As I pitted a colander of sour cherries this afternoon — eating as many as I placed in the muffin batter — I daydreamed, following the web of memories conjured up by this beautiful little fruit: climbing our large, shady cherry tree in the back yard of the house we moved into when I was two years old; sledding down Coeur d’ Alene’s Cherry Hill on plastic saucers for hours on winter afternoons; picking cherries with my sister and throwing the soggy ones at our babysitter (sorry, Thelma); discovering dried cherries, which I love; and of course, Grandma’s delicious cherry pies smothered with ice cream. A not-so-pleasant memory is tasting chocolate covered cherries for the first time. A florescent, syrupy maraschino cherry enveloped in waxy chocolate? Well no, thank you.
Like most fruits, sour cherries are different than the larger, domesticated cherries we see at the grocery store. Smaller, softer, and tart (and usually found at farmers’ markets or in your yard), these tiny gems are perfect for pies and other desserts because you can adjust the sweetness and their texture stands up well to baking.
Our friends Justin and Megan graciously gave Ryan a large bag of cherries from their back yard yesterday (either that or he swiped them, I didn’t ask). Delicious all on their own, cherries certainly do not need to be encased in carbs, but it just seemed right to use some of them in muffins to keep my afternoon cup of coffee company. . . right??
Cherry Walnut Muffins
- 2 cups flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 t. apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup cold-pressed sunflower oil
- 2 T lemon zest
- 2 t. vanilla extract
- 1/4 t. almond extract
- 1 1/2 cup sour or “tart” cherries, pitted
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Place almond milk, vinegar, extracts, zest in a separate bowl. Mix well, then add to flour mixture.
3. Stir in fruit and nuts last, folding into batter. Get creative – you can use any kind of fruit or nuts with this basic recipe (except avocados and tomatoes, I forbid it!). Depending on your mood, you may want to throw in some dark chocolate chips, too. Grease or line muffin tins, fill about 3/4 full. Makes about 15 muffins (I know, kind of lame, but you can use a ramekin or something and eat that yourself. No one needs to know.)
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 23-25 minutes and your house will smell oh-so-sweet. Cool for .4 seconds and enjoy with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. 🙂