You rarely find fresh cherries in pastries and desserts because cherries aren’t available year-round like other fruits. In California, cherry season is from mid-April to early June, so if you blink you just might miss it. This week, I bought the last of the season cherries from Murray Family Farms. While Murray’s won’t have any more cherries available this season, there are other farmers that will have cherries available for a couple more weeks, but after that we’ll have to wait until next year.
Due to limited availability and a very short season, I am always torn whether to just eat them fresh or bake with them. With that said, I do enjoy adding fresh cherries to baked goods. In this recipe, I created a dark chocolate muffin recipe with fresh cherries. The slightly bitter chocolate and the tart dark cherries compliment each other well. These muffins are moist in the center and crunchy on top from the raw turbinado sugar, which adds a golden brown color that contrasts nicely with the dark brown muffins. Try this recipe before cherry season is over. Enjoy!
Dark Chocolate Cherry Muffins
Yield: About 16 muffins
2 cups of Sonora wheat flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of Valrhona cocoa powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
½ cup of unsalted butter, soften
3/4 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup of sour cream
1/3 cup of whole milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of pitted and chopped ripe dark cherries (Bing or Tulare)
2/3 cup of dark chocolate chips
Turbinado sugar for topping
1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line the muffin pans with cupcake liners.
2. In a medium bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk and break up any lumps. If the cocoa powder is lumpy, sift the dry ingredients.
3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter on medium speed for 2 minutes.
4. Add one egg, beat until combined. Add the second egg ask beat well until smooth.
5. Add sour cream, milk, and the vanilla extract. Beat until the mixture is smooth.6. Set the mixer on low speed. Slowly add the in the dry ingredients until just a few streaks of flour is visible. Turn off the mixer and release the bowl.
7. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dark chocolate chips and the cherries, but don’t over mix.
8. Scoop the batter with a large ice cream scoop into a lined muffin pan. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
9. Bake for 20-22 minutes, but don’t overbake. Check with a toothpick at the 20 minute mark.
10. When the muffins are done, immediately remove them from the muffin pans and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool for 10 minutes and serve with a tall glass of milk or coffee.