Festivus for the Rest of Us: Cherry Almond Muffins (or Muffin Tops)

Today we’re taking a break from all the Christmas celebrations to discuss an odd group of friends, a strange pole and a ‘show about nothing.’ And by now, all you Seinfeld fans are smiling.
It’s been 15 years since the TV series left the air but it’s still very much around in syndication, popular culture and a little made-up holiday called Festivus.

True story: I didn’t particularly like Seinfeld when it first aired.

It’s a bit like a Top 40 radio hit, though. It just kind of creeps into the corners of your subconscious when you’re not paying attention, and the next thing you know, you find yourself humming the latest One Direction hit while you’re scrubbing the bathtub… or spontaneously quoting George Costanza in the middle of a work meeting, in this case.

Cherry-Almond Muffin Tops

And somehow, over the last few years, I’ve grown accustomed to it.  In fact, I actually kind of like it. OK, I love it.

So when a joking comment someone made on Facebook somehow totally derailed into a hilarious plot to do a Seinfeld-themed series of recipes for Festivus, I totally called dibs on Muffin Tops. Because, even though it’s been years since I last watched the episode, I still giggle maniacally at the whole Top of the Muffin to YOU! scene.

Cherry-Almond Muffin Ingredients

I know that neither cherries nor almonds have any specific Seinfeldian influences, but I really really was craving that particular combination. And I really really needed an excuse to bust open that bag of dried Montmorency cherries I picked up at Trader Joe’s earlier this year in Philly.

And they’re totally awesome, whether you eat them as muffins, or as muffin tops.

Cherry-Almond Muffins

(Yes, I know this recipe is totally silly if you just want muffin tops, but Elaine was very clear on this – a truly superior muffin top needs to start off its life as a full-sized muffin before it’s separated from its stump. I am nothing if not a stickler for accuracy.)

Cherry-Almond Muffin Tops


5.0 from 2 reviews
Cherry Almond Muffins (or Muffin Tops)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I'm not going to lie - these sweet cherry almond muffins are really just cake in disguise, but since that means you can legitimately eat cake for breakfast, who cares?
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 12
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • ½ cup sliced blanched almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until smooth. Stir in the milk, almond extract and vanilla extract. Add in the dry ingredients, along with the dried cherries, and stir until just barely combined. Distribute batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups, and sprinkle the tops with sliced almonds.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until tops are puffed and golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. To make muffin tops, separate the top from the stump. Eat the tops. Comment to the nearest listener that the top really is the part where the muffin breaks free of the pan and does its own thing.
  6. Collect the stumps in a garbage bag and discard with the assistance of your friendly neighbourhood Newman.


Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Festivus awesomeness on these fine blogs:

Festivus Collage


  1. says

    I completely forgot about cherry and almond flavors going so well together until I read your recipe/article. Kind of took me back to my childhood…my mom used to make almond cherry cookies. Haven’t a clue the last time I had them. Anywhoo, I might just have to try this recipe out. Thanks for sharing it! :)

  2. says

    To me, a muffin top must start out as the muffin otherwise it isn’t truly a muffin top. :) Either way, cherry almond muffins are going to be onmy list of go-to muffin recipes! I totally get it about the top 40 stuff creeping up on me. Eek…

  3. says

    Ha, I love Seinfeld. I do hate how Jerry laughs at himself though. But the show is hilarious in the way it takes a series of unconnected things and by the end of 30 minutes they are now all connected. I dig that. I watch it often. It makes me crack up. The episode where Elaine tried to stock on sponges sends me into hysterics. I’m a huge Seinfeld fan so this was so much fun for me. My brother hooked me on it back in the day.

    I love these muffin tops. I love cherry and almond together. It’s sheer perfection. Feel free to wrap some up and send them my way.

    Happy Festivus.

  4. says

    Agree! i never liked Seinfeld when it first aired either: i like your top 40 analogy…it was everywhere, all the time. Now, i see episodes from time to time, but they don’t irritate me like they used to.
    these muffins look WONDERFUL: i’ve been having serious cherry cravings lately (i can’t even tell you where that comes from), and cherries and almonds together are delicious. And they don’t seem heavy, which is a nice change for right now.

  5. Anne says

    Here’s a pet peeve: Going to a friend’s house and having to take off my shoes. If they want to go around in their socks, okay, but I’m more comfortable with my darn shoes on my darn feet, and if they want me to be comfortable in their house, they should respect me. I avoid their house at all costs.

    Here’s how I found out Seinfeld was funny: My mom and I were visiting her hospitalized brother and were staying in an apartment at the hospital. It had no TV, so we rented one, and the first thing we watched was Seinfeld, the shrinkage episode. We both laughed for the first time in days. I loved it when she laughed and remember that as a happy time despite the reason we were there.

  6. says

    Is it “top o’the morning TO you” or Top o’ the MORNING to you”….just celebrate the return of the muffin top and fabulous Festivus. Great giveaway!

  7. says

    Oh, I love these! CHerry almond sounds fantastic. I have always loved muffin tops – back when Panera was just St. Louis Bread Company where I grew up they had ‘muffies’ – basically muffin tops. Yum!

  8. says

    I love cherry almond EVERYTHING and this will be no exception! I love muffin tops too – they are just……..better. Thanks so much for joining in the Festivus celebration. I have appreciated every single thing I have learned . It has been amazing!

  9. says

    The muffin top episode was without a doubt one of my all time favorites and it’s true the muffin top is the best. I always eat the bottom first, leave the top for last and yours look like some good tops (gee that sounds dirty doesn’t it?

  10. lauren says

    My grievance: When people say “irreguardless.” That’s not a word!
    Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  11. beth says

    i actually pulled over on the way to a holiday party to take a picture of the festivus pole that someone had put up in their front yard. it was brilliant. :)

  12. says

    I stock up on those dried cherries every time I stop in Trader Joe’s. This was actually an episode of Seinfeld I remember…and I think you picked the perfect muffin tops to make for the occasion!

  13. says

    So, this may be the point where you stop being my friend. I’ve never watched a full episode of Seinfeld. I couldn’t stand any of the characters and thought they were all so self-absorbed it hurt to watch them. If you never want to speak to me again, I’ll understand. Can I at least get a muffin top first?

    • Isabelle Boucher says

      Don’t worry, Christiane… I still loves ya! (After all, it did take a few years for the show to grow on me, too.)

  14. says

    You know, the muffin top episode is one of the few I watched. I still giggle whenever I watch people eat a muffin and start with the top first. These muffins sound fabulous! I’ll have to see if I can get some dried cherries and make up a batch for the kids!


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