1. Heat a convection oven to 375°F.
2. Macerate the raisins and cherries, by first rinsing with hot water in a strainer to soften. Let the water drip away and transfer to a deli container. Add the rum and cover overnight or until the rum is absorbed. Flip the container to distribute the rum, as needed.
3. Sift together the muffin mix and all the spices in a mixing bowl. Whisk together once sifted to ensure the spices are evenly distributed.
4. Divide the almond paste into 34 ½-oz. portions and roll into balls.
5. Warm the buttermilk to 70-75°F and add it to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
6. Mix the batter on low speed just until the muffin base and spices come together.
7. Fold the rum-soaked fruit, candied citrus, as well as the sliced almonds, using a spatula to disperse as evenly as possible.
8. Line a large muffin tin with tulip papers and use a 2-oz. scoop to place a single scoop inside each cup, followed by an almond paste ball in the middle, and then one final 2-oz. scoop. Tap the muffin tin on your work surface to remove air pockets.
9. Place the muffin tins on sheet trays and bake for 20 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffin.
10. Remove the muffins from the trays and cool on an elevated roasting rack.
11. Brush the still-warm muffins with melted butter and immediately dust the tops evenly with powdered sugar.
12. Ice the tops in a zig-zag pattern using a pastry bag, or drizzle icing on the muffin tops.
13. Cool, then place in a covered storage container or baker’s case for service.
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