Cherry Almond Chocolate Cardamom Muffins

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Lately Instagram has been a font of baking inspiration. 😉 I don’t remember where I saw it and they didn’t share a recipe, but someone’s delicious cherry chocolate muffin photo got my brain percolating.

I still have frozen cherries in the freezer from last summer’s u-pick adventures, and last week I found a good base recipe to riff on from King Arthur Flour. The original recipe says cherries and almonds are made for one another, and they definitely are, so that’s why I swapped in some almond flour. But you know chocolate and cherries are pretty amazing together too, and come on cardamom! These came out deliciously light and tender and just plain yummy.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped chocolate or mini-chocolate chips
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped cherries (drain before adding to batter)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
  • granulated sugar, for topping the muffins

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Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line with paper, or lightly grease a 12-well muffin pan.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients, including sugar and chocolate, together in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, butter, buttermilk, and extract together.
  4. Blend wet ingredients with dry until just mixed. Gently fold in chopped cherries.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin cups, and sprinkle toasted almonds and granulated sugar on top.
  6. Bake for about 30 mins. or until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean.

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Rhubarb Compote

It’s spring and I finally have productive rhubarb plants in my garden, so I’ve been making rhubarb dishes a couple times a week for maybe a month now? Anyway, I whipped up a rhubarb compote a few times lately, which it turns out is an awesome pancake topping, as well as makes a beautiful and yummy parfait. This almost doesn’t qualify as a recipe since it’s so easy! You can make this compote in 15 – 20 mins., and it keeps for about a week in the fridge, but I doubt it will stick around that long.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of chopped rhubarb (sub some strawberries if you want)
  • juice of 1 small mandarin or orange
  • 1/4 cup sugar

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Directions: 

Add all ingredients to a wide sauce pan or pot over medium heat. Gently stir occasionally and cook for 10 – 15 mins. until rhubarb is tender, but not total mush.

Serve over pancakes or layer it with yogurt and chia seed pudding for dessert or a special breakfast treat.

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DIY Clotted Cream

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Currant scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam

Last weekend I went out for tea with friends at the Clockwork Rose Tea Emporium in Beaverton, and one of the treats was homemade clotted cream with scones. So naturally I thought, “I have to make clotted cream.” Most groceries in the US don’t carry it, so particularly if you like scones, it’s a handy skill to pickup. Lo and behold, it’s super easy; it just takes some time. But just imagine how you’ll impress your friends at brunch!

There’s just one ingredient: heavy whipping cream. Preferably unpasteurized if you can find it (I couldn’t), but pasteurized works too (just avoid ultra pasteurized). To make about 8 ounces of clotted cream, use 2 cups of cream. You could make more or less, as the finished product does go a long way.

I used the directions below and it came out just like the English luxury clotted creams I’ve had in the past – except fresher! (And at least half the price!)

I suspect you could make it in a crockpot instead of the oven; so next time perhaps I’ll try that and update you.

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Cream after 12 hours in the oven

Steps:

1. Pour cream into an oven-safe heavy bottomed pot. I used a stainless steel one and it worked beautifully. The cream should come up the side of the pot at least an inch. Cover with lid.

2. Place covered pot in 180 degree oven for about 12 hours. It should form a yellowish thick skin on the top (this is the clotted cream). Remove from the oven and let cool. (Be aware some ovens automatically turn off; I think mine did right around the 12 hour point.)

3. Place pot in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Then remove from refrigerator, and scoop the thick cream off the top into a jar. Store in the fridge. The remaining liquid in the pot can be used in baking.

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Clotted cream after 8 hours in the refrigerator