe comes from Nigella Lawson (another nod to the Brits!) but I got it from the back of People magazine (purchased during one of those trashy moments of weakness.)

I made this batch with my son.  He is eight and still enjoys hearing me blabber on about my youth.  No eye rolling, yet.  He has no clue who the hell William and Kate are and his life appears to be quite enriched and happy nonetheless.  But man, the kid can dice up strawberries like there’s no tomorrow and measure and mix like a pro.  That and the eyelashes official crown him as prince of this household.


Strawberry Mini-Muffins

(Nigella Lawson)

1 cup strawberries, diced into quarter-inch pieces
1 squeeze of lemon juice
1 cup flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 24-cup mini muffin tin with paper baking cups.

Put diced strawberries into a bowl, spritz lemon juice on them and stir gently to combine.

In a medium-size bowl, stir together flour, sugar and baking powder.
In a small bowl, beat together oil, sour cream, vanilla and egg.
Pour mixture over dry ingredients, stirring to combine with a wooden spoon. Fold in strawberries.
Divide batter evenly among the paper cups in the mini-muffin tin. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
Place tin on a wire rack and leave for 5 minutes.
Take out the muffins and continue to cool on wire rack.
When completely cool, dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 24 mini muffins

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