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stick a candle in it

April 12 2009 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Breakfast,Recipe » 16 comments


Over the weekend, my kitchen—usually a storm of activity—was, for the most part, quiet.  Kevin and I celebrated his birthday by spending Saturday night in Milwaukee, where the Cubs were playing the Brewers.  So, while we ate plenty of delicious things and drank our fair share of the beverage for which Milwaukee is known, we didn’t do much cooking.  But I had grand plans for a Sunday birthday cake project once we got back to Chicago.  We even had the perfect recipe picked out.


But, by the time we got home on Sunday, neither of us had the heart for making or eating a decadent birthday cake.  The sun was shining and beckoning us out into the day, so we walked, we jogged and we even opened the windows while we unpacked.  Time slipped away and with it went all hopes for the birthday cake.


I did, on a whim, whip up a batch of muffins though.  I used this basic recipe, swapping out the lemon and ginger flavors for dried cherries and almond extract—a combination that I love.  And Kevin’s already happily munched his way through a couple of them, sprinkling me with compliments along the way.  And, I have to say, I agree.  They’ve got a great open, light crumb and they’re deeply almondy, each bite studded with the chew and tartness of plump dried cherries.


I’m still feeling a little guilty about the lack of birthday cake, so perhaps we’ll have to stick a candle into one of these muffins and put it behind us.


Cherry-Almond Muffins

Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup plain yogurt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cherries
raw or sanding sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375.  Line 12-cup muffin tin with muffin/cupcake liners.

In one large bowl, whisk together the flour through salt.  In another large bowl, whisk together the yogurt through vanilla.  Toss the cherries in a tablespoon of the flour mixture.  Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.  Fold in the cherries.

Divide the batter between the 12 muffin liners.  Sprinkle each muffin with sugar.

Bake 20 to 23 minutes, until puffed and just golden around the edges.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

16 comments so far. »
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  1. Megan says on April 12 2009 at 8:31 pm:

    Were you there to watch the Cubs or Brewers? I’m a huge Cubs fan! These muffins look delicious!

  2. Whitney Merritt says on April 12 2009 at 8:43 pm:

    I bet that flavor combo is awesome. What cake did you talk yourself out of?

  3. Risa says on April 13 2009 at 4:28 am:

    Almond and cherry sound perfect together.

  4. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on April 13 2009 at 6:38 am:

    Megan: Cubs!

    Whitney: It was a chocolate mousse cake on Epicurious. Hoping to get to it eventually …

    Risa: Thanks!

  5. Tabitha (From Single to Married) says on April 13 2009 at 7:03 am:

    mmm… these look fantastic! And I think it’s a great idea to use these instead of the birthday cake. Who needs those extra calories, right? :)

  6. KT says on April 13 2009 at 11:10 am:

    Wow, it definitely looks like you’re back on your game this week! I would like to try these for sure. Question – do you know what kind of dried cherries these are? There are like 5 different kinds in the bulk section at Whole Foods (tart, sweetened, unsweetened, etc.). Do you think it matters what kind?

    BTW – about the chocolate birthday cake… This probably isn’t the same one (it was originally from Epicurious, adapted by Molly Wizenberg) but I’ve started making it for b’days to share – http://orangette.blogspot.com/2004/09/on-not-getting-killed-learning-to-be.html

  7. codfish says on April 13 2009 at 5:45 pm:

    I’ve had that guilty no-cooking feeling before—but I say stick a candle in it, Kristin, and rest easy knowing that a good birthday weekend was had, cake or not. : )

    Gorgeous muffins—almond and cherries are a favorite of mine, too

  8. Culinary Cory says on April 14 2009 at 6:52 am:

    Birthday muffins. How fun! Sounds like you had a fun weekend.

  9. Megan says on April 14 2009 at 2:54 pm:

    Wow this looks lovely!! The combination of cherry and almond always gets me!

  10. sarah says on April 14 2009 at 4:31 pm:

    Those look delicious! I love the almond flavor, mixed with cherries sounds delicious!

    I’ve been a follower of your blog for a few months now and absolutely love it! You’ve inspired me to try some new things and I haven’t been disappointed in any of them yet! :)

  11. Jennifer says on April 14 2009 at 5:58 pm:

    I love this combo of flavors! I see you use yogurt in your muffins too- makes them sooo moist!! :)

  12. Treehouse Chef says on April 15 2009 at 8:10 am:

    This looks delicious!

  13. Betsy says on April 15 2009 at 10:40 am:

    If you like almonds and cherries – try macerating dried cherries in amaretto (after briefly boiling the cherries in a tiny bit of water to get them hot and then draining). The smell is amazing! (They were pretty good in the bread pudding I made over the weekend too)

  14. sue bette says on April 16 2009 at 3:14 am:

    Sometimes I think that birthdays are less about the cake and more about someone taking the time to bake something for you & muffins sound perfect. I like Betsy’s idea of macerating the cherries in a little booze – dash up the sweet a little bit and you’ve got a neat little savory/sweet cupcake!

  15. Betsy says on April 16 2009 at 9:58 pm:

    These look great! Any idea how they’d do with white whole wheat flour?

  16. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on April 20 2009 at 8:12 pm:

    Risa: They are!

    Tabitha: Seriously.

    KT: The bag at Whole Foods just said Dried Cherries. I think you’d be fine with any kind. If they’re (particularly) sweetened, though, you might want to dial back the sugar.

    Robin: Thanks!

    Culinary Cory: Thank you! We did.

    Megan: Me too — I’m a sucker for it.

    sarah: Thanks for your note! So sweet.

    Jennifer: It sure does.

    Treehouse Chef: Thanks!

    Betsy: That sounds outrageously good!

    Betsy: I think that would work. I’d do that before trying ww pastry flour. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

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