My Italian background and living in proximity to Arthur Avenue and Tremont Avenue in the Bronx means that I have tasted a lot of Italian pastries in my life. Some of my fondest memories include going to the bakery with my Grandpa to pick out a wide array of Italian cookies to bring home in the white box, tied with the twisted red and white string, or walking into Zeppieri & Sons Bakery (my Grandma's cousin's place) to pick out sweets for afternoon coffee.
One of my favorite cookies was the little chocolate butter cookie, always topped with a singular maraschino cherry. They were simple, not too sweet, and complemented strong black coffee (always brewed on the stove top).
This cozy time of year makes me nostalgic about those bakery visits, and I wanted to recreate that cherry-chocolate flavor, so I came up with these muffins. If you're not a cherry chocolate fan, you might like to try my recipe for these Cinnamon Muffins instead.
CHERRY CHOCOLATE MUFFINS
1 CUP FROZEN DARK CHERRIES
1/2 CUP DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS (I USED GUITTARD EXTRA DARK)
6 EGGS, BEATEN WELL
1 CUP WATER
1 CUP COCONUT FLOUR
1/4 CUP PALM SHORTENING OR MELTED (COOLED) VIRGIN COCONUT OIL
1/2 CUP HONEY OR MAPLE SYRUP
1 TSP BAKING SODA
1/2 TSP SEA SALT
1/4 TSP VANILLA MAX OR 1 TBSP VANILLA EXTRACT
Start by preheating a 350 degree F oven. Whisk the eggs until thoroughly beaten, then add the rest of the ingredients. Using either a whisk or hand blender, stir the mixture until well combined. You may see a few tiny lumps of the palm shortening, and that will cook off just fine in the oven.
Using a silicone spatula, fold in the cherries and chocolate, until they are evenly dispersed. Be cautious when folding, so the cherries don't get too squished and turn the batter a dark color.
Fill each parchment muffin paper with similar amounts of batter, filled nearly to the top, since they rise very little. I prefer to use a large ice cream scoop to ensure every muffin paper is filled evenly, but a spoon will do. Bake them for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown with slightly firm edges.
Do you love cherries and chocolate? If so, you will adore these simple muffins. They make a great, quick treat for entertaining guests this time of year, and a wonderful hostess gift if you happen to visit friends.
What is your current favorite muffin recipe?