YIELD: 12 muffins
Author: Beth Williams
Photographer: Meg Raines
2 cups white flour
2/3 cup of sugar, plus extra for dusting
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (use plain unsweetened almond milk for extra almond taste!)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (for example, canola or grapeseed)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup fresh red cherries, pitted and quartered
Handful of sliced almonds (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
2. Prepare muffin tins with liners, or grease with butter or vegetable oil.
3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
4. In a separate bowl, beat egg with a fork. Add milk, vegetable oil and almond extract. Stir will.
5. Pour wet ingredients into dry mixture. Stir until just combined, using as few strokes as possible. Fold in cherries gently, just to distribute. Batter should still be lumpy but no dry flour should be visible. Tip: don't over-mix as it will result in dry muffins.
6. Fill muffin tins to 3/4 full. Sprinkle a little sugar on top of each muffin and sliced almonds if using.
7. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until tops spring back when pressed gently, or a sharp knife comes out clean.
8. Remove muffins from tins and cool on a cooling rack.
* You'll be tempted to try these hot out of the oven, but have patience. They may crumble if not cooled thoroughly.
* You can make these year-round. Just use frozen cherries when fresh cherries are no longer available.
* Muffins are easy to freeze. Just cool completely before putting in the freezer where muffins should keep for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or zap for 30 secs-1 min in the microwave if you're impatient!