These delicious, easy cherry and coconut muffins are moist and soft with a light almond flavour. I've made them with fresh cherries but frozen whole cherries can be used. The muffins were my hubby's idea after we were gifted a large box of fresh local cherries. I know he was pleased with what I created as I found the empty container.
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Preheat oven to 170c. Line a large muffin tin with cafe muffin paper liners.
Remove stems from the cherries and use a cherry and olive pitter to easily pop the seeds out (if you don't have a pit remover, use a chopstick or straw to push through the top where the stem was removed and pop the seed out through the bottom).
Add all the ingredients, except for the cherries to a large mixing bowl. Use a handheld electric mixer on medium speed to mix all the ingredients together.
Stir the cherries through the mixture, if using frozen cherries mix gently (you want to keep the cherries intact).
Spoon the mixture into the muffin liners making sure the cherries are evenly distributed (should be at least 2 - 3 whole cherries in each muffin).
Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 - 10minutes then remove to a wire rack.
Serve warm. Optional: you may like to dust them with a little coconut flour to look like icing sugar (push the coconut flour through a small fine sieve).
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days or place in the fridge, then warm before serving.
Cherries are a sweet, tart stone fruit, packed with antioxidants. They are not only one of the healthiest fruits, but they also rank as one of the most health-protective foods. Besides being full of antioxidants, they can protect against diabetes, promote healthy sleep, give arthritis relief, cherries are also known to lower the risk of gout attacks.
The most favoured gluten/grain free flour substitute in my kitchen is almond meal. It is finely ground blanched almonds and is also known as almond flour. It has a slightly sweet flavour so you don’t have to add as much sweetener when baking with it. Almond meal/flour is rich in manganese which helps the body heal after injuries and also helps the body break down carbohydrates. It's rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of serious health conditions like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. All kinds of nuts can be ground down to make a meal and are excellent for raw cheesecake or pie bases. Nut meals/flours are best stored in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer to prevent them going rancid.
In the majority of my recipes where I use dried coconut, I use finely-shredded desiccated coconut (unless I have stated otherwise). Make sure you are purchasing unsweetened and organic - many regular brands contain preservatives (sulphur dioxide).
Arrowroot is a herb, the roots are cultivated for its starch properties. It is used in my recipes as a thickener and I also like combining it with almond meal to produce a much lighter texture, more like a gluten flour. I find the starch helps to bind the ingredients together. You can substitute tapioca flour, which is made from the dried roots of the cassava plant. Tapioca can be used in baking, it has a slightly sweet flavour. However, I do not recommend thickening with tapioca, as it has a stretchy, gummy texture. Supermarkets only sell in very small containers, which is not cost effective. Purchase from baking specialty stores, health food stores or online. ( When substituting for cornflour in recipes, 2 teaspoons arrowroot = 1 tablespoon cornflour/starch).
Baking Powder is a rising agent for baked goods. If substituting for baking soda you will need 4 times the quantity. Ensure you purchase a gluten free, no aluminum brand. Alternatively, you can make your own baking powder; 1 teaspoon of baking powder is equal to 1⁄4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1⁄2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Note, that they should only be combined when preparing your recipe.
Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.
I have used large free range or organic eggs from a 700g carton in my recipes. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, also studies have shown that lutein (yellow colour) in egg yolks protects against the progress of early heart disease.
Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.
Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.
Organic almond extract manufactured by ‘Frontier Natural Flavors’ has the best flavour, and price I've found. I purchase it online from iherb.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.