We were very lucky to have once had a home with a cherry tree that produced an abundance of fresh baking cherries. I used to make these muffins a lot when I had fresh cherries on hand, and I kept bags of them in the freezer pre-measured for this recipe. These are not sweet eating cherries - these are baking cherries. The original recipe came from a flyer from the Cherry Marketing Institute.
- While cherries are still frozen, cut them into halves, then set aside to thaw and drain in a mesh colander over a bowl.
- Cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer.
- Add eggs, almond extract, and vanilla and beat well.
- Crush 1/2 cup of the thawed cherries with a fork; add the mashed cherries to the batter.
- Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
- Fold half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture using a spatula; do not overmix.
- Add half of the cream or milk, mixing just enough to combine.
- Add remaining flour, then remaining milk; again avoid overmixing.
- Fold in the remaining cherry halves.
- Fill 12 paper-lined muffin tins with batter.
- If desired, you may sprinkle the muffins with some extra sugar.
- Bake in a preheated 375 F oven until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.