I LOVE me some free stuff. And if it’s free food, even better!
The Husband’s lovely accountant recently gave us about five pounds of Rainier cherries. I was in heaven, especially since Rainier cherries are usually pretty expensive (read: I’m too cheap to buy them). Check out my windfall:
I’ve been trying to eat as many of them as possible before they start rotting. The Husband isn’t the biggest cherry fan (he so crazy) so he’s not helping out in the clearance department. I’m much too greedy to pass on good karma and give them away. So what to do with pounds upon pounds of gorgeous, giant, plump, rosy-cheeked cherries? Bake with them of course!
Cherry almond muffins (adapted from Coconut & Lime)
2 cups flour
2 cups pitted oven roasted Rainier cherries
½ cup sugar (I used less sugar than the original recipe called for because I don’t like my baked goods too sweet – if you prefer yours sweeter, use 2/3 cup sugar)
½ cup sour cream, at room temp
½ cup milk, at room temp
4 tbsps canola oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temp
I don’t have a cherry pitter so I pitted and diced my cherries by hand & knife. I spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roasted them for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. After removing the sheet from the oven and allowing the cherries to cool, I put them back into a bowl, covered them with ¼ cup sugar and stirred to evenly distribute.
For the muffins: the original recipe called for the oven to be preheated at 400 degrees F, which is the temperature I baked them at. The next time I make these, I’ll decrease the heat to 375 and see if that makes a difference. I found that I overbaked my muffins a bit, which I think is a result of me losing track of time as well as the high oven temp.
Anyhoo, line or generously butter your muffin tin.
Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and all the wet ingredients in another. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a rubber spatula. Mix only until everything is well incorporated – don’t overmix or smooth out all the lumps.
Add in the roasted cherries and mix. Divide into your muffin pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of your muffins). An inserted toothpick should be batter/crumb free.
I ate a muffin the same night after baking and I thought it was just ok. As I said, I think I over-baked them so it wasn’t as moist as I was expecting but it did have a nice, tight crumb. I don’t like my baked goods very sweet so I reduced the amount of sugar required in the original recipe. The cherries tasted fantastic – because I roasted them, the flavor was more pronounced and the texture was soft and smooth without adding too much moisture to the muffin. The almond flavour really came shining through.
These muffins get better with age – it tasted even better the next day. I was watching a Sex and the City marathon on tv while I was pitting my cherries and would absent mindedly throw discarded cherry pits into the “to bake cherry” bowl every now and then. I thought I removed all the offending pits but almost cracked a tooth on one in my muffin today. Oopsies. Moral of the story – I’m an idiot who can’t do two things at one. Kind of like how I am physically and mentally incapable of patting my head and rubbing my stomach at the same time.
I can appreciate a good cherry muffin though. Anyone have any suggestions for what else I can make with cherries? I’m thinking clafoutis next…