Reduced Sugar Cherry Almond Muffins with Streusel.
Cherry almond muffins, bursting with cherries and brown sugar streusel, are so deliciously decadent you'll never believe they are reduced sugar.
These cherry almond muffins are the kind of thing I like to make when I really want something sweet for breakfast but want to feel like I'm eating something healthier than a doughnut or sticky bun. Do not underestimate the power of self-deception, dear reader. You know how useful it is from time to time.
Even though muffins are really just cake by another name, they come with the idea that they are somehow more appropriate than a slice of birthday cake for breakfast.
Case in point: Let's say it's 8am and you're in your local coffee shop. In the bakery case you see a blueberry muffin and a chocolate cupcake. Even though they both are likely to have been made from a similar combination of butter, flour and sugar, how you feel about eating one vs the other first thing in the morning is probably quite different.
We know this. Giving it the name "muffin" simply makes it easier to deceive ourselves. I'm totally down with that.
Ok. So, sometimes muffins are actually are better for us than cake. There are healthy muffins out there. They exist. And many of them actually taste good. These Healthy Chocolate Banana Muffins are a great example.
So, perhaps there is a point to differentiating between muffins and cupcakes that goes beyond our desire towards self-deception.
On the scale of total decadence and health food, these cherry almond muffins are somewhere in between.
They are essentially cake that I want to eat for breakfast and therefore call a muffin. But, I've replaced the granulated sugar with Stevia blend. This is not to say that they are sugar free, dear reader.
The recipe includes almond paste (yum) and cherry preserves (super yum), and a generous amount of brown sugar streusel (yuuuuuuummmmmm). So, there is some sugar in there. But, a lot less than if you use granulated sugar in the batter.
Having said that, should you choose to use granulated sugar, I will not hold it against you. Eat your deliciously sugary cherry almond muffin with pleasure and pride, and get on with your life. But, if you want to reduce the sugar a bit, Stevia Blend is one of those super useful modern day products that will help you do so.
Cherry Almond Muffins Recipe Notes
This recipe calls for a few of items that may not be readily available on your supermarket shelves. Thankfully (or not so thankfully, depending on your perspective), everything on the face of the earth is available on Amazon these days.
First of all, as mentioned above, I used Stevia Blend in these cherry almond muffins to reduce the amount of sugar a bit. The package claims that Stevia Blend is twice as sweet a sugar, which I don't think is quite true. So, you'll notice that this recipe calls for ⅔ cup Stevia Blend or 1 cup granulated sugar.
Second, almond paste. This lovely mixture of ground almonds and sugar is sometimes available in my local supermarket, but not always. Also, it's much cheaper to order a four pack of the stuff than purchase them one at a time off my supermarket's shelves. You can also just make almond paste, if you like. Here's a good recipe.
The third item that your local market might not have in stock is completely optional - Tulip Style Baking Cups. If you've been hanging around here for a while, you might have noticed that I pretty much always use these for muffins - especially muffins topped with streusel.
These awesome muffin liners stick up a lot higher than the muffin pan, allowing you to fill each cup with more batter and still top with a generous amount of streusel. Also, when the muffins are done baking, you simply use the pointy tulip tops to lift them from the pan onto a wire rack to cool. Unfolded, they make a nice little "plate" from which to eat your muffin.
I love them, but again - they are optional. Please note, however, that this recipe makes 12 large muffins if using tulip style baking cups and 24 small muffins if using regular baking cups.
Other Muffin Recipes You Might Like:
- Mixed Berry Muffins with Streusel
- Healthy Chocolate Banana Muffins
- Lemon Blueberry Muffins
- Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins with Streusel
*NOTE: This recipe will yield between 12-24 muffins, depending on the size of your muffin liners. The muffins pictured in this post were baked in tulip style baking cups, which allow more muffin batter per cup. If you use standard baking cups, this recipe will yield 24 smaller cherry almond muffins.
FOR THE STREUSEL
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅓ cup old fashioned oats
- 6 tbsp butter, melted
FOR THE MUFFINS:
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 8 oz almond paste
- ⅔ cup Stevia Blend (or 1 cup granulated sugar)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup plain yogurt, full fat or 2%
- 2 cups canned sweet cherries, drained, each cherry cut into 4 pieces
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 13 oz cherry preserves or cherry jam
MAKE THE STREUSEL:
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Pour in the melted butter and mix until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Cover, and set aside.
BAKE THE MUFFINS:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin pan with paper liners.
- Dump the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium size bowl and mix with a wire whisk to combine.
- Combine the butter, Stevia Blend (or sugar), and almond paste in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating at medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the yogurt, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat on medium speed just until combined.
- With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the dry ingredients and then the cherries.
- Divide the batter between muffin cups - 12 cups if using tulip liners, 24 if using regular muffin liners. Dollop the cherry jam or preserves on top of each muffin, distributing the jam evenly between muffins. Evenly distribute the streusel across all the muffins.
- Bake for 20-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out mostly clean.
- Let cool on a wire rack.
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