Making a muffin that’s as sophisticated as it is delicious is no easy task. The problem? It’s easy to make a bad muffin. I’ve done it. With the wrong ingredients or techniques, they turn out dense or dry or flat, or, even worse, sticky.
This weekend, I wanted to make a muffin that stood out from the rest. I wanted the runway model of muffins. I wanted moisture. I wanted golden brown crisp. I wanted sophistication. I wanted it all, bursting from a tin cup.
After reviewing innumerable muffin recipes (and making a few bad ones) I learned the secret ingredient to a great muffin: sour cream. It gives muffins a creamy texture, moistness, and bright flavor that elevates the whole muffin experience. It also browns better, adding a crunch to each bite.
The sour cream-infused batter mixed with dried cherries soaked in Vietnamese cinnamon, sugar, and Kirsch made for a down-home, delicious muffin with all the elegance of a French pastry.
Sour Cream and Cherry Kirsch Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup sugar (plus 1 tablespoon for cherry mixture)
4 tablespoon butter, softened
1-1/4 cup full fat sour cream
3/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
2 tablespoons Kirsch
1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 12-cup muffin pan with butter.
Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder. In a small bowl, mix together dried cherries, Kirsch, cinnamon, and a tablespoon of sugar and let sit.
Using a KitchenAid equipped with a paddle attachment, mix together the egg, sugar, and butter until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and mix until evenly blended.
Slowly mix in flour mixture until a thick, sticky batter forms. Add in the berry mixture and pecans and mix until combined.
Divide the batter into the muffin cups, and bake until the muffins are light golden brown or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 – 30 minutes.