Cherry Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Made with fresh cherries, cherry chocolate chunk muffins are the perfect one bowl, mix by hand, sweet treat for summer breakfasts or snacks.

six cherry chocolate chunk muffins in a muffin tin surrounded by fresh cherries and chunks of chocolate

I love fresh cherries.  Looooove fresh cherries.  Sour or sweet.  Dark red bing cherries or golden yellow Ranier cherries.  I love them all.

This makes it kind of hard when it comes to baking cherry desserts.  Every year, I say I’m going to bake something with fresh cherries… but then I just wind up eating them all instead.  I can’t help myself.

This year, however — armed with my 4 at a time cherry pitter (Amazon links are affiliate) and an adorable little sous chef who loves pulling off the stems and lining the cherries up in the pitter, I’m coming in strong with the cherry baked goods.

These chocolate cherry chunk muffins are the first of three cherry recipes coming at you this summer.

That’s right, THREE fresh cherry baking recipes, headed your way!  So stock up on cherries and get ready for baking.   And by stock up, I mean buy two bags to eat plain and two bags for baking, because four bags of fresh cherries in one week is a totally normal amount of cherries to buy.

Right?  Right.

cherry chocolate chunk muffins in a muffin tin with one muffin partially removed and tiled towards the camera

How to Make Cherry Chocolate Chunk Muffins

First up, these cherry chocolate chunk muffins.  Cherries and chocolate are an A+ combination.  A few years ago, I shared these oh-so-good Chocolate Chip Cherry Cupcakes.  Cupcakes are sweeter and sugary-er, and maraschino cherries are perfect for that bright pink hue.

For muffins, however, fresh cherries are perfect.

The muffin base is easy: melted butter, milk, eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder.  Normal muffin ingredients.  To this, we’ll fold in chopped fresh cherries (sweet or sour cherries work!) and chopped dark chocolate.  Chocolate can easily overpower cherries, which is why we’re using a vanilla-based recipe and adding chocolate chunks.

One of my favorite things about these muffins?  You make them by hand one one bowl.  Fewer dishes to wash, no need to pull out the mixer.

Perfect for pint-sized bakers (check out my ‘kids in the kitchen‘ tag for other easy kid-friendly baking recipes!) or anyone looking to whip up a sweet treat with minimal effort and time.

And the best part of this cherry chocolate chunk muffin?  It only requires 1 cup of chopped cherries.  So unlike a pie, you still have lots of leftover cherries for eating raw.

a cherry chocolate chunk muffin cut in half showing the inside with the purple and blue hue of fresh cherries in baked goods

Why do Cherries turn Purple or Blue in Baked Goods?

Today’s kitchen chemistry is less about making you a better baker, and more about fun (and some cool science). 

Look at any of the photos with raw cherries in them.  See how they’re dark dark red?  Now look at this photo above of the inside of the cherry chocolate chunk muffin. 

What’s going on here?  Nope, there aren’t a few stray blueberries in the batter — the purple and blueish hues are all from the cherries.

Kitchen Chemistry

Cherries contain a compound called anthocyanins.  Anthocyanins are flavanoids that change color based on pH.  Cherries are an acidic fruit, with a pH around 4 — meaning the anthocyanins produce a deep red color.  Raise the pH by adding neutral or basic ingredients, and the anthocyanins loses a proton and changes the color to purple and blue. 

I haven’t tried this myself (yet!) but I think this weekend we’ll try dipping some cherries in different pH solutions and see what color they turn!  {I’m always on a quest to find fun science projects to entertain my 4 year old and turn him into a science lover as well.}

overhead view of cherry chocolate chunk muffins in a muffin tin with one well of the tin filled with fresh cherries

How to Store Cherry Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Because these use fresh fruit, they don’t last as long at room temperature as say, a chocolate muffin.  These are best consumed within 4 days of baking when stored at room temperature.

Any longer?  Toss them in the freezer.  Add your muffins to a freezer-safe storage bag and store for up to 3 months.  Thaw at room temperature before enjoying.

a tower of five chocolate cherry chunk muffins stacked on top of each other

Tips and Tricks for Cherry Chocolate Chunk Muffins

  1. No cherry pitter?  No problem!  To pit a cherry, push a plastic straw through the stem hope of the cherry until the pit pushes out the other side.
  2. Skip the muffin liners!  You can use them if you really want, but there’s no need.  A well-greased muffin tin works just as well, has less waste, and you won’t lose any muffin crumbs to the wrapper when you try to peel it off.
  3. Cool the butter for a few minutes before whisking in the milk and eggs.  If the butter is too hot, the eggs will curdle.
  4. Mix the batter until juuuuust fully combined — a few dry streaks are fine for the initial mix, and you’ll stir them all in when you fold in the chocolate and cherries.  The more you mix the batter, the more gluten develops, which will make your muffins dense and tough.
  5. Baking outside of cherry season?  Use frozen cherries instead!  Toss the frozen cherries with 1/8 cup of flour to help absorb any excess liquid and mix the berries in straight from frozen.

Not so much sugar that it’s wildly inappropriate for breakfast.  Just enough dark chocolate chunks to qualify as a not-so-sweet dessert.  A perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up.  Really, these are perfect anytime muffins.

Because cherry season is short, but sweet for certain.

More Delicious Cherry Recipes:

 

Cherry Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Cherry Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

One bowl, mix by hand, vanilla muffins filled with fresh cherries and dark chocolate chunks.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped cherries
  • 3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 °F. Grease the cups of a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.
  2. Melt the butter in a large, microwave safe bowl, in 30 second increments until fully melted. Cool for a few minutes, then whisk in the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder, stirring gently just until no dry ingredients remain. Fold in the chopped cherries and chocolate chunks.
  3. Fill the muffin wells 3/4 full. Bake 16 to 20 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

To freeze, transfer fully cooled muffins to a freezer bag and store for up to 3 months. Allow muffins to thaw overnight at room temperature before enjoying.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 muffin
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 274 Total Fat: 13.3g Carbohydrates: 34g Protein: 4.6g
Cherry Chocolate Chunk Muffins: One bowl, mix by hand, filled with fresh cherries and dark chocolate chunks. The perfect summertime sweet treat! #bunsenburnerbakery #muffins #cherry #cherries #chocolatecherry

This post was originally published in August 2017 and updated with new text and photos in June 2019.