These luscious beauties are really so much a treat that it seems sinful to eat them for breakfast. But that didn't stop me. Nosiree! I've had my eye on this recipe for a long time, one of the many gems that I found in my Jackson Hole Cooks cookbook. That book alone made our trip to Yellowstone worth it! The original recipe calls for raspberry jam, but I have such a fondness for the Bonne Maman cherry preserves that I had to try it that way. I was not disappointed. The list of ingredients looks long and daunting, but it really only took a few minutes to put together and they were very worth the effort. These earned universal thumbs up from everyone but my 2 1/2 year old, but her opinion doesn't count ;).
I found that the quantity of cream cheese filling in the original recipe was roughly double what I needed. I used the excess in a pan of cream cheese brownies - a real tragedy to be sure - but I'd rather not have to deal with extra so I am posting it with half the amount. The batter is very thick and reminiscent of biscuit dough. I recommend dividing it in half before you begin filling the muffin cups to make sure you don't run out of it for the tops. I lightly pressed it into the cups, leaving a little depression in the middle to cradle the filling.
Even so, I didn't have as much batter for the tops and I was concerned that the filling would make a mess. I was generous with the streusel topping, which proved to help seal things together nicely.
The finished product. Soft, slightly nutty topping, creamy filling in the middle and 100% decadent. Enjoy!
Cherry Almond Streusel Muffins
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 t. each baking powder and baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 cup cold, firm butter (no substitutes!)
3/4 cup sour cream
1 t. almond extract
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
2/3 cup cherry preserves (or other fruit preserves of your choice)
1/3 cup flour
2 T. sugar
2 T. cold, firm butter
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 t. cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12 cup regular sized muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla, and beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside. In a small food processor, combine all of the streusel ingredients and pulse a few times until combined and roughly chopped. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the dry muffin ingredients. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream and almond extract until smooth, then add to the flour mixture, stirring until the mixture is just moistened.
Divide the batter in half and place equal amounts of the first half in each muffin cup, leaving a slight depression in the middle. Divide the cream cheese filling equally between the cups, and top off with a dab of jam. Divide the remaining batter between the muffin cups and spread it as close to the edges as you can to cover the filling. Sprinkle a generous amount of streusel topping over each muffin. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool muffins for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and serve immediately.