I love picking strawberries. As long as I remember, my mother, brother,and I would go to a local farm and pick strawberries for hours. We would go home and she would make strawberry compote, jams, breads, and all sorts of other delicious treats with the strawberries we would pick.
My children from only a few months of age would sit in strawberries fields with Mama as I would pick the ruby red jewels from between dusty green leaves, rinse them with a bottle of water I would bring and give them to my children to eat. The berries would still be warm and sweet from the sun and we would always leave the fields with my children's faces painted red and smiling, sleepy from the sun.
We recently went berry picking for our first time here in the Midwest and I baked a favorite. Chlebek Truskawkowy or Polish Strawberry Bread.
I baked two loaves and 20 muffins with this recipe (all 20 muffins disappeared in a day and a half).
They can be eaten plain, or with strawberry jam, butter, cream cheese, or my personal favorite, sour cream with a sprinkle of sugar on top.
1 cup Butter
1 1/2 cups Sugar
4 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Cinnamon, if you like (Vanilla Extract, Lemon Zest or even a berry Brandy or Rum could be also used for flavor)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 cup Sour Cream
3/4 cup Walnuts, chopped (traditionally, this bread is made with hazelnuts or walnuts or plain)
1 pound of Strawberries, washed, trimmed of their caps
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease and lightly dust with flour two bread pans and muffin tray (or use cupcake liners for muffin tray instead).
Place walnuts in a dry frying pan and roast on the stove for a few minutes to bring out their flavor.
Cream the butter in a mixer. Add sugar and cream more. Add eggs, one at a time until well combined.
In a large bowl, combine thoroughly flour, cinnamon (if using a wet flavoring, add into the butter mixture instead), salt, baking powder, baking soda.
Add the flour to the butter mixture, a bit at a time to avoid making a floury mess across your kitchen.
Add sour cream.
The strawberries can either be added gently whole or, can be mashed with a couple of tablespoons of sugar and then added gently in.
Add the walnuts in gently.
Pour batter into pans and bake for approximately an hour. Cool on wire rack.