Monday, June 24, 2013

Backyard Treasures

We have lived in our house for nine years (which is crazy to me), and we have had this ugly prickly tree in the backyard that assaults any being who gets too close.  Decomposed berries hang off the tree and scatter all over the ground; we have had many years of trying to keep the animals away from them.  

Our friends were over last summer and they took a picture of the tree with its leaves and berries.  After consulting with some gardening experts, they reported back that the tree is a sour cherry tree.  That's pretty awesome, but what do you do with sour cherries?  I made a batch of just-OK scones last year and called it a day.

Good thing this prickly beast provides some tasty cherries.
The eldest Picky has been watching the tree with baited breath and yesterday she announced it was finally ready!  Sure enough, the little hanging fruit had turned bright red overnight.  So as the Pickies got ready for the day (ie: started the fighting before 8:00 a.m.), I harvested some of the cherries.

Surprisingly, I was inspired to bake yesterday afternoon and I put Little Miss Picky to work.  In-between Kelly Clarkson tunes, while I got the batter ready, I taught her how to prep the cherries-she removed the stems, rinsed them and pitted each one.  I was glad to have her so helpful and willing.  (Because let's face it-you never know what you will get with an almost nine-year old girl).

And the muffins were a pretty awesome mix of sweet and sour.  Kind of like my Pickies.

Cherry Almond Muffins

1 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup favorite vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups sliced sour cherries

Preheat oven to 375 degree.  Grease your favorite muffin pan-you know, the one that doesn't have all the crispsies from the last baking adventure.  In a small bowl, add the apple cider vinegar to the coconut milk and set aside (this my non-vegan friends, is how you make butter"milk").  

In a large mixing bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients.  Add the oil and extract to your milk and gently pour it into the flour mixture.  Mix together until the batter is moistened...don't over-mix!  Fold the cherries gently into the batter.

Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 of the way.  Sprinkle with sugar on top.  Bake for 25 minutes.  
Try not to eat them all.

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