3 tablespoons almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
3/4 cup nonfat or low-fat buttermilk
3 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest, divided
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 large egg
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup canola oil, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white whole-wheat flour, or whole-wheat pastry flour (see Note)
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen (not thawed) strawberries, (about 8 ounces)
Preheat oven to 400F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
Process almonds, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon orange zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl, drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and stir to combine.
Whisk the remaining 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.
Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons orange zest and 1/4 cup oil in a medium bowl with buttermilk, orange juice, egg and vanilla extract until well combined.
Make a well in centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients; stir until just combined. Add strawberries; stir just to combine. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with the almond topping, pressing into batter.
Bake the muffins until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 5 minutes more before serving.
Variation: For Strawberry-Basil Muffins, omit orange zest and use 1/4 cup additional buttermilk in place of orange juice. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil with the berries in Step 3.
NOTE: White whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in colour and flavour but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat. Whole-wheat pastry flour contains less gluten and makes baked good more tender.