Although most of the technical season called “summer” did not arrive here in the Pacific Northwest this year, the cooler weather did not deter our favourite fruits and vegetables from growing just as well. They may have been a tad late (three weeks in some cases), but those of us who were in the know kept waiting with bated breath. As long as it doesn’t rain everyday and no frost befalls us, those fruits will be here.
And the waiting paid off. Although we didn’t make it to the Okanagan this year (as in years past), Adrian’s parents made the journey with us at top of mind. Upon their return, we were greeted with 20 lbs. of beautiful black Lapin cherries, 10 lbs. of succulent yellow peaches and 20 lbs. of sweet, juicy apricots. It was a fruit lovers dream. If I were anyone else, I may have pulled out the canning supplies and stored some for next year. But you know what we did? We ate it. All of it. While it was still fresh. In a week. It was glorious. Our timing was aided by some Clearly Fresh Bag samples I had received a few weeks ago, and I’m very happy about that. Without the bags, I may have had to do something drastic, like preserve.
I did actually have to do something with the cherries though, because you know what eating 2 lbs of cherries yourself can do? Well, I won’t speak of it here…..but you know. We all remember back to when we were kids and didn’t know any better and ate 16 mandarin oranges at Christmas or a whole watermelon at camp. Right. I didn’t want that.
So I made Cherry Syrup, and Cherry Sherbet, and Chocolate Cherry Muffins. And we ate the rest.
Then my parents showed up from the Okanagan, with 10 more lbs. each of cherries, peaches and apricots. Oh my.
What can I say? We love our fruit around here. Soon enough, our own fruit trees will be producing edibles. We’ve got a fig (squee!), two pears, two Italian plums and two apples. I can see canning in my future there.
These muffins came from needing a portable snack for my kids, but wanting it to feel like a bit of a treat. Now I’m not saying these are “healthy” muffins, but I did my best at making them slightly better for you by adding the whole wheat flour, cutting the sugar from the usual amount and adding in the super food antioxidant, cacao nibs. I also made them lusciously decadent by adding a pinch of cardamom and browning the butter before adding. I hate using oil in muffins, I just can’t bear it. It’s brown butter for me or nothing. In fact, the only oil muffins I like are from my uncle Colin, who makes a fabulous cheddar apple muffin every Sunday morning. It’s to die for over a cup of coffee and a nice conversation.
One year ago: Stuffed Pork Loin
Two years ago: Chocolate Almond Cookies
Whole Wheat Chocolate Cherry Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups pitted cherries, quartered
1/4 cup raw cacao nibs
1. Line muffin tins with paper cups. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Allow to cook without stirring for about 5 minutes, swirling every so often. When the butter foams up and turns a brownish tinge, remove from heat. Set aside.
3. Whisk buttermilk, eggs and vanilla in a small bowl. Add slightly cooled butter and stir to combine.
4. In a separate large bowl, whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cardamom and cocoa. Add the milk/butter mix to the dry mix and stir just enough to combine.
5. Fold in the cherries and cacao nibs.
6. Divide equally among the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in tin on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Turn out of tin and finish cooling.
7. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or freeze for 2-3 months.
Similarly delicious recipes from other fabulous food blogs:
Chocolate Cherry Brownies from 101 Cookbooks
Chocolate Cherry Crisp on White on Rice Couple
Chocolate Cherry Ricotta Grilled Pizzas on Family Fresh Cooking
Chocolate Cherry Fudge Bundt on A Farm Girl’s Dabbles
White Chocolate Cherry Scones on My Baking Addiction