I love fruit but there are are a couple of fruits that I only like when they’re cooked. On that list … blueberries and cherries. I never eat them raw. To me, they just taste like totally different things when they are cooked though. But my family loves them and they’re around when they’re in season, so my challenge is to find ways to enjoy them … cooked.
Today, my challenge was cherries and muffins seemed like a great idea. And since cherry and almonds are a natural together, cherry almond muffins were in order. I found a great recipe to try at Gourmet Connection, which I have adapted here to the ingredients I had on hand.
These muffins have great flavour. The almond and cherry flavours are in perfect balance … not too much of one or the other. They are only lightly sweet, so they are perfect for breakfast and are relatively low in fat (as muffins go). I used whole milk and yogurt (3.5% b.f) because that’s what I had on hand, but you could easily use low-fat versions to reduce the fat even more. They weigh in at about 270 calories each with 8 grams of fat per muffin (would be less if you used low fat milk and low fat yogurt).
As with all muffins, these freeze well.
Cherry Almond Muffins
Summary: These muffins feature real cherries (not dried). They are a perfect way to use up some fresh cherries when you tire of eating them out of hand. You can substitute sour cream for the yogurt in equal measurements, if you prefer or it’s what you have on hand. The sour cream will give them a slightly tangier flavour but it’s still lovely. Be sure not to over-bake muffins to ensure a moist muffin.
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table or fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup milk (I used whole milk)
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt (or substitute sour cream if you have no yogurt on hand) (I used 3.5% b.f. plain Greek yogurt)
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 – 1 tsp. almond extract (alternately, add 1 – 1 1/2 Tbsp. almond meal or ground almonds to add a little almond flavour to the muffin itself)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted and quartered
- 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds
- 1 Tbsp. white sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. with rack in centre of oven. Grease the cups of a standard 12-cup sized muffin pan with butter or non-stick spray (These muffins don’t need paper liners as they will come out easily if pan is well-greased).
- In a large mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg/butter mixture and mix until well combined.
- Add the milk, yogurt (or sour cream), vanilla extract and almond extract. Mix thoroughly. The batter will be relatively thick. Carefully fold in the cherries just until distributed in the batter (avoid over-mixing as the cherries may become crushed and “stain” the batter. Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups (An ice cream scoop works well with this batter). Each cup should be close to full.
- Combine the almonds and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle some over each muffin.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then gently twist each muffin to remove and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Makes 12 muffins.
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 25 min
Total time: 40 min
Number of servings (yield): 12 muffins