Well, finally I got around to making these after going on about them for so long!
Before I get to those, however, I wanted to let you know that I finally purchased a Flex Edge Beater for my KitchenAid. I purchased via Amazon – and it cost me £29.12 with free packing as it was done via Amazon Prime.
Will it revolutionise my baking? Well, after one use with these muffins then I think it might! No scraping down the bowl. No collection of unmixed flour at the bottom. I look forward to making a sponge cake with it (oh, the things we dream of …)
But onward to the sour cherry saga. Well, you know part of it … Could I find dried cherries that hadn’t been sweetened with something? Could I buggery. Several supermarkets and healthfood shops were consulted – both chains and boutique – but they were all sweetened with some kind of juice – usually apple. I tracked some non-sweetened ones down online – and what a variety of prices! I eventually chose Pearls of Samarkand as these were a fair price (again, this was via Amazon as the price plus postage was slightly lower).
As I’ve said before, I really wanted something of a clash of flavours in a muffin and white chocolate and cherry seemed to be the way to go, with the sweetness countered by the sour. Originally I had decided to soak the cherries in lime juice to up the ante on the mouth-puckering sourness. However, upon trying one of the dried cherries I decided that they were sour enough, thank you, and therefore opted to use them as they are.
After just eating one of the (still warm) muffins – I have to say two things: the first is that if you’re after a chocolate and cherry muffin then this recipe is for you; the second is that if you’re after a real hit of sweet and sour then soak in lime juice. The sourness of the cherries is somewhat mellowed during the cooking, and I’ll definitely be a) pre-soaking the cherries and b) reducing the amount of sugar in the recipe.
The recipe I based mine off is located here. Oddly, it contains bicarbonate of soda AND self-raising flour, not something that I would usually do. However, with gritted teeth I added the bicarb and this – along with the two eggs – created a wonderfully light and fluffy muffin. I also only used 100g of white chocolate. You could probably increase this amount to 150g or even 200g if you wished.
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon bircarbonate of soda
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 150ml buttermilk
- Few drops vanilla extract
- 100g butter, melted
- 100g dried sour cherries
- 100g white chocolate, chopped
Preheat fan-assisted oven to 180C/350F. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
Sift the flour and bicarb together into a bowl. Mix in sugar.
Mix wet ingredients together and combine.
Add wet to dry and stir until just mixed. Stir in cherries and chocolate.
Spoon into muffin cases (I use a tablespoon and this mix gave me about 1.5 to 2 tablespoons to each case for 12 muffins).
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool slightly in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Tips for the next bake? Other than the extra souring of the cherries, and the addition of more chocolate (ahem) then possibly the adding of some Demarara sugar on top to create a bit of a crunch. Part of me also wants to add something to the batter … a spice of some kind … but I shall resist as they are truly delicious exactly as they are!