Remember those cherries I told you I picked up at the store when we got home from our trip? It was a little over 2 pounds, and I really didn’t think I’d have any trouble eating them all myself before they started to go bad on me. I was wrong. That’s not an uncommon occurrence around here – my eyes are routinely bigger than my stomach. Anyway, when I opened the fridge and noticed a few cherries starting to look a bit soft, I resolved to bake something pronto so the cherries didn’t end up in our trash can. Immediately I thought about making a mini cherry pie – this recipe is my current favorite, but I also considered another attempt at a lattice top with this recipe. In the end, I was too lazy to make pie crust (it’s been one of those weeks) so pie will have to wait.
Instead, I wound up trying these cherry crumb muffins I’d flagged about a month ago, before cherries were routinely available in the stores here. My lack of motivation on the pie wound up working in my favor because these muffins were great! Fresh cherries are quartered and baking into the muffins, and a whole cherry tops the muffins, giving them a bit of a unique look. The muffins also contain one of my very favorite ingredients, almond extract, which pairs perfectly with the fresh cherries here. In case you needed another reason to try these, how about a crumb topping? That always piques my interest in a muffin recipe I subbed white whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose to make these a tad healthier and really didn’t notice any difference from muffins I typically bake using just all-purpose. I thought the muffins were equally delicious warm from the oven and after sitting on my counter for a day after baking.
I cringe when I think about the fact that I didn’t discover I liked fresh cherries until a year or two ago. All those summers of missing out!
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and quartered
10 cherries, pitted and left whole
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
To make the crumb topping: Whisk the flour, sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the pieces are about the size of small peas. Refrigerate the topping while you make the muffin batter.
To make the muffins: Whisk the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and almond extract on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then beat in the egg. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half of the sour cream. Continue alternating flour and sour cream, ending with the flour mixture, and beating until the ingredients are just combined. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the quartered cherries.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin liners. Top each muffin with about 1 tablespoon of the crumb topping and 1 whole cherry.
Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to the rack to cool completely.
Makes 10 muffins