Here is the thing about muffins, they can be deceptive. I will not take a muffin from just anyone. Sometimes even the loveliest of muffins can conceal a spongey, flavorless interior. In my mind, muffins should be moist, cakey, and lightly sweetened - it’s not a cupcake.
I had cherries on my mind the other day when I was trying to contrive some new recipes. Unfortunately, the cherry season is still far out of sight, but thankfully, that does not mean that we cannot satisfy our stone fruit cravings.
Frozen cherries came to my rescue and these lovely, cherry-studded muffins were born.
Let’s get started! These muffins get their cake-like texture from the creaming method. Soft butter is whipped and beaten with sugar until it is light and fluffy. This gives our muffins a firm, cakey texture that will hold up to our sweet black cherries.
Have you ever experienced the disappointment of a berry-studded muffin where all the berries have fallen to the bottom? It's annoying, but thankfully, it is also very easy to avoid. Tossing your fruit in a bit of flour before adding it to the batter will keep the fruit from falling to the bottom. Problem solved!
A muffin that has some sort of topping instantly gains my attention. For this recipe, I made a simple cinnamon streusel by working a bit of softened butter into cinnamon, oats, flour and sugar. The streusel adds a bit of extra sweetness and a nice textural element to our muffins.
Batter is scooped into a lined muffin pan and flowers are admired. If you are anything like me, your iPhone is probably covered in flour by now and you have managed to get muffin batter on your jeans, just go with it.
In my younger days, I would often ask my mother for butter for my muffin and she would usually say something like, "There is already butter inside the muffins." To which I would reply, "Okay, that's great, now may I have some more butter please?"
I am grown now and I make my own muffins with butter on the inside and on the outside. No shame.
I hope you are all having a wonderful week. I am currently enjoying a snow storm and drinking obscene amounts of chai. Happy baking!
Black Cherry Almond Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping
makes 12 / recipe adapted from Culinary Institute of America’s Baking at Home
for the streusel topping
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup old fashioned whole oats
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Use a fork to work in butter, forming a rough crumble.
for the muffins
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided use
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups frozen black cherries
- 1/3 cup chopped unsalted almonds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin pan with muffin cup liners.
In a medium bowl, sift to combine baking powder, salt, nutmeg and 2 cups all-purpose flour. Set aside. In a separate bowl whisk to combine milk, vanilla, and egg.
In a large bowl, use a hand-mixer to beat butter on high speed for one minute. Add sugars and beat for 3-5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Slowly incorporate milk and flour mixtures in small increments, alternating between the two while mixing on low speed.
In a separate bowl, toss frozen cherries in 2 tablespoons flour. Fold almonds and coated cherries into the muffin batter, making sure to distribute them evenly.
Use a spoon or spring-loaded disher to divide batter among the muffin cups.
Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with about a tablespoon of streusel mixture. Press down slightly to ensure that the streusel sticks to the top of the muffin.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are deep golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!