While blueberry muffins are a family favorite, cherry muffins are an unexpected twist on the classic. This recipe is simple, but it can be modified by adding almonds, chocolate, or other types of berries. If you can find sour or tart cherries at the store or farmers market, use them in this recipe. However, they have an incredibly short season in most of the country, appearing only for a few weeks between June and August, depending on the region. If sour cherries aren't available, pick up a bag of frozen sweet cherries, which work just as well when thawed.
Grease and flour 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, combine the salt, baking powder, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Toss the cherries in 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, and stir gently to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla extract, milk, and melted butter until well-blended.
Stir egg and milk mixture into the dry mixture until moistened. Fill muffin cups about two-thirds full.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
- If you don't have a cherry pitter, use a plastic or metal straw to remove the pits. Wash the cherries, de-stem them, and push the straw through the stem hole until the pit comes out the bottom of the berry.
- Mixing the batter develops gluten, a protein that can make a muffin overly tough. This is great for bread-baking, but to keep a light texture, mix the muffin batter until it's just combined.
- Bake big, bakery-style muffins by placing paper baking cups directly onto a baking sheet instead of muffin tins, which restrict the size of the muffins. Fill the cups about two-thirds full for a domed top.
- Toss the fruit in 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour before adding it to the batter. This will stop the fruit from sinking during baking.
- Freeze the muffins by letting them cool completely and them placing them in the freezer for an hour until they're individually frozen solid. Transfer the muffins to a freezer bag. They will last for two to three months.
- Cherry Almond variation: Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract to the batter. Sprinkle a half-cup of slivered or sliced almonds evenly over the top of the muffins.
- Chocolate-cherry muffins: Decrease the all-purpose flour by 1/3 cup and add 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks that have been tossed in 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour.
- Triple berry variation: Instead of 1 cup of fresh or frozen cherries, mix in one-third cup each of blueberries, cherries, and raspberries. Alternatively, add one cup of frozen mixed berries.