George Washington birthday

Cherry Muffins


Today is George Washington's actual birthday (also my grandmother's) and when I was a kid, we used to celebrate on this day. It was always when we ate something with cherries because, well, as far as Washington was concerned, everyone knows the story about the cherry tree and all. And also my grandma loved cherry-vanilla ice cream.

I just happened to have a jar of cherries in the house so I figured I'd make something with it to wish happy birthday to my grandmother and also our first president.

These muffins.

Fortunately Purim is only a few days away, so I can give them away for mishloach manot. Otherwise I might eat all of them and that wouldn't be very good.


Cherry Muffins

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt or dairy sour cream or buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup fruit juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cherries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin tins. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix the eggs, melted, cooled butter, yogurt, juice and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones and mix to combine ingredients. Fold in the cherries. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 12

Cherry Cobbler for a birthday

Today is George Washington’s real birthday. Back in the day, we celebrated it on February 22nd. At school we made 3 cornered hats and colored them black. We learned about Washington, as a general, crossing the Delaware during the American Revolution. 

And of course we heard the same story every year. That George Washington never told a lie and one time he chopped down a cherry tree and then immediately ‘fessed up.

No one really knows if that one is true or not. Nevertheless, Washington’s birthday and cherry desserts were always the “big thing” long long before President’s Day became associated with sales on cars, clothes and mattresses.

So, happy birthday dear first president. I sometimes wonder what you would think about the political climate of the 21st century.

Cherry Cobbler

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 cups sour red cherries, drained canned or fresh, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons minute tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add 4 tablespoons butter and work into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly. Beat the egg and milk together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until a soft dough has been formed. In a separate bowl, mix the cherries, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, tapioca and lemon juice. Let stand for 10 minutes. Place the cherry mixture into a baking dish or pie pan. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces and scatter on top of the cherries. Roll or press the dough to fit the baking dish or pie pan, crimping the edges to seal the dough to the pan. Make 2-3 slits in the dough. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 6 servings