Cherry Almond Muffins
One of my favorite times of the year is when the cherry trees begin to blossom; a signal that summer is drawing near and winter is around the corner. The fragrance and the beauty of these tiny blossoms is intoxicating!
Cherry trees produce small, bright red fruit perfect for pie, scones, jams, jellies and muffins. Cherries are so versatile they can even be used in savory applications such as sauces, salsas and bread stuffing.
Summer time in Northern Michigan would not have been complete without a visit to the annual cherry festival in Traverse City earlier this month. The cherry season is brief and fleeting in Michigan so it is imperative that you get these little red gems while you can as the sweet cherry harvest has nearly ended.
Fortunately, cherries can be pitted and frozen with great success, but I love to use them when they are at the height of the season. These little fruits can be cumbersome to pit but well worth the effort in the end! (there are cherry pitting devices available on the market that make pitting much more easy).
Now hopefully you have some of these beautiful cherries, but you are probably wondering what you can make with them beyond the standard cherry pie. Cherry Almond Muffins are a delightful way to start off your morning! The sweet almond flavor complements the sweet but tart flavors of the cherry, while chopped almonds provide a nice crunch to the soft bakery like interior of the muffin.
If you still can, grab a pound or two of fresh Michigan cherries, a bottle of our Almond and 2-Fold Vanilla Extract and treat yourself to a delicious bakery style muffin that is sure to please!
Cherry Almond Muffins
Yields 8 large muffins or 10 standard muffins
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 1 teaspoon Beanilla Vanilla Extract 2x Fold
- 2 cups fresh cherries, diced
- ½ cup chopped almonds (for the tops)
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or 8 large muffins with liners.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside. If using fresh berries, place in a small bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter for 1 minute until soft and fluffy. Add sugar and continue to beat for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time and beat just until incorporated. Add buttermilk, vanilla, almond extract and lemon zest and mix on low until combined.
Remove bowl from mixer. Add flour mixture and stir, by hand, until flour disappears. Do not over mix or muffins will be tough. Gently stir in the cherries.
Divide mixture evenly in the prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle with the almonds.
Bake at 350˚F for 22 to 25 minutes or until light golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack.