Out of Africa - Eggless Cherry Amarula Muffins



It was around this time 16 years ago that I had my most memorable swig of Amarula ever. I'd just obtained my F-1 Student visa from the American consulate at Cape Town. It was such a contrast to the marathon queue  sessions at the Mumbai consulate. I breezed in, handed my papers and was asked to come and collect the passport 3 days later. That night, It was a well deserved break from my crazy thesis work that I was trying to race against time to complete. A shot of ice cold Amarula Liqueuer and being toasted by friends at the Medical Residence to the tune of  Stings 'I'm a legal alien' playing on the radio (How perfectly apt was that, considering that I was headed to NYU a month later)




If there is one cream liqueur that I'm partial to over the others, its definitely Amarula. It fits the description of the stereotypical exotic liqueur and is made from the fruits of the wild Marula tree, which in itself is steeped in legends.
Maybe because it was the very first cream liqueur I had ever tasted.. or because Its etched in my memory as the harbinger of a new step into the future.. who knows?. I tried so hard to find some in New York in the nineties, but everywhere I asked, the reply was always "Oh you mean 'Amaretto''? No , no & no..



Thankfully, times have changed and this superb cream liqueur is now easily available all over the North East. (although the bottles are much smaller than the ones from South Africa).

Using Amarula in a muffin wd probably not have popped up into my head if it had not been for a lovely surprise from Oxo. A new cherry pitter and a fabulous Ice cream scoop to test. I'd never tried any device for pitting cherries but this was pure love at first try. It was hard to put the tool down until the entire bowl of cherries had been pitted.


The tool is angled ever so slightly to ensure that it pushes out the pit perfectly and has a tiny cylindrical guard that protects against splatter.



This is a must have tool if you plan to use the fruits for baking. Which is exactly what I did. I'd been meaning to test Flax seed powder as a substitute for eggs, (there is a wonderful reference for how to do this on Chefinyou's page. ) and this was the perfect opportunity. Except for the fact that I only had the sweet cherries on hand, rather than the tart variety, this was such  a fabulous breakfast muffin (albeit a grown up one, considering there's about 6 oz of liqueur).


 

Cherry Amarula Muffins (Makes about 16 - 18 muffins)

 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
1.5 cups sugar
2 tbsp flaxmeal (finely powdered flax seeds)
6 tbsp warm water
3 tbsp baking powder
2 cup All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup amarula liqueur
1 cup pitted chopped cherries, quartered

Sugar glaze (optional)
1/2 cup Icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Sliced almonds for garnishing

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 muffin tins with paper baking cups.
Sift the flour and baking powder.
 Mix the flax meal with the warm water in a bowl. Mix well & set aside.
Combine the butter and sugar and cream until fluffy, using a handheld mixer. Gradually add the viscous flaxseed mixture keeping the mixer running. Gradually add the vanilla, cream and Amarula liqueur.
Add the flour along with the cherries in small installments and fold in till combined.
Spoon the batter into  muffin tins lined with paper cups.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the tops have turned a golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Mix the icing sugar and the milk and stir until completely mixed. Drizzle or brush the mixture over the muffins and garnish with sliced almonds.





Bon appetit!

Comments

  1. Soft, spongy, tempting muffins!!!!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

    ReplyDelete
  2. :-), I love the almonds on top and Amarula sounds lovely. Its one liqueur I havent tasted, but I do like other creamy liqueurs like Baileys and Sheridans so.....Same me some

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bailey's was a distant second to me after Amarula! but Baileys's would work great in this recipe as well

      Delete
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