A Hallmark Original Recipe
In The Game Changer: A Parkwood Mystery Hollis and her best friend Daisy have a new podcast called Knock ‘Em Dead—“Where murder and muffins meet.” They talk about cold cases, and Daisy throws in some baking tips for good measure. Murder comes right to their small town when a local high school football coach is killed in a hit-and-run. But it’s no mystery why Daisy’s Cherry Chocolate Chunk Muffins are a favorite in Parkwood: this recipe is to die for.

Yield: 12 muffins (12 servings)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Chocolate Cherry Chunk Muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
½ cup whole milk (or buttermilk)
1 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chunks
1 (one-pound package) frozen tart red cherries, thawed, drained (reserve juice)

Dark Chocolate Ganache:
½ cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chunks
¼ cup heavy whipping cream

Tart Cherry Glaze:
1 cup reserved tart red cherry juice
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with paper liners.

2. To prepare muffins: whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside.

3. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until blended.

4. Alternately, add flour mixture and milk to mixing bowl; mix on low speed just until blended. Fold in chocolate chunks and drained cherries.

5. Using an ice cream scoop, portion batter evenly into muffin cups.

6. Bake at 425 degrees F. (without opening oven door) or 6 to 9 minutes or until muffins rise ¼ to ½ inch above the paper; reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and bake an additional 6 to 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes, remove muffins from pan. Makes 12 muffins.

7. To prepare chocolate ganache: measure chocolate chunks in microwave-safe container and heat in 20 second increments until melted (about 45 to 60 seconds). Add heavy cream and stir until smooth. Microwave 15 seconds and stir to blend. Drizzle over muffins.

8. To prepare cherry glaze: combine cherry juice, sugar and cornstarch in small saucepan. Whisk until smooth. Stir over low heat until mixture thickens to a glaze-like consistency. Drizzle over muffins.