Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"this is unlike the story it was written to be"

the food: Peach Streusel Muffins
the song: "Peach Plum Pear" Joanna Newsom*

Before August slips away, I have one more seasonal recipe for you. I have eaten more peaches this summer than ever before. You may not know this, but the husband and my hometown claims to be the peach capital of Texas. There's an annual Peach Festival we've been steadily avoiding since we were punk rock (the husband), angst-ridden (me) high school kids. 

I came home from the farmer's market at the very beginning of summer with a big bag of peaches. They were just too good to pass up. They smelled amazing, the old man farmer was a cutie pie, and I got caught up in the moment. The husband turned his nose up a little as I bit into one. "I think the Peach Festival scarred me. I don't really like peaches," he told me.

Maybe part of the reason I've cooked with peaches this summer is to help the husband overcome childhood traumas. Peaches are kind of amazing, especially to a cook. That smell, the fuzzy skin, the little squeeze, the color, the juice. And lest I forget the pit. A nice ripe peach is pretty irresistible. I think I've won him over this summer. He'll probably never take a bite of a peach on its own, but I'm ok with that. Neither of us are big fruit eaters.

The one exception to our limited fruit eating is baked goods. I love love LOVE baking with fruit. Cobblers, muffins, breads, pie, crisps...you name it, and I'm there. Give me a little butter and sugar, and watch out fruit!

If you remember, I got a bucket of peaches from my grandmother's tree the last time I visited. When I got them home after the 4 hour car ride, a few of them were a bit mealy. This peach muffin recipe was the perfect way to use up the peaches that were slightly past their prime. They include a secret...dare I say... *naughty* splash of rum that makes you feel just a little rebellious with coffee at 8 a.m.**

I'm not going to tangent too much here (I hope), but I want to say a quick something about healthy eating. I claim to be interested in healthy(ish) recipes, and here I am posting a muffin recipe with butter and sour cream. My argument here...and bear with me...is that these muffins still fall under the scope of healthy(ish). I am a firm believer in eating real food, which means I cook with butter and full fat sour cream (both organic). I still maintain we're better off eating one of these muffins for breakfast...one being the key word...than a highly processed energy bar or a yogurt parfait with HFCS. At least with this I know exactly what I'm getting. 

Sure, I would be a better example of health if I just ate the peach for breakfast. But come on.

I froze about 1/2 of this batch and the husband and I agree that they taste even better the second time around. Freezing pulls together all the flavors and makes them a more solid muffin. Also, it gives you a break from eating peach muffins every day for a week.  

Check out other peach disguises here and here.

Peach Streusel Muffins
adapted from Ezra Poundcake

for the streusel:
1 cup coursely chopped walnuts (pecans would also be good)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

for the muffins:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon dark rum (you can also use vanilla extract, but rum is more fun)
1 1/2 cups peeled, pitted, chopped peaches

To make the topping, combine the walnuts, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in the butter, and mix until well blended (I use my hands for this, but you could also use a fork). Set aside

To make the muffins, sift together all dry ingredients- from flour to salt- and set aside. 

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, butter, sour cream and rum or vanilla. Fold in the peaches.

Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture. Stir until just moist and blended. Do not overmix. 

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan with a large ice cream scoop (1/3-cup scoop). The batter should come to the top of the paper liner or pan. Sprinkle with the streusel topping, and lightly press the topping into the muffin batter.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes at 375. Remove from the oven, and cool for 5 minutes before removing from muffin pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes about 18 muffins.


*Dear Cats I Live With- I'm sorry that I listened to Joanna Newsom while writing this post. I know she confuses you and her voice makes you wonder if there is a dying cat in the house a little nervous. There are some things only your human masters can appreciate, and I'm afraid Ms. Newsom is one of those things. Love, Your Mom

**Ok, fine, not really. Obviously 1 tablespoon of rum, spread between 18 muffins and cooked for a half hour isn't going to make you loopy.


  1. Mmmm!! Emily, you are making me drool. STREUSEL Muffins? Be still, my beating taste buds.

    I have another solution for mealy peaches, and that is Peach Bellinis. You will have to use champagne rather than rum, but what a delightful farewell to summer.

    Also, I have to say that I love your focus on real foods. Did I tell you we put in a vegetable garden at our house? It's about 5 weeks old, and while it hasn't sprouted any food YET, I am very excited about the day when she will. When it does, I shall write my very first cooking post, inspired by you.

  2. Peach Bellinis! Sign me up!

    Congratulations on your vegetable garden! You will love it- it is very affirming. Also, I love fall gardens about 100x more than summer gardens. Mine is going in this week! :)