Monday, February 10, 2014

Big Beautiful Cherry Almond Muffins


Right before trash day, I generally take a quick look through the refrigerator and see if anything needs tossing. Not only does it get rid of expired condiments, last little bits of leftovers and bunches of herbs that have lost their luster, it also reminds me of things I bought for specific recipes and haven't used up yet.


For Christmas dinner, I roasted a duck and served it with citrus cherry port sauce. Sorry for not providing a link here, but I used Julia Child's recipe for the duck. It's in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which is still a very useful cookbook to have in your collection despite it having been published in the 1960s. Just avoid the chapter on aspics.


But that meant that I had almost a whole bag of leftover frozen cherries to use and smoothies in the middle of February just aren't really my thing.


Muffins on the other hand...perfect. Frozen cherries are rather more chunky and tart than frozen blueberries so I threw in some almond extract and topped the muffins with sliced almonds to clue people into the almond flavor. If you're allergic or not into almonds, you could skip the topping and use a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead (you need a little more than the almond, which can be overpowering if you use too much). And no pretty muffin papers with this one mmm-kay? They stick.


Big Beautiful Cherry Almond Muffins
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
Makes 12

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plain lowfat yogurt
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups frozen cherries, thawed, rinsed and chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously coat a 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray.

2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the yogurt, eggs and almond extract together in a medium bowl. Gently fold the yogurt-egg mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in the melted butter. Fold in the chopped cherries.

3. Use a large spoon to divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the sliced almonds evenly atop the unbaked muffins. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes.

4. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
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