It might appear to some that I am on the berry-roasting bandwagon.
It’s OK. Those somebodies are right.
Something sort of magical happens to berries when you roast them. The sweetness blooms, the formerly light juices darken and intensify – all for some fairly easy hands-off effort.
These muffins, on the other hand, do require some work – but they’ve stolen my heart, and they’re so worth it; kind of like my less-than-two year old niece: her energy level requires all hands on deck, but Good Golly – she’s worth every second!
The muffins don’t smile adorably at me, call me, “Yara” and make me want to bear-hug them, but they do tickle my nose with the light scent of cinnamon and whet my whistle at the thought of the smooth, almost creamy crumb laced with cherry goodness.
So before you dive in to make these, just be forewarned – they require some time. You can do it in steps though, and that makes it all seem less daunting.
I roasted the cherries the day before, pureed them in their own juices while they were still warm, then shoved them into the fridge until I was ready to use them.
On baking day, I browned the butter while I was making coffee, and set it aside to use a little later. While that was melting and browning, I made the crumble topping and put it in the fridge.
Then I went about some morning business and came back to the kitchen. The extra multi-step stuff was completed, so then throwing the muffins together didn’t seem quite so labor-intensive.
You’ll enjoy them. Really, you will.
And they’re purple!
Maybe we can invite a unicorn and some fairies to breakfast too.
Roasted Cherry Walnut Muffins
- 1 pound cherries, rinsed, dried, stems removed, and pitted (a little more than 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
for the topping:
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
for the muffins:
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup roasted cherries, pureed
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
To prepare the cherries:
Place rinsed, stemmed, pitted cherries in a baking 9"x9" baking dish with orange juice and sugar. Toss together. Roast at 400 degrees F for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Puree in a food processor or blender. At this point, you can store them in the fridge, or set them aside and continue on with the muffins.
To prepare the topping:
In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, walnuts, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Add cubes of cold butter and pinch mixture and butter together with your fingers until small crumbs form. Some bits will be larger than others, but try to make it as even as possible, without overworking the butter. Store in the fridge until ready to use. Keep in mind you will probably have extra topping and may not use all of it.
To prepare the muffins:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners. (You may have extra batter, so line a mini-muffin tin with a few liners, or a 6 muffin pan with a couple extras)
In a small saucepan, add butter. Cook over medium-low heat. Watch it closely as it melts. The oils and solids will separate, then the solids will begin to brown. When you see this happen, remove the pan from the heat, watch it till the solids are golden, then pour it into another dish to cool. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the pan clean. You must remove it from the pan, or it will burn. Set aside and allow to cool while you prepare the batter.
In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, egg and egg yolk, vanilla extract, and cooled cherry puree.
In another medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and chopped walnuts.
When the butter is cooler, slowly add it to the sour cream and egg mixture, stirring with a whisk or fork the entire time.
Once the butter is incorporated into the wet mixture, add the wet mixture all at once to the dry mixture. Stir with a fork until just mixed.
Divide the batter evenly between muffin cups. Remove crumble topping from fridge and sprinkle it evenly over muffins.
Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until crumble is golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan, on a wire rack for two minutes. Then remove muffins from the pan and allow to cool completely on the rack.
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