Spring cherry blossoms make me think of cherry cobbler, but I promised Wichita Sims’ husband muffins this week. I adapted a recipe I found online from Molly Katzen, the lady behind the Moosewood and Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbooks, but I ended up changing it so much, I don’t think it’s really her recipe anymore. I didn’t set out to make that many changes, but one thing led to another and my recipe morphed into something new. I’ve never tasted a muffin exactly like this one. The brown sugar, combined with the crunch of corn meal, gives them a true cobbler taste.
Important to note if you are thawing frozen cherries as I did, the bag said it held 2.5 cups of cherries but after I thawed, drained, and chopped them, there were only 1.5 cups of cherries, taking up about 1 3/4 cups in the measuring cup with the Triple Sec. I like to soak my fruit in booze. The alcohol burns off in baking but I like the flavor left behind. It’s the same reason we bake with vanilla. Triple Sec has that great orange flavor I was after but any fruit brandy or rum would probably be nice.
Dairy-Free Cherry Muffins
1 cup Bisquick (I used HeartSmart Bisquick in the white box)
1 cup corn meal (I used white)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus more for topping, if desired
A pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup brown sugar plus more for the tops if desired
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
4 tablespoons of melted Earth Balance plus a bit more for the muffin tin
1 egg or egg substitute equivalent
1 1/2 cups of chopped, pitted cherries (sweet or tart — either one — I used sweet and soaked them in Triple Sec beforehand)
1/2 cup Triple Sec (optional) to soak the cherries
Preheat the oven to 400 and grease your muffin tin — even if it’s non-stick.
Mix the dry ingredients well in a big bowl.
Combine the wet ingredients (except the cherries), beating the egg into the almond milk and OJ. Don’t be alarmed if it curdles.
The next step is crucial. You want to combine the wet ingredients into the dry, but if you over beat it, you will get tough muffins. Add the cherries last and don’t worry if there are still some lumps. Pour into muffin tins and bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centers of the muffins.
Cool on a rack about 10 minutes before removing from tins.
For the record, I only got 6 large muffins with this recipe. I would double it if I ever did it again. Did you get that? 6 muffins! Some people have asked me to keep a strict count of my muffins.