Place saucepan with 1/4 can of the cherries (about 10-15 cherries), the liquid syrup from the can of cherries and 5 star anise on medium-low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Chop pistachios in nut chopper (or with a knife on a cutting board) into approx. 1/8" pieces
When cherry mixture is done. strain liquid off and cool to use later.
When the cherries are cool enough to touch, cut them into quarters and set aside.
In mixing bowl mix: coconut milk, 1/2 cup of room temp cherry juice (slightly warm is ok but not to hot or you wil turn the coconut milk), vegetable oil, & vanilla extract
Stir together package contents, chopped pistachios and star anise powder in a separate bowl.
Combine wet with dry ingredients.
Place in well oiled mini-muffin or regular size muffin pan. Alternatively you can use paper baking cups in your pan, then you don’t need to oil the pan.
Place a cherry piece in the center of each mini cupcake.
Place in 350˚ oven (preheated) for 15-17 minutes. You want to see the muffin top darken to a medium dark red-brown. This is a tricky one to judge, so poke with a toothpick and it should come out clean.
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