Cherry Muffins and Marshall Field’s

RIP, Marshall Field’s!

Well, I don’t know when I clipped this from the “Heirloom Cooking” column in the Chicago Tribune, but I do know it was before August 30, 2005 because the prize for printing a reader’s recipe was a gift certificate for $25 to Marshall Field’s department store.  

Marshall Field's on State Street, Chicago, note the clock!

It infuriated many area people when Marshall Field’s doors closed on that August day to become Macy’s.  Its massive retail store at State and Washington Streets in the Loop—built in stages between 1893 and 1915—occupied an entire city block and was one of the world's largest retail buildings.

A fun Christmas time outing was to go to Marshall Field’s on State Street to take in its gorgeous animated holiday window displays.

Then, off for a delicious lunch in the wood paneled Walnut Room; seating 450 diners, under crystal chandeliers ~ surrounded by imported dark Russian wood paneling.  

While enjoying lunch, the diner had an up-close view of the 45-foot tall Christmas tree with over 1,000 ornaments in the center of the dining room.   

Walnut Room at Christmas time
45 foot Christmas tree in the Walnut Room

Actually, Marshall Field’s is credited with the tea room concept. 

Back in the 1800’s, ladies shopping in the city had to return home for lunch, as being unescorted by a gentleman was frowned upon and not ladylike.  

One day, a Marshall Field’s clerk shared her chicken pot pie lunch with a tired shopper; providing Marshall Field’s the concept of opening a lunch/tea room.  

Hence, the Walnut Room opened in 1907, allowing ladies to shop and enjoy lunch with friends; a place for ladies to socialize.  

That chicken pot pie became “Mrs. Herring’s Pot Pie” and is still served there today filled with tender white meat chicken, peas and carrots in veloute sauce, hidden just below a thick puff pastry!

On the menu, in later times, you would see Peach Nest, the famous chicken salad in a nest of shoestring potatoes, with peaches,  grapes, strawberries, and a trio of bread  ~ plus, coconut shrimp, skewered to a chunk of pineapple and dipped into sesame-mango and chipotle-cream sauces. 

Also, Spinach Ricotta Ravioli, with asparagus, smoked tomatoes, garlic, basil, Parmesan cheese and chili flakes, in a light roasted yellow pepper sauce.  

Then, to top off  the meal:  a dessert of another Chicago classic ~ the Frango mint chocolate ice cream pie!  Heavenly!!!

I could go on and on, but seeing this recipe for Cherry Muffins brought back great memories of the most magnificent store you could imagine and there are still rallies occasionally to bring back the old Marshall Field’s!   That would be dreams come true for thousands of shoppers, including me!

Back to the muffin recipe:  Even though the fresh tart cherry season is over here, this recipe adapts well to frozen or canned cherries.  The muffins are moist and flavorful with the cherries, cinnamon and cloves blended together. 

This is a delicious fruity muffin to enjoy with your morning cup of coffee, for afternoon tea time or a tasty treat any time of the day. I hope you bake them!

All ready for baking

Cherry Muffins


2 cups flour
1 teaspoon each:  ground cinnamon, baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 stick (½-cup) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh or frozen pitted sour cherries


Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and clove; set aside.
Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy; beat in egg until smooth.
Reduce mixer speed to medium-low.
Alternate mixing in the flour mixture and the buttermilk to batter, beating just until combined.
Fold in the cherries.
Fill lined muffin tin three-quarters full with batter.
Bake until a tester tests clean, about 35 minutes.
Cool on wire rack.
Yield:  12 muffins

Love these cherry muffins!


  1. Ah, what a sweet memory. My husband and I had lunch in the Walnut Room the last Christmas before Macy's took over. There was a Salvation Army band playing just outside the front door. What fun to view those windows with the music wafting around the street. I have the Snow Bear cups with the date on them. I also kept the shopping back that year with the "There's No Place Like Marshal Field's" motif. In fact, I have several shopping bags from year's past.

    The muffins look delicious--a little taste of spring.


  2. Que ricos, te han quedado estupendos.


  3. Pam, Thanks for the recipe and the memories! Laurie and I loved Marshall Fields... It was one of the last great downtown department stores! I personally also miss the huge J.L. Hudson Department Store in downtown Detroit. I used to shop there for my stamp collection back in the 4th grade. It was another fabulous store. Now downtown Detroit really doesn't exist... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  4. Aha, another recipe for my frozen muffins. Thanks will try this over the weekend. Diane

  5. I sorely miss Marshall Fields. We had two in Milwaukee and I loved to shop at them. I rarely go to Macy's - the quality doesn't begin to compare.

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  6. These are great looking muffins. My husband grew up in the Chicago area so I know what you mean when you talk about Marshall Field's. I know there is a lot of people that feel the way you do.

  7. Great looking muffins! Such a shame when a place with that much history closes its doors.

  8. Bonnie, glad you liked this for the memories. Lucky you with cups and bags. I've got a couple of the usual shopping bags plus a Christmas bag from one year. It was a great store!

    jose manuel, gracias! Son bien.

    Big Daddy Dave, you're welcome and thank you! I've never been to Detroit but I can relate to what you're saying. There were/are so many great department stores, Marshall Fields was my fave!

    Diane, thanks! You have a great weekend!

    SavoringTime in the Kitchen, I agree with you 100% on both points! Yes, the quality of products at Macy's and also the general appearance of the store.

    Words Of Deliciousness, thanks! Yes, I know many people who agree with me. lol

    Carol, thank you! Yes, it was definitely steeped in history and I miss it.

  9. What great memories and the muffins sound delish!


  10. Shopping and lunch, what a perfect combination! It is almost as good as this muffin is going to be with my cup of tea. I am crazy about muffins and I can't wait to try this recipe!

  11. Melinda, thanks! Those muffins are good!

    Linda, thanks! What's not to like about shopping? lol and muffins too!

  12. Great Job Pam! These cherry muffins look to die for! A must try!

  13. Oh darlin', thanks for sharin' both your wonderful memories and that delicious lookin' recipe!!!

    Looks marvelous!

    God bless your week sweeite!!! :o)

  14. So neat to read this post today, Pam. In Springfield, MA we had Steiger's and also Forbes & Wallace. Steiger's had a Tea Room where the ladies lunched. Both closed years ago. I'm learning Springfield history to give school tours at the museum.

    The muffins look yummy and I do have a can of pitted cherries in my pantry! The clove flavoring will taste wonderful. Thanks!

  15. I never got to experience Marchall Field's but I know of it and of course remember when they changed to Macy's... great little trip down memory lane... and what better little treat on that trip than these muffins!! YUM!!!

  16. I love reading a post full of great memories like this. They don't make stores like that anymore.
    These muffins sure are tempting me; great photo Pam.


"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
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