Here in New England, it is strawberry season. I cannot go to the farmers market without being dazzled by these plump,still slightly stemmed, beauties. So, why am I cooking with cherries?I am also charmed by cherries(sorry, could not resist) and their season is short as well. When I saw some organic cherries in the market that did not break the bank, I took a strawberry break.
Additionally, I started getting emails and coupons from Cabot Creamery in Vermont. I had gone on a field trip there years ago when I was a culinary student in Vermont and remembered it fondly. What would happen if I made something with cherries and cheddar...I just loved the way the two rolled off the tongue. I felt like a quick bread would be the best course to take. Google did not help much. Then looking through Cabot's recipes, I saw apple cheddar muffins that seemed quick and easy. I thought this time saver would assist me because I still had to pit all those cherries. I have a cherry pitter , yes, I think it is a necessity even if the cherry season is short. The cherry pitter works equally well for olives which are always in season at my house. One note about pitting. Go ahead and pit all your cherries. I did about a pound and stored the rest for snacking and oatmeal. After about three days, they were gone but they looked and tasted fine while they hung around the fridge.
I sipped a bit of Evodia Old Vine Grenache while liberating the pits from the cherries. If you have not tasted it, Evodia is a Spanish red wine that has tastes of cherry to it. It is a great sipping wine.The ingredients come together easily. Be sure to incorporate the cherries throughout. I was not as careful and in a few of the muffins,there were pockets of cherries and then dead zones of nothing. They still tasted yummy but I was eating in a really weird way so as to get bites of cherry in every bit and I am sure I was not showing very good manners at all. The muffins are not very sweet so they would even be good for cocktails or teatime.
The recipe makes 12 nice sized muffins. They are best served warm. If you don't eat all twelve at once and believe me I was tempted, reheat them a bit either in the oven or microwave a few seconds. The heat brings them back to life. And here is the good news that might get you pitting cherries, each muffin is less than 200 calories!
CHERRY CHEDDAR MUFFINS
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cherries, fresh, pitted
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, use sharp or extra sharp cheese
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12-cavity muffin pan. Make sure all ingredients except melted butter are at room temperature before proceeding
2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cherries and cheese.
3. cheese another bowl,whisk the eggs lightly. Whisk in milk and butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; add the milk mixture and gently stir together until just combined.
4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the muffins feel firm when lightly pressed on the top.
Yield: 12 muffins
Recipe adapted from a Cabot Cheese Co. Recipe
|Mis en Place|
|Dry vs. Wet|
|Stir just to combine or they will be tough muffins!|
|Perfect for a dozen|
|I know! You are looking for your cherry pitter now.|
Go for it!