Last week at Central Market, we introduced our new muffin recipe and flavors.  I may be biased, but they are darn good and full of interesting ingredients.

Pear ginger, fig and star anise, banana granola, antioxidant punch (goji, acai, cranberries, and pomegranate), chocolate hazelnut toffee, and strawberry goat cheese to name a few.

We can hardly keep them on the shelves.  Let’s just say I have consumed more than my share of muffins this week and any Houstonians out there should come check them out along with all of our other tasty treats!

I absolutely love savory-sweet combinations, so despite swearing off strawberries after the strawberry dipping fest that was Valentine’s Day (I estimate we dipped close to 13,000 strawberries…by hand), the first muffin I dove into was the strawberry goat cheese variety.

Sweet strawberries (and yes we use real fruit in our products) and musky goat cheese play tug-of-war with your senses and eventually meld to create the perfect balance of sweet and savory.  Simple ingredients yes, but these are no ordinary muffins.

While I love what we bake at work, I figure if I can bake it on my own, why buy it?  So, after dreaming about my new favorite muffin, I decided to give it a whirl at home.

I typically use frozen berries when I bake because they are frozen when perfectly ripe and I think they hold-up much better than fresh fruit during the baking process.  This recipe was no exception and I used frozen strawberries, but if you have some fresh strawberries, there is no reason you can’t use them.

The biggest difference between my muffins and those from work, is the addition of fresh thyme, an herb whose woody flavors pair wonderfully not only with savory ingredients but also with sweet, floral berries.

I used a basic muffin batter base from my The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book; the batter is not overly sweet, but is the perfect backdrop for the berries and cheese.  If you have a favorite muffin batter, feel free to use that and just use my recommendation for filling measurements.

Strawberry, Goat Cheese, & Thyme Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Inspired by Central Market.  Batter recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Note:  Frozen strawberries are ginormous so I chopped them (while still frozen) into bite-sized pieces.  This batter yields billowy, tender muffins.

3 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

2 large eggs

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 1/2 (about 7 oz) cups roughly chopped frozen strawberries (not thawed)

4 oz fresh goat cheese (no rind), very coarsely crumbled

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and thyme together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the yogurt and eggs together until smooth.  Gently fold yogurt mixture into flour mixture with a rubber spatula until barely combined, then fold in butter, strawberries, and goat cheese until just distributed.

Using a greased 1/3-cup measure, portion the batter into each muffin cup.  Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs, 25-30 minutes.

Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before serving.