Cherry white chocolate muffins with pecan streusel topping

by Patricia on September 8, 2009 · 3 comments

The name, though a bit long, sounds kind of exciting doesn’t it? Yep. The name is pretty exciting. The muffins aren’t bad either… although they are not as exciting as I had hoped. Oh, they are tasty good. But I didn’t put enough cherry OR white chocolate into them. And somehow there is never enough streusel topping. Maybe I like my muffins overstreuseled. Maybe I’m especially picky today. Maybe I should move on…
cherry-muffin

At any rate, these are good muffins. No, they are. They are not overly sweet. And they are not dry. The crowns rose nicely on all twelve muffins. And they were easy to throw together. But if I had it to do over again (which I will soon), I would either add more dried cherries and white chocolate chips or I would use fresh or frozen cherries instead of the dried ones. I chose the dried cherries because that is what is I thought I wanted. The cherry-white chocolate bread from the farmer’s market that I love so much uses dried cherries (incidentally, this bread was my first introduction to the cherry with white chocolate flavor combination. It was like a smack on the head really… why didn’t I think of that? So good. I must try to make this bread someday… it’s just that, well… sometimes yeast breads are intimidating. And sometimes I’m easily intimidated).

Fresh cherries would have given it more fruitiness like in a blueberry muffin which in the end is what these muffins were missing. But I think more dried (tart) cherries might be all these needed. I just had too many bites sans cherries.

My favorite part of the whole muffin? The streusel topping:

cherry-muffin-streusel

I chopped up a handful of pecans and threw them into the topping. So to be especially specific, my favorite part of the muffin was the pecans in the streusel topping. But then I love pecans. Note to self: don’t be so stingy with the mix-ins and streusel next time.

cherry-muffin-cut

Looking at this photo you probably think I’m crazy for saying I needed to add more cherries, but you see, I chose this muffin just for the photograph. I thought for a moment about just pretending they all were as chock-full of fruit and chips as this one perfect muffin. But truth be told, I think nearly all of the cherries wound up in this one muffin because there were others that only had one…
cherry-muffin-one

Lonely little thing. Still, these are worth a try… just add more cherries and white chocolate than I did (or try fresh or frozen raspberries or blueberries instead). And add more streusel of course.

Cherry white chocolate muffins
(adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking‘s Early Morning Muffins)

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (4 3/4 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons or 3 ounces) butter
2/3 cup (5 3/4 ounces) buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
about 1 cup dried cherries*
about 1/2 cup white chocolate chips*
[*Note: these are the quantities I used, you should try adding more. No, really. Don’t be stingy]

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil 12-cup muffin tin with butter or spray oil.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda).
3. Melt the butter. Then stir in the buttermilk.
4. Allow this mixture to cool for 1 to 2 minutes, just until tepid (lukewarm). Then beat in the eggs and vanilla.
5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the butter mixture into the well and stir gently with a rubber spatula only until it is barely mixed together (there will be some small lumps and that is okay… better to have small lumps than to overmix).
6. Gently fold in cherries and white chocolate.
7. Divide evenly among the muffin cups. (I like to use a large ice cream scoop for this).
8. Sprinkle streusel topping on the muffins (recipe below).
9. Bake 16-20 minutes.
10. Cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Notes: You can store these in a resealable plastic container for about 2 days or in the freezer for about 1 month. To reheat: Wrap in foil, place in a 325 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes.

Streusel topping
(also from The Art and Soul of Baking)

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped nuts (like almonds or pecans)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Whisk together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nuts.
2. Pour the butter over the dry mixture. Stir with a spoon until evenly damp.
3. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of streusel over each muffin.

{ 2 comments }

1 Patricia September 11, 2009 at 4:41 pm

That’s a great idea Joannna. I don’t usually bake with dried fruits. I’ll try soaking the cherries next time. Thanks!

2 Joanna September 10, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Mmmm, these muffins sound so good right now! And like you, I love streusel topping…..gee, I can’t wait to make these!

If I may suggest one thing, well…yes, definitely add more cherries, but I would reconstitute* the cherries before adding to the batter. I almost always do this when using dried fruit in a recipe. I think it gives it a fresh fruitiness without actually using fresh fruit, give it a try!

* If using 1 cup of dried fruit, add 1/2 cup hot liquid (water, juice, cognac, brandy, etc), let stand for 15 minutes. Strain and then add to batter.

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