Cherry almond muffins

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!

I did an online search for Rainier cherry recipes and this one from Coconut & Lime caught my eye.

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

Roasting cherries

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.

Look – blood free!

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.

Such an easy recipe. You don’t even need to use a stand or hand mixer. You got two bowls and a rubber spatula or wooden spoon? You’re good to go.

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…

17 thoughts on “Cherry almond muffins

  1. Nancy, these muffins look delicious!!! My kids LOVE cherries and my youngest (1.5 yr old) grabs them so fast, sometimes she eats and swallows the entire thing (pit and all!) so my husband, Paul (I feel like we should all be on a first name basis now), found a way to pit cherries with stuff around the house (he’s very MacGyver like that). If you have an old wine bottle and a hard plastic straw (we have tons of those insulated big cups around the house that come with lids and big plastic straws; they are called Aladdin to-go tumbler cups. I have to drink my water ice cold). You simply put the cherry on top of the open wine bottle and push the straw thru the center of the cherry and the pit falls into the bottle. Genius, right? SORRY. Your post immediately made me think of that and I had to share that with you so you don’t have to pit your cherries by hand with a knife.

    Suggestions: cherry hand-pies:, mini cherry peach crisps: or can you make cherry jam and freeze it? oh yes you can! OR

    • LOL – that’s so cute about your youngest – poor lil thing, with all those cherry pits in her belly! Wow, Paul totally sounds like someone I’d want around the house! I never think of clever, useful things like that. I have tons of old wine bottles around (hmm…not because I drink too much…) so I’ll definitely try that. Yum, thanks for all the cherry recipe recommendations! Looks like I have a LOT of baking/preserving to do in the next few days.

  2. Oh, wow! Roasted cherries. I can taste them now! I’ll bet those were delicious. As for your other cherries, nothing better than a big bowl and a good movie. Give your husband some popcorn. 🙂

  3. So many cherries! I love cherry and almond – is there any difference between Rainier cherries and ‘normal’ ones (apart from the colour)? (Or are my ‘normal’ cherries only normal because they’re the only ones sold here?!)

    • lol – are your “normal” ones the really dark red ones (bing cherries – my favourite!)? There are differences between cherry types, but so far I love them all! You can’t go wrong with any kind 🙂

  4. These look amazing!! I’m so jealous of all your cherries. I’ve been obsessed with cherries ever since visiting Door County in Wisconsin…I really want to find a recipe for a good cherry cake doughnut! Not to mention I want to make cherry strudel, cherry pie, roasted cherry brownies, cherry clafoutis, cherry EVERYTHING!

  5. It’s a shame I don’t live close to you. We could have put down 5 lbs of cherries on one sitting. But it’s good thing you put them to good use. I’ve been eating cherries on a daily basis and I love the colors of the ones you had. Can you fedex me a few. Thanks!

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