Does it seem like I am posting a lot of muffin recipes? Well, that would be because I am, and with good reason. It’s Muffin Mania in my house these days. We are about to embark on back to back family vacations – a week with my family up at a cottage in Muskoka (Ontario), and then a week with my husband’s family at a beach rental in Rhode Island. It’s hard to say which family vacation will be more chaotic, what with 7 adults and 4 children in Muskoka, and 8 adults and 6 children in Rhode Island. And all of the baggage, both emotional and literal, that comes along on a family vacation.
So I arming myself with with muffins, at least for the trip down to Rhode Island. I am not sure the Canadian Border Patrol will let me declare a few dozen muffins at the Toronto airport, so the trip up to Muskoka will be sadly muffinless. I figured that having a few dozen muffins on hand might make the mornings slightly less chaotic, as we are all slathering our children in sunscreen for various outdoor activities. So I have plans for several more kinds of muffins, at least one of which will be low carb for me, and all of them are going into the freezer until we are back from Canada and packing up for RI.
As we had some cherries that were languishing in the bottom of our fridge, I thought that some sort of chocolate muffin recipe might be a good way to use them up. Most chocolate cherry recipes I found on the internet appear use dried cherries, but I didn’t see any reason why fresh cherries wouldn’t work. A search just for chocolate muffins led me to this wonderful recipe from The Joy of Baking. Of course, I didn’t do it exactly as it was written, because I never do. I decided I could tweak the recipe to up the health quotient just a tad. I used all whole wheat flour, because I had no all-purpose as it was, and I reduced the sugar to just half a cup. With the added chocolate chips and some sweet cherries, I didn’t think they needed 1 1/4 cups of sugar. And if you’ve seen my rant on cupcakes disguised as muffins, you know how I feel about overly sweet breakfast foods!
The Results: They baked up beautifully, despite being 100% whole wheat, and they don’t seem overly-dense at all. I think the buttermilk has a hand in keeping them light and tender. I had my trusty taste-testers (aka husband and kids) try them and they declared them delicious, and they quite liked the fresh cherries inside. Even the child who says she doesn’t like “things” in her muffins downed her portion happily. I suspect the chocolate chips helped!
I did take a sneak of the batter from the bowl after the muffins were in the oven, and it seemed very good. I was glad I had reduced the sugar so much, because even that single taste was quite sweet. The rest are now in the freezer, awaiting the two hour car ride to Narragansett, RI, where I am sure they will be consumed quite quickly. Now on to the next batch of muffins!
Chocolate Cherry Muffins – adapted from the Joy of Baking
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk (I use buttermilk powder, which you add to the dry ingredients and then add the appropriate amount of water in with the wet ingredients)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 374F and grease 12-14 muffin tins, or line with paper liners (I got 14 muffins out of this recipe).
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in chocolate chips and cherries. If using buttermilk powder, add it in here with dry ingredients.
Add melted butter, beaten eggs, buttermilk (or water, if using buttermilk powder) and vanilla all at once. Stir until ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix.
Divide batter among prepared muffin tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.