previous monthly muffins
It’s cherry season, y’all!!
I’m still working through about a pound of black cherries that I bought a week ago, even after making 48 ounces of cherry jam and many, many batches of these muffins. Half of my shirts are stained from pitting the cherries, I almost ruined a kitchen towel crushing the pits (to get the kernels out for the jam), and I’m bursting with roasty, toasty, hazelnutty goodness.
Hazelnut is one among my favorite flavors, but as much as I love it, hazelnut will never surpass almond. What’s more, almond is a more traditional companion for dark cherries. In fact, the kernels inside the cherry pits taste and smell like almond (and my cherry jam has heaps of Amaretto and Cognac.)
That being said, I used almond in my blackberry almond muffins, and I wanted to venture a little outside my comfort zone. Meaning, I wanted to buy hazelnuts for the first time.
I had actually found a bag of whole hazelnuts at my grocery store a month ago and I couldn’t resist buying them and storing them in the freezer. When I decided on this recipe, it was the perfect opportunity to start digging into the bag of nuts (and an excuse to buy Frangelico.)
The sweetness and tartness of the cherries is naturally complemented by the Kirschwasser, a German black cherry liqueur (the name means “cherry water”), and it pairs well with the sweet nuttiness of the hazelnuts (which are accented with the Frangelico, an Italian hazelnut liqueur.) You can swap out Cognac, another popular cherry companion, for either of the other flavors, but I recommend keeping the Frangelico for an extra hazelnut boost in the muffin batter. Lightly toasting the hazelnuts really intensifies their flavor. When using raw nuts in pastries, I almost always toast them first.
black cherry hazelnut muffins with kirsch and frangelico
based on my whole wheat rhubarb muffins
4 oz hazelnuts
4 oz all-purpose flour
4 oz whole wheat flour
3 oz almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
5 oz granulated sugar
4 oz canola oil
7 oz milk
1 tsp Kirschwasser (black cherry liqueur; can also substitute Cognac or Amaretto)
1 tsp Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur; can make the same substitutions as above, but the Frangelico is strongly suggested for more hazelnut flavor)
8 oz dark cherries, pitted and cut in half (pitting cherries and olives is easy with the right tool!)
Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C and line a muffin pan with paper muffin liners.
Place the hazelnuts in a single layer in a small skillet or on a baking sheet, and toast them lightly on the stove or in the oven for about 5 – 7 minutes, shaking them around occasionally, until they start to brown a little bit and you can smell them.
Transfer the toasted hazelnuts to a cutting board and let them cool while you prepare the rest of the batter.
In a small bowl, combine the all-purpose, whole wheat, and almond flours, and the salt and baking powder.
When the hazelnuts have cooled down, coarsely chop them. They don’t need to be too small, but they should be smaller than a whole hazelnut. Cutting them in half is fine. Add the chopped toasted hazelnuts to a bowl with the pitted and halved cherries.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, milk, Kirschwasser, and Frangelico.
Add the dry mixture to the wet and quickly mix together. Mix in the cherries and hazelnuts.
Using a cookie scoop or large spoon, divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and bake 30 – 35 minutes, until the tops spring back when pressed down lightly in the center or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool for a few minutes in the pan, then transfer them to a wire rack to continue cooling.
Muffins last up to 48 hours wrapped individually in plastic. If they start to go a little stale, you can microwave them for about 15 seconds.