Who would you make Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins for?

Posted on June 2, 2011


I made these for my younger sister. Because she was coming to visit… but now she is gone… and I miss her… I hardly have anything to say about these muffins, except they are gone… along with my sister… *sniffle*

A sister coming for a visit is a momentous occasion for me because I am basically as far as I can get from my four amazing sisters, with three of them on the far West coast, another in the Midwest, and me all the way over here in the East.

Since we have scattered far and wide, and often spend our time globetrotting around the world (one just returned from a few months in Europe, and another is, as we speak, arriving in Mexico), getting all five of us together generally only happens for special occasions, i.e. Christmas, graduations, weddings… Even then, we rarely get to be together for more than a few days at a time, and often times, half of those days are spent picking each other up from various airports and redistrubuting ourselves to our respective continental corners.

I received this recipe following the occasion of one of those whirlwind sister reunions — one where they also met and united with their now brother-in-law for the first time — my wedding!

I definitely leaned on my sisters in the last months of planning and prepartion leading up to the wedding, but this was mostly via email because I wasn’t even in the country! My husband and I were actually battling through the last stages of the fiance visa process up until about 2 weeks prior to our wedding date. Oh, the excitement!  Truly, everything worked out only because I had all my family and friends working hard to help us get everything in order from a distance.

Some of the coolest parts of our wedding were made possible by my sisters. For example, my second oldest sister and amazing chef, made sixteen cheesecakes — eight different flavors, from scratch! — to serve as our wedding cake. They also put together a hilarious slideshow with side-by-side pictures of my husband and I growing up, which was showed at the reception and was a complete surprise to both of us! They made a dance playlist and DJ’ed the whole reception. They helped send out invitations and make favors, they were on both the decorating and clean-up crews — and they were my bridesmaids, too!

My husband and I didn’t really have any grand honeymoon travel plans, as we had just arrived in the country, but my sisters helped me pick out a sweet little bed and breakfast for a honeymoon get-away. We had our wedding smack in the middle of the winter, but this bed and breakfast was just perfectly cozy, and they had delicious breakfast! As we checked out, they gave us a stack of recipe cards, with these muffins included, which I have been meaning to try for some time. I saw my chance when cherries showed up at the market, and my sister was due in town to help me eat them up!

Unfortunately, I ended up with not quite enough cherries. I bought enough, but… my husband and I might have stolen a few here and there before I started baking. I decided to add some chocolate chips to compensate, which I knew my sister would love, but my husband would not, so I did half cherry chocolate chip and half cherry-only with the original recipe’s brown sugar nut topping.

I was thinking how this improvisation is an interesting anology for how sister relationships change as partners are brought into the picture. I mean, now husbands, boyfriends, and girlfriends also come along for the sister reunions. You could say they “eat into” some of our our sister time. They are kind of like the chocolate chips added to muffins that are meant to be cherry-only. It’s not quite the same, but also super exciting….and perfectly delicious!

I mean, our family of just five sisters is growing, and all that means is, we need more muffins!

Cherry Sour Cream Muffins 
with Walnut brown sugar topping or Chocolate chips
adapted from The Blacksmith Inn on the Shore

1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
1 cup chocolate chips (I added these to only half the batter, add more for full batch)

Topping (I halved the following for a half batch, follow as written for full batch)
3/4 cup brown sugar 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (original recipe suggests pecans)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin.

Mix sour cream and baking soda in a small non-metal bowl, and set aside to react. Cream together butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat eggs into butter and sugar mixture one at a time, and add vanilla. In a small bowl, mix flour and baking powder, then mix into wet ingredients. Fold in foamy sour cream mixture. Fold in cherries.

Fill half of the prepared muffin cups two-thirds full. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans and sprinkle over tops. Fold in chocolate chips to remaining batter. Fill remaining muffin cups two-thirds full, and sprinkle additional chocolate chips over tops. 

Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.