I was organizing the baking ingredient cupboard a while back (because I’ve given up the idea of cleaning the cupboard) and noticed that I had a lot of dried cherries. You know, two bags with a couple of teaspoons left plus one big bag from Costco that I hadn’t yet opened. Dried cherries are one of those things that I like to have on hand, but that was a lot of cherries. I set out to find a good use for those cherries and I can across this recipe.
This recipe is from a Williams Sonoma cookbook that was one of the first cookbooks that I remember purchasing. It has some great classic recipes as well as some new ideas: peanut butter muffins anyone? I hadn’t looked at this book for a while and I had also forgotten that it had some very interesting savory muffins, too. I can’t wait to try the sun-dried tomato herb muffins or the olive quick bread!
This recipe called for steeping the cherries in water, but that seemed kind of plain. I had a bottle of cherry liqueur on hand so why not use that?! The liqueur added a beautiful rich color to the batter, so don’t worry if your muffins are darker in color than you expect. The cherry liqueur gives the cherries a brilliant, bright cherry flavor. This baked treat isn’t for kids!
½ cup cherry liqueur (or hot water)
1 cup dried cherries
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
½ teaspoon almond extract
Coarse sugar, if desired
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the cherry liqueur and the dried cherries. Allow to infuse for about 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. To the cherry liqueur and the cherries, add the sugar, butter, eggs, and almond extract. Whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir to combine. The mixture may be a bit lumpy.
Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups. Top with coarse sugar, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe from Williams Sonoma Muffins and Quick Breads