January's a time for healthy eating. Looking back over the past month, I've posted two recipes for salad and one for soup. We've loved them all.
But I think it's time I posted something sweet again. There's nothing better than fruit desserts in the middle of winter. These muffins would be wonderful made with fresh cherries in August, but I think they're even better made with frozen cherries in January, when we really need their burst of vitamin C and their joyous sweet/tart flavour.
At times like this, I'm reminded of why I freeze fruit in the warm weather. It's such a treat to reach into my freezer and pull out a bag of blueberries, raspberries or cherries ready to be baked into something sweet, and to take me back to the summer.
"Oh, my orchard! After the dark, stormy autumn and the cold winter, there you are again, young, new full of happiness, the heavenly angels have not forsaken you."
- from The Cherry Orchard, by Anton Chekhov
(from King Arthur Flour)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups cherries, pitted, coarsely chopped, and drained (either fresh or frozen)
1 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1 tsp almond extract
granulated sugar for sprinkling
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Combine dry ingredients and add them to butter/sugar mixture alternately with milk. Stir in almond extract, then gently fold in almonds and cherries.
Spoon muffin batter into 12 muffin cups (either greased or lined with paper liners). Cups will be quite full. Sprinkle each muffin with a little granulated sugar. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until muffins test done.