cherry almond muffins
My last post was all about loss, heartbreak, and an outrageously rich pie, so I’m going to try to lighten things up this week. Last weekend, after making the peanut butter pie for Mikey, Joseph and I went to meet Zoe, the 3 1/2 week old baby of our friends, Christina and Adam. Her amazing, full, dark head of hair, her smile, her dimple, and her tiny little toes and fingers were the perfect remedy for thinking about loss of life. This little bundle of jubilation is just beginning her life and it’s amazing to think of how she’ll grow and the person that she will become.
We already had a small gift for Zoe, but it was equally important to me to bring some baked goods for the parents and I had been desperate to make these cherry almond muffins ever since I had seen them on The Pastry Affair. I absolutely adore cherries (I decided this summer that they’re my favorite fruit, which is saying something because I hate to pick favorites) and I loved the idea of pairing them up with almonds. This was the perfect time to finally get to try them out.
Even though I had skimmed through the recipe a couple of times, I didn’t even realize how healthy they were till I started making them. No oil? No butter? Would they be any good? I mean, I often sub 1/3 of the oil in my favorite banana muffins or carrot cake, but to not use any oil at all? I decided to not only find out, but to tempt the fates even more by subbing some of the flour with whole wheat flour. Christina was at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts with Joseph, so I figured they would probably be ok with healthier muffins and besides, we would be keeping some for ourselves and had been snacking on that incredibly rich, decadent peanut butter pie at home.
The muffins came out much better than I had expected. They may not have as light a crumb as a a muffin made with oil or butter and 100% white flour, but they’re not overly dense either. The big chunks of juicy cherries and the subtle bite of the sliced almonds really make the muffin. They’re best served warm, so throw them in the toaster oven before eating (if you have any left from when they were fresh out of the oven, that is).
Cherry Almond Muffins
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup fresh pitted and quartered cherries
- 1 cup sliced almonds, divided
- Crystal or sanding sugar, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, applesauce, and extracts. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until smooth. Fold in the halved cherries and 1/2 cup sliced almonds.
- Spoon the batter into a greased muffin tin, filling the cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle remaining sliced almonds and a pinch of sugar evenly over the muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool to room temperature before storing. The muffins are best served warm.
Number of servings (yield): 12