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Easy fresh cherry muffins with an almond twist

Recipe: Almond flavor three ways enhances the fruit-filled muffins

Cherry season finally has arrived. The early cherries are perfect to use in these muffins.

Cherry season finally has arrived. The early cherries are perfect to use in these muffins.

Debbie Arrington

Bowl of bright red cherries
Cherry season is worth celebrating.

Cherries have finally arrived in local farmers markets. This season’s crop was weather delayed at least three weeks by our cool spring. But they’re ripening rapidly now in mid-May heat.

The earliest cherries typically aren’t the sweetest, but they’re still bursting with juiciness and cherry tartness. That makes them ideal for these easy muffins, studded with cherry “bombs.”

Almonds are a natural complement to cherries. Almond flour adds richness and moistness to the batter as well as a subtle nuttiness. Muffins made with almond flour also turn out a little shorter (and darker on top) tha all-wheat flour counterparts, but they’re very tender – just what a muffin should be.

Demerara sugar is my favorite muffin topper. This large-grained sugar adds crunch as well as sweetness, but white sugar works well, too.

Fresh cherry-almond muffins

Makes 12 muffins


1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup almond flour

¾ cup white sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

2 tablespoons milk

1 large egg, beaten

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and quartered

¼ cup slivered almonds

2 tablespoons demerara or white sugar


12 baked muffins
Muffins fresh out of the oven.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin; either grease cups or line with paper or silicon liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, almond flour, ¾ cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, thin sour cream or yogurt with milk. Add egg, vegetable oil and extract.

Using a wooden spoon, mix sour cream/yogurt mixture with dry ingredients until just moistened. Batter will be thick. Gently fold in cherries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle tops of muffins with slivered almonds, then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and cool on rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Store muffins in the refrigerator.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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