Cherry rye muffins are just healthy enough to feel virtuous without sacrificing flavor or texture. I promise these are worth heating up your kitchen for!
It’s been a minute since I posted something to the blog here and I have no excuse except that… I hate July. Don’t get me wrong, there is A LOT to love about summer. Produce, herbs, ice cream, pick-your-own blueberries, swimming, beach days, later nights, more sunlight, BBQs, a slower pace, vacations, etc. But the bugs and sweat and general malaise that overtakes me when that weighted blanket of humidity settles over the northeast, make it nearly impossible for me to stay productive.
However! I’ve soldiered on behind the scenes and heated my kitchen countless times to get these muffins exactly right.
The rye flour, to me, is just enough to taste the nutty flavor without changing the texture or inhibiting the rise on these muffins.
I also added just enough baking powder and soda to get a good amount of leavening without leaving a weird bitter aftertaste from too much rising agent. A note about rising agents: I’ve been adding the rising agent at the end and letting the batter bubble slightly after learning this technique from the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook. Does it make a huge difference in these muffins? I’m not sure. But it certainly doesn’t hurt.
I’ve also combined fresh, sweet cherries for moisture and seasonality, but added some unsweetened and unsulfured dried cherries for a concentrated cherry flavor. I haven’t tried omitting either from the batter, but in the coming months, I’m sure frozen cherries could be subbed for the fresh.
How to check fruit desserts for doneness: This can be tricky! When there’s a lot of fruit in a batter, checking with a toothpick or cake tester can be misleading because if you stick it into a piece of fruit, the tester may come out looking wet. Instead, I like to push on the tops of the muffins a bit and feel how firm they are. If the top springs back and maintains its shape after gently squished and the body of the muffin feels lightly firm (like a medium rare steak; you don’t want a hocky puck with no give, but you also don’t want to feel at risk of sticking your finger through the muffin), they’re done.
Also, let the muffins cool completely. Like, really let them cool. I’m the queen of eating muffins too soon and I end up losing half of the crust when it sticks to the baking paper and the muffin can be crumbly when still warm. But if you must, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Cherry rye muffins
Active time: 20-25 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 40-45 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins
3 Tbsp butter, softened to room temperature for about 1 hour
¾ cup coconut sugar
¾ cup full fat plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups AP flour
½ cup rye flour
2 Tbsp flax seed meal
¼ tsp salt
1 cup whole cherries, roughly chopped
¼ cup dried, unsweetened cherries, minced
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp butter, softened to room temperature for about hour
½ cup oats
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup packed brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 400.
In a large bowl, mix together the softened butter (no need to use a hand mixer, just elbow grease and a wooden or silicone spatula) and the coconut sugar.
Add the eggs and mix until fully combined.
Add the yogurt and vanilla extract and mix again until fully combined.
Add the flours, flax seeds, and salt to the wet mixture and mix until no streaks of flour remain.
Add the fresh and dried cherries and mix in 10 times.
Finally, add the baking powder and baking soda and mix just until combined. Let sit while you make the streusel topping.
In a small bowl, mix together the butter, oats, salt, and brown sugar until well combined. I like to use my hands for this.
In a greased or baking cup-lined muffin tin, fill each opening to the top with batter. Top with about 1 heaping tsp of the streusel mixture (I usually eyeball this bit and try my best to make the topping equal).
Bake at 400 for 16-20 minutes or until the muffins are lightly firm to the touch and golden brown on top.