In a never-ending quest to incorporate beer with breakfast, I have discovered Kriek Muffins. Chewy, tangy, and the perfect friend for bitter coffee, these muffins made with sweet, cherry beer will start you off on the right foot. Lindemans Kriek is very low in alcohol, and only used to flavor this baked good, meaning you won’t be slo-mo by 10AM. The only buzz you’ll be getting from your new favorite breakfast beer muffin is from the sugar!
I must credit Lucy Saunders, author of the 1996 publication Brewing With Beer, for introducing me to Kriek Muffins. Her book, which features cover art seemingly influenced by the then two-year-old Disney animated film The Lion King, includes a recipe for “Kriek Cherry Muffins”. I was 8 when the book was published, and now (22 years later), I have acquainted myself with this cherry delight.
Saunders’ recipe does not call for a certain beer, but I couldn’t think of a better option than Lindemans Kriek. It is a unique, spontaneously fermented beer with sour cherries, boasting a complexity of sweet and tart flavors almost too cloying to drink alone, but perfect for blending and baking. Add some almonds, dried cherries, and muffin batter, and you’ve got yourself a damn fine breakfast treat!
Lindemans Kriek Mini-Muffins
Start prepping this the night before baking! See the first step below.
Makes: ~34 mini-muffins
Prep Time: ~30 minutes
Bake Time: ~15 minutes
- ½ cup dried cherries (I chose Mariani brand, not the sweetened option – found in the cereal aisle!)
- 1 cup Lindemans Kriek (Note: you will need both a bottle opener and a wine key)
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup sliced almonds (The book calls for ground, but I chose sliced for more crunch factor)
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs sugar
- Remaining Kriek (a little less than a cup)
Other Stuff You’ll Need:
- Stand Mixer With Bowl (not absolutely necessary, but will make life tons easier)
- Silicone Spatula (again, not necessary, but will maximize your muffin yield)
- Medium Sized Bowl
- Whisk (or a fork is fine)
- Measuring Cup
- Measuring Spoons (½ tsp and 1 tbs)
- Mini-Muffin Tin
- Mini-Muffin Liners (or veg oil spray)
- Two Spoons (for scooping batter into the muffin tin)
- Basting Brush (or a spoon is fine)
- Start the night before!
- Pour yourself something seasonal and mood-appropriate, and take an extra five minutes to make your morning exponentially better. Clean up your kitchen a bit: get those crumbs and ring-marks off the counters, put away the dishes, and do a bit of mise en place. Morning you will be so proud!
- Grab that Lindemans Kriek in your fridge and the dried cherries from the cupboard. Mmmhmm! You’re gonna soak those babies in the beer overnight!
- The soaking can be done in your vessel of choice. I put the cup of beer and ½ cup of dried cher-chers in a sealed mason jar to chill in the fridge overnight.
- While you’re at it, pull a stick of butter out of the fridge and set it on the counter.
- Drink the rest of the kriek, or save it for tomorrow by jamming the cork back in.
- Done! … until mañana.
- Wakey Wakey!
- Pull an egg out of the fridge and set it on the counter, like, in a bowl or something so it doesn’t roll off. Get the beer-soaked cherries outta there, too. Let them live in the counter for a bit.
- Make some caffeinated tea (buffalo tea is best). Hold off on that cuppa joe until the muffins are done. You’ll thank me later.
- Listen to me, damn it. DON’T MAKE THE COFFEE YET.
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Make sure there isn’t anything in there. I have a bad habit of storing clean pans in the oven. My iron skillet is the most common victim.
- Pop the butter and sugar in the mixer, and let it go to town for about 4 mins. We’re talking at least level 6. Then let the egg join the mix.
- While those three are getting friendly, drain the kriek from the happy cherries, and reserve the remaining beer in another container.
- Measure out your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the medium bowl. Whisk it up real good. No one wants a bite of cherry baking soda.
- While the mixer is doing its thing, add the dry ingredients you just whisked, as well at the soaked cherries, almonds, and two tablespoons of that reserved kriek. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bits as needed.
- Don’t panic! Yes, I know it looks more like cookie dough than muffin mix, especially if you grew up with Jiffy. Everything will be ok. The coffee is coming soon.
- Stop the mixer, scrape off the mixing paddle thing, and start filling your muffin cups about ⅔ full. I experimented with this, and fuller is not better. The cups I mildly crammed ended up with concave muffin tops – undesirable in the muffin top world.
- Get them babies in the oven and start your suaaaaccceeeeeeeeee.
- Saucepan + sugar + butter = sweet love. Patiently let the sugar dissolve in the buttery saucepan over low heat while your coffee addiction makes you itch. Sugar dissolved? Add the remaining kriek (from soaking the cherries). Simmer until the muffins are done (~15 mins for the minis).
- Pull the muffins out, and stop the simmering glaze.
- Muffins go on a cooling rack. Glaze cools a touch. Oven gets turned off unless there are more muffins to make (probably the latter).
- Baste the glaze on the top of each cooled muffin with a brush, or you can drizzle with a spoon.
- NOW GO MAKE YOUR COFFEE. GO.
- Take a sip. Or an instagram photo. Your choice.
- Eat a muffin.
- Eat another muffin.
- They’re mini, so they probably don’t have calories. Have another.
- Tastes so good with the coffee, right? Worth it, I know. You’re welcome.
Props to Lucy for hatching this idea in her book 22 years ago, and making mornings better ever since!