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Dried Cherry Muffins

(recipe, Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins)

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From the northern woods of Michigan come the most delicious cherries imaginable. In fact, over 75 percent of our nation's cherries are grown here. Thank goodness they're now being dried again, as the Indians once did, for they give a most concentrated cherry flavor. We love to sit and snack on them, but buttermilk muffins seem to be the perfect wrapping — served warm, their flavor is at its peak.


  1. 1 cup dried cherries, pitted (about 8 ounces with pits)
  2. 1 cup buttermilk
  3. 1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  4. 2 tsp. baking powder
  5. 1 tsp. baking soda
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  8. ¾ cup sugar
  9. 2 eggs, lightly beaten


  1. Combine the cherries and buttermilk in a small bowl, and set aside to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter 18 muffin cups or line them with paper liners.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and spoon the cherries and buttermilk into it. Then add the butter-sugar mixture. Mix until thoroughly blended, but do not overmix.
  6. Fill the cups two-thirds full with the batter, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack and allow them to cool.


Culinate editor's notes: We've made these muffins for years — using Oregon cherries, of course. Sometimes we change it up, however. Try substituting 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, plus 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, for the 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour called for in the original recipe. No buttermilk on hand? Mix together 1/2 cup plain yogurt and 1/2 cup milk instead. No butter? Use 1/2 cup vegetable oil. For chocolate-cherry muffins, add 1/2 cup baking cocoa to the dry ingredients.