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« Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa | Main | Thoughts on Going Vegan: Week 2 »

Cherry Cream Cheese Muffins

Cherry Cream Cheese Muffins

For the first time in my life, I'm living alone. I've moved to a city I know well, but it's been long enough since I've dwelled here that I am surrounded by strangers. Moving is about starting over, starting fresh, making new friends, and seeking out new experiences. It's building a new chapter in the book of life. Right now I'm in the "making new friends" stage and it feels harder to do now then when I was younger (of course, it doesn't help that I'm working two jobs and taking 10 graduate credits over the summer). While I have mixed feelings about living alone, I keep reminding myself that living alone isn't the same thing as being alone.

They are, in fact, two very different circumstances.

Cherry Cream Cheese Muffins

Living alone means sticking a spoon directly into the jar of peanut butter and double dipping to my heart's content. Living alone means watching an entire season of Big Love in a single day without having a soul to judge me for it. Living alone means forgoing pants when the temperatures rise without worrying about public indecency. Living alone means letting the dishes pile up in the sink until I decide I can't handle the mess. Living alone means doing impromptu dances to my favorite songs while baking and getting brownie batter all over the kitchen floor.

Living alone means creating a sanctuary for myself where I only need to answer for myself, a sanctuary I can then share with those I care most about.

Cherry Cream Cheese Muffins

Some days I do get plagued by loneliness, an inevitable factor in life whether you live alone or with others. It's hard moving somewhere new without having that network of love and support in the next room or halfway across town. That network still exists, but it's farther away than it was before. To temper the occasional lonely feelings, I treat myself to date nights; I'll buy myself a new red wine, cook myself a three course dinner, and dine by candlelight with a favorite television show sitting across the table. I'll escape into books, making lifelong friends with the characters buried in the pages. I roller blade through the neighborhood, finding a good dose of fresh air to cure most of life's ails.

Yes, being alone and living alone are two very different situations. Living alone means I can bake muffins at an obscenely early hour on a Saturday morning, banging about the pots and pans without apology. Oh, how I do like to bang around those pots and pans.

Cherry Cream Cheese Muffins

Cherry Cream Cheese Muffins are soft, sweet, and tangy. Fresh cherries are pitted, halved, and mixed into a whole wheat oatmeal muffin batter. Before heading into the oven, the muffin tops are swirled with cream cheese and sprinkled with sugar. The muffins are utterly light, with a crumb so small and so moist that they melt in your mouth. The recipe is vegan, but you can easily use non-vegan ingredients if they are already in your pantry. With a cup of tea or a mug of coffee, these muffins will brighten any morning.

One Year Ago: Tropical Vacation Cocktail
Two Years Ago: Twix Cookies

Cherry Cream Cheese Muffins

Yields 12-14 muffins

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 rolled or old fashioned oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk (regular milk will work for non-vegans)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar (or lemon juice)
1/2 cup fresh cherries, halved and pitted
1-2 ounces vegan cream cheese (regular cream cheese will work for non-vegans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a muffin tin with baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the milk, oil, vanilla extract, and vinegar until smooth. Fold in the fresh cherries.

Divide batter evenly between baking cups, filling about 3/4 full. If using vegan cream cheese, dollop a small spoonful on top of each muffin and swirl. If using regular cream cheese, cut into small cubes and place 3 cubes on top of each muffin. Sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Serve warm or at room temperature. The muffins don't keep very long because they are so moist so aim to consume them within two to three days.

Reader Comments (20)

These look so delicious! Love the pictures too...huge fan here! :)
These muffins look fantastic! Thank you for sharing this lovely vegan recipe!!! :)
06.19.2012 | Unregistered Commenterqooapfel
This is such an awesome recipe!! Yum!
These look so tasty! Gorgeous photos as always.
06.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachel Cooks
I just transitioned to living alone too. You're right -- big differences between being alone and living alone. Soak up time with friends, and then come home to bang pots and pans at all hours of the day! Hope your new place is beginning to feel like home. :)

And these look absolutely delicious! I love any cream cheese and cherry combo!
I too love to bang pots and pans, and since I'm an early riser, I like getting things out ofthe dishwasher and put away as soon as possible...but I'm clumbsy and make lots of noise, so I can't do that until everyone in my house is awake, which irks me. Same when I'm baking something. I make lots of noise and feel bad when I bang something metal or drop something and it makes a loud crash.

Vegan cream cheese.... I've heard of it, but it doesn't make sense. How can cheese be vegan? (I've heard of vegan regular cheese too)
I have sort of the opposite situation where I've been living alone in semi-rural SD for quite some time where it'd probably be culture shock to have a roommate. I also tutor people online, and I like having at least a semi-controlled environment for doing this. But I live with a dog and he forces me to go on adventures outside, which helps put things in perspective.

As always, the pictures look great and it looks pretty doable even for me.
06.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris
8 years ago I moved from Poland to England, different country, different language and mostly being alone. Now Im married to Iranian and my life is upside down and sometimes I would love be alone :)
and muffins look delish Im going make them asap.
06.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterOla
Mmm these look so yummy! I love muffins with cream cheese in them - that's an idea I just discovered not too long ago and I can't get enough of it now. Amazing :D
I have yet to try a muffin with fresh cherries but I'm sure I'll love it! And I totally understand the whole "living-alone" thing. Banging pots and pans is the best part about it :)
They look amazing. Cherries are my fave. I will be trying this. xx Thank you.
06.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth
Definitely in the same boat on living alone right now- been at it for a week now. I do the same thing with the peanut butter and blasting favorite songs :) Your recipe looks great, thanks!
06.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
Becca-- Vegan cream cheese has nothing to do with real cheese. It's just a soy made to look like cream cheese (though they do taste similarly).
06.20.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I have been reading your blog for a while and had to do a double take when I saw vegan recipes popping up! I usually just stop by your site to ogle at the pictures but now I can actually try some of your recipes, happy days! I hope some of your non-vegan readers will be inspired to give vegan baking a try! Regardless of how long your vegan experiment lasts I hope it is a positive experience for you.
06.20.2012 | Unregistered CommenterNiki
I love this article about living alone. (Also, totally just pinned this recipe! looks so good, and perfect for my daily morning muffin) I have been living alone for awhile, while most of my friends are in relationships or moved home. I have grown to love the time and space, and like you, I am getting better at fighting through those lonely times! Just keep doing awesome cozy things when you feel lonely, like reading while drinking (basically milkshakes..) coffee drinks from starbucks, and surfing the blogs! It always makes me feel better, even when its grey and gloomy and lonely
06.20.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDayna
I love cream cheese in baking! Cream cheese swirled into these cherries muffins sounds absolutely perfect. Your whole description of the muffins, in fact, sounds absolutely perfect. Sounds like you make the best out of LIVING alone, which is really good. Your date nights are such a cute idea. Sounds fun!
06.20.2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrighteyedbaker
Hi! Sounds like you are doing a great job adjusting to your new life and your vegan baking. Muffins sound delicious, thanks! Peace, Stephanie
06.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie
Your photos are gorgeous!
I also double dip in peanut butter, but this is only when no one's looking. Seems like you are making the most of living alone. :)
06.27.2012 | Unregistered CommenterATasteOfMadness
Great looking recipe! However, one question. Just a half of a cup of cherries ? Seems small. Typo?
07.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTony
I made these for breakfast today, and they were amazing!! I used blueberries and raspberries instead of cherries, and ate them for breakfast along with some bacon and scrambled eggs!
Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe :)
10.14.2012 | Unregistered CommenterElsa

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