Yellow Roses and Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins




On Friday I did something that made me really happy, something that I think will be a positive change in my life, so to congratulate myself, I bought some pretty yellow roses.  Of course, with it being Valentine's and all they were incredibly overpriced, but I didn't care.  I needed a reminder over the weekend that I had been brave enough to take a leap of faith and change my circumstances.

Valentine's isn't just for pink and red, either, and those yellow roses were too beautiful to resist.  They're sitting on the kitchen counter, a ray of sunshine on an overcast day.





The snowy weekend we were expecting didn't actually happen, other than a light scattering of snowflakes on Saturday afternoon, but the clouds are still lingering, and we may get a little more snow.  I was really hoping to be completely snowed in for two days.

There's been a commercial running lately that shows a mom serving heart-shaped muffins for breakfast that she supposedly shaped just by pushing part of the paper liner into the batter to create the heart shape.  Of course, I had to try this myself, although I was doubtful that the paper would hold the shape without being in a mold.  And sure enough, even though I really wedged the paper into the batter, the batter just pushed the paper right back out into a circle as they baked.  I have a feeling there was more behind the scenes that the commercial didn't show, either using a heart-shaped mold, or placing something in the pan, like a piece of foil, that kept the paper from moving out of place.  (2/11/13 Update: After seeing the commercial again, I saw that I missed that they placed a marble in each cup to hold the paper in place while baking.  Will have to try it again!)






But heart-shaped or not, these cherry muffins made with tart cherry juice and dried cherries, and a light lemon-cherry glaze, are pretty and sweet.  The light pink color is just from the cherry juice, although I might add a few drops of red food coloring to enhance the color a little more next time.

Although I didn't add chocolate chips, I wish I had, because cherries and chocolate are such a perfect match for each other, and they really would have added the right finishing touch to the muffins.

I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing day with someone you love!





Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Batter:
·         1/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
·         2/3 cup tart cherry juice
·         1/3 cup granulated sugar
·         ¼ cup vegetable oil
·         1 egg
·         1 teaspoon vanilla
·         Red food coloring (optional, if you want to tint the batter a deeper shade of pink)
·         1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
·         ½ teaspoon baking powder
·         ¼ teaspoon baking soda
·         ¼ teaspoon salt
·         ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
·         ½ cup dried cherries
·         ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Glaze:
·         ½ cup powdered sugar
·         1 teaspoon light corn syrup
·         1 tablespoon lemon juice
·         1 tablespoon tart cherry juice
·         Coarse Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Notes:
If you can’t find cherry juice, just use milk instead, and add a few drops of red food coloring to tint the batter pink.  You could also use cranberry juice, which would pair nicely with the dried cherries. 

Fresh cherries, when in season, can be used instead of dried.  Pit the cherries and roughly chop them.  Toss the cherries with 2 tablespoons flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the batter.  I wouldn’t recommend maraschino cherries, as they are too sweet for this recipe. 

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, cherry juice, sugar, oil, egg and vanilla (and a few drops of red food coloring, if using).  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, then toss the cherries and chocolate chips with the flour mixture.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until moistened.

Spoon the batter into the paper liners filling them ¾ full.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice and cherry juice until smooth, then drizzle the glaze over the warm muffins.  Sprinkle lightly with the coarse sugar.  Serve warm or at room temperature, plain, or with lemon curd or jam.

Yields 12 muffins.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen