As you may know, my husband and I went on a little excursion this past weekend. To kick off my birthday weekend, my husband planned for us to visit a few farmers markets and an indoor Artisan Food Market. Oh, the life of a foodie! He knows me too well. We had so much fun spending the day together looking for new ingredients to cook with, meeting with Artisans to learn about and sample their handmade foods. We met some amazing new people and picked up some very tasty foods. Our food finds ranged from locally grown fresh veggies, such as yard long purple & green beans (they were as long as our arms)!; the sweetest corn on the cob (which I bought quite a few so I can freeze them & enjoy through the Winter), handmade Artisanal breads and of course fresh fruit. We love cherries and have been creating recipes that incorporate this summer fruit. We came home with a big bag of them. We used a few handfuls to make the most incredible Cherry Cheesecake French Toast over the weekend. Since the cherries are somewhat sweet, we have also been enjoying them all by themselves.
I also wanted to do some baking this week. With the kids back at school I like to create recipes that will make it easier to get through a busy week. The first thing that came to mind was muffins. Muffins are so great to have on hand for early morning breakfasts before work & school. They are also an easy & quick snack when the kids get home from school. I especially like to make mini muffins so the kids don’t fill up too much before dinner. Unless they happen to sneak a few extra without me seeing! My son, a.k.a. “the messy little baker” is usually guilty of sneaking an extra muffin or two. They are also the perfect size to pack in their lunches.
The cherries paired nicely with the Almond flavor. Let me tell you, my kitchen smelled pretty amazing while these muffins were baking. It is so hard to resist eating one hot out of the oven. If you are patient enough, they are perfectly finished off with a little almond glaze drizzled over top. The muffins are just as delicious without the glaze however it adds just a little extra touch of sweetness and decadence. After all, who doesn’t need a little extra decadence in their life?
If you enjoy cherries, now is the time to get them, especially if you live in the U.S. You can also buy them fresh now to enjoy later by placing them into the freezer. They will keep in the freezer up to 1 year. Come September, fresh cherries will be long gone for another year. So what are you waiting for? Go get those fresh cherries now! But, be sure to come back as I have more cherries waiting to be turned into something fabulous!
Cherry Almond Muffins
Makes approx. 6 Large or 12 Small Muffins
1 Stick, Butter, unsalted
1 Cup, Sugar
1 Teaspoon, Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon, Almond Extract
1 Cup, Buttermilk
2 Cups, All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons, Baking Powder
1 /2 Teaspoon, Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon, Salt
2 Cups, Fresh Cherries, chopped
1/2 Cup, Confectioner’s Sugar
1-2 Tablespoons, Half & Half (you can also use cream or milk)
1 Teaspoon, Almond Extract *(you can substitute with vanilla extract if you don’t like almond)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a muffin tin and set aside.
Pit all the cherries, chop into small pieces and set aside (you will want 2 cups once the cherries are chopped).
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well and set aside.
In a standing mixer, add the butter and sugar and mix on medium until fluffy. Add the vanilla and almond extract and mix again. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each one.
Slowly add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the standing mixer, alternating between the dry and wet ingredients. Start with the dry (flour mixture), then add some of the wet (buttermilk). Repeat until all the dry and wet ingredients are added to the mixture (you should start & end with the flour mixture).
Add the cherries and gently fold them into the batter.
Pour the batter into the muffin tins, filling them almost completely to the top. Bake in the oven for approx. 30 minutes (for the larger muffins), until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffin. Remove the muffins from the oven, set aside to cool. **(If you are making mini muffins, cook for about 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean).
When the muffins are cool, make the glaze to drizzle over top of the muffins. In a bowl or standing mixer, add the confectioner’s sugar, almond extract and cream. Whisk together. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over top of the muffins or use a knife and spread on top. The glaze should be somewhat thin so it is easy to drizzle. If your glaze is too thick, add more cream or milk. If your glaze is too thin, add a little more confectioner’s sugar.