July 19, 2017

Sour Cherry Apple Muffins

I remember sitting down in my great-aunt May's kitchen one Saturday afternoon, some nine or ten years ago. She and her daughter are bakers, and they brought out a plate of their homemade orange blueberry muffins. We fell so in love with them that she wrote down the recipe (originally from AllRecipes), for us to take home (along with more muffins, of course, because they're that gracious).

My mom's kept this recipe in her recipe box (that's right, she has a physical box for recipes!), but given that she doesn't bake or cook very much, it's remained tucked away for all these years. Several times, I've tried looking up "orange blueberry muffin recipe" with no success (turns out, the original is called "Blueberry Oat Muffins").

But during the first weekend this month, my mom's side of the family came to stay with us; blueberry picking happened to be on our itinerary. We came home with several boxes of the largest blueberries we managed to scavenge, too many to eat as is. I offhandedly mentioned how badly I wanted to bake blueberry muffins but didn't have enough time to. When I walked into the kitchen before work one morning, I found blueberry muffins on top of our cake stand on the table. What a sweet surprise from my mom. The subtle hints of orange came through the muffin I ate, and I instantly knew it was the recipe Aunt May had given us!

I remade the recipe the following weekend, but this time, using the sour cherries that my mom picked up from the farm that same weekend. I'm not a big fan of cherries to begin with, but these sour cherries are reminiscent of cranberries - tart and tangy. With my brother's and my favorite muffin being cranberry nut, I decided to sub in sour cherries for blueberries in hopes of making a cranberry-like muffin. We just so happened to run out of orange juice but had more apple juice from the farm (this farm has it all, doesn't it?), so I threw that into the batter as well.

These muffins aren't too sweet but have just enough sugar to contribute to the food science chemistry reactions that yield a perfectly tender crumb. You won't even know that there are oats in them! Whether you use quick-cooking or rolled oats, they'll cook right into the muffins and keep them moist (no health-nut, dense, dry muffins here).

This recipe is loosely adapted from AllRecipes

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