Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cherry, Almond & Chocolate Chunk Muffins

'Muffins' we wrote with a flourish in the weekly  'menu' for the things I could make for the kids' school snack box. This snack went on the day of the week when they could take 'junk' food.  I know, if I were a kid, I would have probably wanted them at least 2 days a week to school. Too bad, we had no snack break at school and my mother did not bake either. 
My children would surely be excited to take muffins to school, home-made ones at that! I would be equally happy at the thought of starting my day with smell of vanilla and the sight of little fresh muffins materializing out of the oven in so little time with even lesser effort! The rewards - delighted kids who 'just can't wait for short break' and a happy mother. The simple pleasures of life often come in tiny packages - in this case some simple but versatile muffins. 

 Now I must include that a good, dependable muffin recipe is a must have in every home-baker's repertoire. Joy to make these little treats at a moment's notice with whatever you have on hand or whatever your kids fancy at the moment. Relatively healthy these are as is, you could sneak in some whole wheat or almond meal and some chopped  fresh fruit for some more goodness. I see more muffins landing in the snack boxes!

With cherries in season, I made some with fresh cherries, almond meal and dark chocolate. Yum!

Recipe adapted from Better Homes And Gardens Homemade Bread Book. This recipe appears as Best Ever Muffins in this book,  variations below.

Ingredients -
All purpose flour - 162 grams / 1 1/4 cup
Almond meal - 1/2 cup (or whole wheat flour or more APF)
Baking powder - 2 1/2 teaspoons
Salt -  1/2 teaspoon
Sugar, super fine - 6-8 tablespoons (read note)
Egg, beaten - 1
Milk - 3/4 cup
Vegetable oil - 1/3 cup
Vanilla - 1 teaspoon

Add ins -
2/3 cup pitted, chopped fresh cherries
Dark chocolate chunks - 1/2 cup
Procedure: Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C / 400 degrees F. Line your muffin cups with liners (12 for this recipe).

Whisk or sieve together the flours, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl. In another small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, dump the wet ingredients all at once in the well. Stir until just before the flour disappears. Add the cherries and chocolate. Stir till just moistened. Do not over mix.
Fill the greased liners 2/3 full. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or till risen and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Variations :
Lemon Blueberry muffins : Fold in 3/4 to 1 cup fresh blueberries or frozen berries, thawed and drained along with 1 teaspoon lemon zest.
Cheese muffins : Reduce sugar to 1/4 cup, stir in 1/2 cup grated sharp natural cheddar cheese into the dry ingredients.
Date and Orange muffins : Substitute 3/4 cup orange juice for the milk, whisk in 1 teaspoon orange peel in it. Stir in 1/2 cup finely chopped dates, 1/2 cup chopped nuts.

Fresh fruit, juice, coffee and walnuts, Nutella swirl or chocolate swirl. And of course more variations as you please.
Sugar : Add sugar according to taste and with the other add ins in mind.

PS: The pictures here are taken by Ajay, my neighbor who happens to be a very keen photographer. These are the first few  of his food photography shots. Thanks so much Ajay for the lovely pictures and all the time and effort you put into this! The chocolate chunk and mint muffins above are some this shining new baker just stepping out of IIT made for himself!


Rajani said...

whole wheat banana nut muffins are a staple snack box item at our home too - you have helped me add to the recipe list. And the mini muffin moulds available at GFA help me make bite size muffins - great for my finicky daughter..

Rajani said...

The bowl of cherries make a very pretty pic - I did think the photography style was different in this post - Ajay, way to go!

Namita said...

Muffins look deliciously healthy and any kid would love to have them in his snack box. Great tea time treats too! The variations that you've mentioned offer great combination and variety.

Archana said...

I saw cherries in the market and was so tempted to pick it up but wasn't sure what I'd make with it...this sounds absolutely delicious ! And you have a new photographer for your blog now !!

Unknown said...

Chery muffin looks moist and delicious.

Akila said...

Wow, these look yummy. Love the various other variations you have suggested too. Will try this weekend for sure
The pictures make perfect justice, please congratulate your neighbour

divya said...

looks sooo yummy n delicious...

Noodlehead said...

such a perfect time for you to post this. my 6yo has to take snacks from home this year and i was wondering what to make for her. She loves muffins and I was planning a banana-chocochip one. This one seems better though and she LOVES cherries. One q though, did you make your almond meal or is it available at GFA?

Unknown said...

Those Pictures are so tempting my god. You added cherry to the cakes and made it complete.