Roasted Strawberry Whole Wheat Muffins – Dedicated to Dante

It’s hard to not think of Dante when I look at the strawberry patch. The ruby red berries are still dangling from their lengthy stems, begging to be plucked. Normally this is the time of year Dante and Sierra both would scour every inch of the patch for sweet berries. And this was the time of year that we’d share the fruit with not just our beloved dogs, but with the other garden critters and hungry, pecking visitors.

Dante was a strawberry lover and in fact, a lover of all foods. Sierra, on the other hand, is much more timid about approaching strange food, particularly anything green or in the vegetative state. But she trusted her big brother Dante and if he ate the strawberries with abandon, then it was good enough for her to copy him.

Nearly every morning before breakfast Dante would wander over to the strawberries. Sierra would follow him to the patch and watch him carefully pluck, then inhale the brightest red ones. Then she would cautiously follow suit, but plucking the small ones first, with caution to make sure it wasn’t a chili pepper.

We’d find the patch stripped of anything red and then we’d call out loud to complain about never getting to eat enough garden strawberries. Though deep inside, we always laughed it off because we thought it was so cute that Dante and Sierra would beat us to the berries. There are advantages to waking up early. We’d rather have them eat the fruit than leaving them to the bugs.

Sierra, heading to the strawberry patch

This April, there is an abundance of red fruit on the vines. Sierra doesn’t have Dante with her to give her the guidance to know which one is worth eating. She doesn’t have her big brother to follow around and watch, follow and mimic. She always did what ever he did, even if it scared her. Now, she walks over to the patch alone, staring at the fruit and waiting for Todd or I to hand feed her a berry.

Since Dante was lost to cancer last May, we still haven’t gotten used to having so many ripe strawberries from the garden. I feel like I want to save them to ripen on the vines and to let the dogs get to them first. But staring at all this fruit isn’t going to bring Dante back.

All the fruit staring back at me reminds me to celebrate him and this wonderful season of Spring where new life starts to awaken in the garden. The fruit needs to be eaten because thats what Dante would have wanted and done himself.

So, I asked Todd to make some roasted strawberries and add them to my favorite whole wheat muffins. I know Dante would have loved to have one of those, warm out of the oven. I wanted a big batch of muffins with lots and lots and lots of roasted strawberries. I wanted each muffin to be bursting with roasted strawberries. What the garden didn’t have enough of, we’ll head out to the local farm stand to get more strawberries.

I’m a lucky girl like that, where I can ask my guy to make me muffins and within the hour he’ll dedicate the first hot batch to me with an embrace.

And I’m a lucky girl because I was able to have the joy of raising my very first puppy together with Todd.

Raising our first puppy together is like raising our first baby. And anyone who has ever had a pet to love and nourish would understand both my pain and joy to have loved than to have never loved at all.

Dante, these muffins are for you. Actually, two of them. I would have snuck you two muffins.

Enjoy your Spring,


Cooking Method & Notes: 

i love whole wheat muffins & roasted strawberries make them extra special

start with plump, ripe strawberries. And lots of them

slice them to bite size pieces or size them to your bite (hope that makes sense) 

toss with olive oil, light touch of balsamic vinegar, honey, sea salt, black pepper 

toss them again on a baking sheet. Ready. Set. Roast. 

can you smell these? the scent of roasted strawberries is magical. 

Dante would have loved to licked the juicy pan. I would have let him. 

fill half way, then add a layer of roasted strawberries

then top off with batter and add more strawberries on top

the yummy strawberry juices can get messy. Use a spoon….

…. or use your fingers. Make sure to lick them afterwards! fun. 

after baking, brush on some of the roasted juices as a glaze

Roasted Strawberry Whole Wheat Muffins

Yield: 9 Muffins

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

The oat and whole wheat flour adds an extra heartiness to the muffins. Another dimension to the flavor and texture.


Roasted Balsamic Strawberries

  • 1 lb fresh Strawberries, hulled
  • 1 T Honey
  • 2 T Grape Seed Oil
  • 1 T Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 t Sea Salt
  • (optional) 1 T Port

Muffin Ingredients

  • 1 c (100g) Oat Flour
  • 3/4 c (100g) All-Purpose Flour, unbleached
  • 1/2 c (60g) Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 c (55 g) Sugar
  • 1/2 c (110g) Golden Brown Sugar
  • 2 t (9g) Baking Powder
  • 1 t (4g) Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
  • 2 T (30g) unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 c Canola or Grape Seed Oil
  • 1/2 c Sour Cream
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 t Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 c Heavy Whipping Cream


Roasted Balsamic Directions

Preheat oven to 350º F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper.

  1. Cut smaller strawberries in half, larger strawberries in quarter.
  2. Combine strawberries, honey, oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and port in a medium bowl. Gently mix until strawberries are evenly coated.
  3. Spread strawberries evenly onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake until juices just begin to thicken,  40-50 minutes. After cooled, gently pick up strawberries and place in a small bowl. Reserve juices in another small bowl.
  4. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to one week.

Muffin Directions

Preheat oven to 425º F. If you have a baking stone, place stone on lower third shelf. Butter and flour 9 muffin tin cups.

  1. Combine flours, sugars, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk for at least 30 seconds to thoroughly blend.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan and cook on medium-low heat until gently browned.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, browned butter, sour cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour oil mixture into the well and stir until just combined.
  5. In a medium bowl, whip heavy cream to soft peaks. Fold whipped cream into batter.
  6. Using two large soup spoons or an ice cream scoop, fill the nine prepared muffin cups half way with batter. Lay 2-3 roasted strawberries over the batter. Fill muffin cups nearly to the top.
  7. Lay 2-3 slices of roasted strawberries on top of muffins. Gently press into batter.
  8. Reduce oven temperature to 400º F. Open door and leave open for 10 seconds then place muffin tin on baking stone or lower third shelf.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserting into middle of muffins.
  10. Poke several holes in tops of each muffin with a toothpick. Brush muffins with reserved roasted strawberry juices.
  11. Gently loosen top edges of muffins and twist each muffin out. Lay them on their side in the muffin cups to cool. Best eaten same day.
Recipe Source:

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Celia

    Checked out your cookbook from the library after reading about it in Sunset and have made several recipies so far. A great book. Took a look at your website and found this recipe. Since I can’t resist buying big boxes of strawberries at this time of year it was a perfect way to use some of them. These muffins are totally delicious!!! I substituted barley flour for the oat flour, and also used splenda since my husband has diabetes (Btw he loved your barley, red pepper and sausage recipe from the cookbook. He prefers barley as substitute for white rice as it has a better glycemic index).

  2. Susan H

    These popped up on a search for roasted strawberry muffins and they look so delicious I plan on making them tonight! However, I don’t have oat flour. However, is it possible to put regular Quaker oatmeal in the grind cycle of the blender to create “oat flour”? Will that work in the same manner? Thank you for your answer in advance.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      You are correct in your idea about making your own oat flour. Pulse the oats in a food processor or blender until it is a fine powder and you can use that in the recipes. Hope you get a chance to make the muffins!

      T & D

  3. Yii-Huei

    I made these and they turned out amazing! Couldn’t stop eating this, because it sort of reminded me of an oat cookie, and with roasted strawberries, it’s simply delicious.

    I posted about it on my blog, but the pictures are no where near as good as yours, but feel free to look at the post if you have time:

  4. Mat

    Thank you for the inspiration! I would never have thought of strawberries and balsamic this way. I admit I didn’t use them for muffins, I will go a little more traditional on that. But they were an amazing ingredient for a dinner salad I made today! :)

  5. Stacey

    Curious if you could use fresh FROZEN strawberries, or do you think too much (flavor, texture) would be lost from the freezing? Thanks!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We haven’t tried roasting frozen strawberries yet. The flavor would depend on the quality of the berries, but the texture is the curious part. Would love to hear your results if you try it! Good luck!

  6. Laura Dembowski

    I made these muffins and they were absolutely fantastic! I eat muffins everyday for breakfast, and this is my new favorite recipe. The texture was creamy and cakey, and the flavor from the roasted strawberries was stellar! I posted about them on my blog and would love if you’d take a look: I am new to blogging and trying to build my audience, so it would mean a lot if you would visit my site :) Thanks!

  7. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen

    lovely post..

  8. myfudo

    I look forward to Strawberry season every year…I am glad it is finally here. Cant wait to try this recipe. By the way, you have awesome pictures!

  9. brighteyedbaker

    I love how delicious and wholesome these muffins look. I loved looking at the photos of your garden and Sierra as well. Such a cute, sad, and heartwarming story all at the same time, which I can totally relate to being a dog lover and owner myself.

  10. Hillary

    What a mouth watering recipe and heart warming story! Your Dante sounds like our Blue, a young at heart 11 year old lab with a hunger for any fruit and veg she can snag. She spent a lot of time at my sister in law’s house, where she would gather the fallen apples from the backyard apple tree and snack away. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  11. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand

    I have a confession. A couple of times lately, I’ve seen recipes that looked pretty good, recipes I thought I might like to try, and I’ve found out just in time that they were actually for dog treats. When I saw the picture of these muffins, and the headline of the article, I thought, “Please let those be for humans. Please.”

    This is emphatically not to dishonor the memory of a much-loved strawberry-eating dog, who, I suspect, would have loved the muffins even if they are for humans. It’s just that I want to remember your dog AND eat that muffin. Which I will do, as soon as my Northeast strawberry bed catches up with your Southwest one.

  12. calily

    Such a nice way to remember your pup! It’s always those little things that you do in your daily life that reminds you of how much you miss them.

  13. Susan Loren-Taylor | SwoonMySpoon

    Beautiful story and a great way to use strawberries! Love, love, love……

  14. Javelin Warrior

    This is inspired – both storytelling and recipe. I love how you roasted off the strawberries with balsamic before adding to the muffins. And whole wheat is the perfect nutty flavor to stand up to the strawberries… Love this.
    I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It’s a pleasure to be following your creations…

  15. rick

    What a great story! headed to the store for strawberries. Thanks for sharing

  16. Lauren

    Beautiful story telling, beautiful recipe!!

  17. baker in disguise

    i love the pic of him staring down at the strawberries!!! just love it!!!

  18. Sandy

    What a sweet lovely post,thank you for sharing

  19. Urban Wife

    Such a sweet tribute to Dante. And yes, roasted strawberries are wicked delicious!

  20. Holly Phelps via Facebook

    Diane, so glad you had a few minutes to get this posted! I’m definately going to try the strawberries on ice cream like you suggested. Btw, the Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins I told you about are from Gordon Ramsay’s “Healthy Appetite” cookbook. I guarantee that you will love them! Hugs to Todd….

  21. Jennie

    Aww, what a sweet post about your puppy! Sorry for the loss. I think I’ll make these in his honor!

  22. Cookie and Kate

    Good gracious, those muffins look so amazing. Roasted strawberries and balsamic in muffins, you’ve got my head spinning with ideas!

  23. Cheryl D Lee

    Damn, if that post didn’t make me cry and drool all at the same time! Here’s to Dante and his love of strawberries.

  24. JJ Karelse via Facebook

    nice, so nice, sounds so delicious, thanks a lot or sharing!

  25. Susan in the Boonies

    The muffins are beautiful. That last picture gets my “spit” to flowin’. 😀
    You are one blessed woman indeed!
    I can only imagine how you miss your sweet Danté!
    I made roasted strawberries this week, and put them in my frozen yogurt: oh, the bliss!

  26. Thyme (Sarah)

    Aww. Wonderful post. The muffins looks delicious. My husband and I had a Great White Pyrenees as our first pup. We got transferred to Japan, he stayed with my SIL in the U.S. Weeks after our departure he died suddenly. We were plagued with guilt because we loves him so much and wondered if the big missed us. My SIL and her husband felt so horrible about it and we all still talk about our “Klondike” when we all get together. Now, we have a little Papillon just so that we can travel with him. No more big dogs for us. Take care…

  27. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    What a sweet story about your lost pup and Sierra’s habits now that he’s gone. These strawberry muffins you made to remember Dante look so wonderfully delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Veronica of Muy Bueno

    Bitter sweet story…I’m sorry about the loss of Dante and how Sierra misses him so, I can see the sadness in her face as she’s staring down at the ripe strawberries. Makes want to just jump through the screen and give her a big hug. The love for Dante is well displayed in the lovely strawberry muffins, which look extra yummy in the beautiful light you’ve chosen. Thanks for sharing both!

  29. jenjenk

    oh man…I’m crying at work. Dante had that quiet love for you that was so different from Sierra’s enthusiastic greetings. I miss that hunk of love.

  30. JulieD

    I’m sorry I meant to say the muffins look wonderful and comforting too. I would have never thought to roast the strawberries!

  31. JulieD

    I’m moved to tears because I know exactly what you mean…Cinder was Charley’s big sister and guided him and taught him so much. And I completely agree…it is better to have loved than to not have known the love. The pain we feel is a constant reminder of that love and joy that we gave them and in many ways they gave us 1000 times more. Charley was the first puppy we raised together and although we didn’t raise Cinder together, I loved her as if she were my “own”. I keep saying it but I mean it, I can’t wait to meet Sierra! xoxo to you guys. I know you miss Dante so much, I know in many ways how you feel. Cancer really really sucks. We lost Cinder to cancer and our kitty, Roswell, too.

  32. alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    too fabulous! I love these and such a sweet post!

  33. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel

    I remember your post from last year. I remember the sadness so many of us went through losing a fur child/friend. It was a rough season for sure. It’s so great that you’ll always have strawberry season to remind you of such wonderful times. :)

  34. Kristie V.

    This brought tears to my eyes. My first dog, Arthur, used to pluck the wild strawberries growing in our yard. He did this ever so carefully so he only got the berry, not any leaves. You are right about the pain and joy…

    I can’t wait to try roasting some strawberries. What a great idea! I’m thinking they would be yummy with some ice cream and cake.

  35. Sumptuous Spoonfuls via Facebook

    Your photos are just GORGEOUS! I’m totally craving strawberries now …

  36. Terri Lovell via Facebook

    Roasted strawberries smell soooo good- can’t wait to try this!

  37. Denise

    Dante will always be around. In the wind, in the garden and in your heart. Such a lovely heartfelt post. Balsamic vinegar and strawberries had always been a favourite combination of mine. Thank you for sharing your story again Diane. Love

  38. Jenny @ BAKE

    these muffins look gorgeous, I hope memories of Dante bring you years of smiles

  39. The Church Cook via Facebook

    Just pinned this beauty! Sweet post, Todd & Diane!

  40. Cristina

    What a beautiful post in dedication to your Dante. I’m so sorry you lost your furkid to cancer. I truly know the pain and loss as I lost one of my kids too, less than a month ago. The feelings are still very raw.

    Those strawberries are so vibrant and gorgeous! I’ve just planted my own, young strawberry plants and am looking forward to my first berries :) Thank you for sharing a beautifully written post and these healthful muffins.

  41. Cynthia A.

    Wonderful post. I’m so sorry you lost Dante, but so glad you, Todd, and Sierra had him in your lives. He clearly lives on in your hearts.

  42. Myque Tormo via Facebook

    Ill be making that later for sure, gona head to the farmers market n get some fresh berries!

  43. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Ok… now that i’ve wiped away my tears after watching the video that was on your post on Dante, I can now comment on this one. The shot of your pup looking into the bushes is just adorable. That expression is priceless.

    As for these muffins, I’m making these the first chance I get. Maybe when I’m on the Cape this weekend, actually. They would be the perfect thing to serve my family when they wake up on Sunday.

  44. Angie @ Big Bear's Wife

    I’ve never roasted strawberries. I’ve never even heard of anyone doing that. But oh my do they look good!

  45. Winnie

    Wonderful post! These muffins are so beautiful. As was Dante.

  46. Jackie Donnelly Baisa via Facebook

    OMG. Bookmarked. And Dante sure was a handsome fella! Absolutely adorable checking out his strawberries. Hee!

  47. Michelle

    I have a dog who I adore deeply. I can relate. There are some things that would just tear me up if she were not around, many things I probably won’t grasp until she is gone as well.

  48. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    These muffins are stunning! Awesome job!

  49. Katie

    Beautiful story. My old dog, Buddy, used to go snuffing around our garden and he’d find the one ripe tomato on the vine or the one pepper that had just gone from green to red. We had 15 wonderful tomato stealing years with him, and I’d give him all the ripe tomatoes in the world if I still could.

    I love the idea of roasting the strawberries before they go into these muffins! And, whipping cream and folding it into batter is not something I’ve tried before. I’ve got this recipe bookmarked for when the local strawberries arrive in my corner of the world. Thanks so much!

  50. Karen | Citrus and Candy

    A dog is the only animal who would put their owner’s needs above their own and the love they give is truly unconditional. I don’t think I could ever love anything more than my canine baby.

    This is a beautiful tribute to Dante x

  51. Natashia@foodonpaper

    Wow! These look amazing.. I’m so bummed strawberry season is over in Australia.

  52. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    I was reading a recipe in Heidi/101cookbooks cookbook for roasted strawberries & balsamic just last week and almost made them…now, I need to try it and make these muffins. Truly amazing looking.

    And what a sweet tribute to Dante.

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