Peachy Keen Energy Muffins

 

readytoeat2

It’s summer peach season in Georgia and despite the torrential rains we’ve experienced here lately, the peaches are abundant and beautiful this year. Those we’ve enjoyed so far have leaned to the tart side, making them the perfect fruity ingredient for muffins or quick bread.

Peachy Keen Energy Muffins are just the ticket to start your morning off on the right foot before you head out for a hike, a swim, a ride or whatever your summertime day includes. Literally filled to the brim with nutritious, delicious and healthy ingredients, these very lightly sweetened muffins are super easy to make and freeze well, too. You can whip up a batch in no time and eat them warm from the oven or save some for a road trip later.

The “Energy” component of this muffin equation comes from using rolled whole oats and sliced almonds as part of the “dry” mixture instead of all flour. I also add plain Greek yogurt to the “wet” mixture for some fat and probiotic tang, and a touch of cinnamon and some vanilla to pull all the flavors together. Truly a mighty breakfast in a very small package. I tried these out before hiking 3 miles to a waterfall and they kept me going, earning their name! And while these muffins are intentionally more dense than some recipes, using the rolled oats instead of cut or quick ones allows the leavening ingredients in the recipe to do their job, keeping them airy but with a variety of toothsome textures. We’re addicted to these muffins and I keep making them over and over again. I think you’ll love them too.

Got no peaches? Not summer in your part of the world? No problem. Substitute the same amount of grated apple for the peaches and chopped walnuts for the almonds. You can also substitute mashed ripe banana for the peaches and chopped pecans for the almonds. You get the idea.

Cheers to your health and more energy!

yum

Nice crumb!

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To print this recipe, click here.

Peachy Keen Energy Muffins
Makes 12 nicely-sized muffins

For the dry ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups rolled whole oats
1/2 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 cup blanched, sliced almonds
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the wet ingredients:
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (2% or full fat)
3 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon madagascar vanilla extract
2 cups peeled and chopped fresh peaches and their juice (if too tart, you can add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the peaches)

Directions:
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven.

Place flour, oats, brown sugar, sliced almonds, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine the dry ingredients well.

In a separate large bowl, beat the egg slightly, then add the milk, yogurt, butter and vanilla and stir to combine. Add the peaches and their juice and stir to combine thoroughly. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until just combined and all ingredients are moistened. Don’t over stir or you’ll lose the air in the mixture. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups, filling them to the top of the paper cup…don’t worry, this batter doesn’t run.

Bake the muffins on the center rack for 16-18 minutes until they are lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then turn them out of the pan onto the rack top side up to finish cooling.

These muffins will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days, in the fridge for about 3 days, or in the freezer for about a month. Cool completely before freezing.

freshfromtheoven

Fresh from the oven, yum!

 

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Bourbon Scented Peaches with Ginger Cinnamon Shortcakes and Vanilla Cream

MaindishAh, Spring. It was so pretty and it went by so fast.

Suddenly we are full into summer here, and with that comes one of my most favorite fruits…the mighty delicious peach. Now supposedly I live in what is known as the “Peach State” in the United States…that would be Georgia. But having lived here for three decades now, I have to say I didn’t understand until just recently why anyone would say this was the peach state. All of the peaches I’d ever tasted here were quite inferior to those from my native state of Alabama. In fact, I’ll be harsh enough to say that the ones I’d tried from Georgia were always picked too early, were mealy and tasteless.

That is until three years ago when I discovered Pearson’s Peaches at the local Farmer’s Market.

It was a banner peach year, with perfect growing conditions and a very, very long peach season. The first peach I tasted was all that a peach should be: Juicy, fruity, naturally sweet deliciousness dripping down your chin when you bite into it. Never had I tasted a peach this good. We gorged on peaches for 4 months! Here are some of those recipes that I posted during that time: Just Peachy Ice Cream, Peach or Nectarine Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet with BourbonA Very Short Little Peach Cake, A Star Spangled Cherry Berry Peach Crumble, Peachy Pops, Mom’s Easy Peach and Blueberry Crisp, Damon Fowlers Peach Orange Marmalade…just to name a few.

Now it is peach season again in Georgia. It’s a little late this year because the first crop was destroyed by the cold, and the next round was delayed by all of the rain. But they are here and they are grand. It’ll be a short season this year, but I plan to make the most of it. We’ve been through two bags of peaches already and here is my first peach recipe of the season…a really superb way to enjoy these beautiful and tasty fruits.

Peach Shortcake. No, not strawberry shortcake…not that I don’t love that, too. But if you’ve never tried a peach shortcake, you’re really missing something special. You can make it exactly the way you would a strawberry shortcake. Or, you can try this recipe of mine instead.

Peaches love bourbon, and I put just enough in with the peaches to scent them, but not overwhelm them. Peaches love cinnamon and ginger, too, as does shortcake. So I made my shortcake with candied ginger and a touch of cinnamon…resulting in a very scone-like shortcake that is as wonderful enjoyed as a scone with your tea as it is used in combination with your fine peaches. Lavish your split shortcakes with peaches, and then top this with a combo of heavy cream and a bit of yogurt, whipped together with madagascar bourbon vanilla and just a pinch of sugar. The yogurt adds a very slight underlying tang to the cream (kind of like a touch of sour cream) that balances well with the natural sweetness of the peaches and the bourbon. Wow. This makes for a not too sweet, but just right dessert that we could eat every day!

Bourbon Scented Peaches with Ginger Cinnamon Shortcake and Vanilla Cream
Makes 8 Shortcakes (Shortcakes adapted from Bon Appétit)

For the Ginger Cinnamon Shortcakes:
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons finely chopped candied (crystallized) ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups all purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon for work surface
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg plus 1 Tablespoon water beaten to blend

For the Bourbon Peaches:
12 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
2 Tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 Tablespoons good quality bourbon, or to taste

For the Vanilla Cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, I use 2% fat
2 Tablespoons sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract, or good quality vanilla extract

Optional sprigs of mint or tiny strips of candied ginger to garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk the sugar, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and 2 cups flour together in a large bowl. Add the pieces of cold butter and work in the butter with your fingers until the texture is like a coarse meal with a few pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. Add the cream and mix until the dough just comes together, it will be sticky. Turn the dough onto a flat surface lightly floured with the 1 Tablespoon of flour. Pat the dough out into a 12 x 4 inch rectangle about 3/4″ thick. Cut rounds out with a round 2 1/2″ biscuit cutter, re-rolling scraps as needed to make 8 rounds. Whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl. Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. Brush the top of each round with some egg wash. Bake until the tops are golden brown and the shortcakes are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. (Shortcakes can be made 2 days ahead and stored tightly wrapped at room temperature.)

In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, sugar and bourbon and allow them to macerate for about 10 minutes at room temperature.

In a medium bowl that has been chilled in the freezer with the beaters for 5-10 minutes, whip the cream, yogurt, sugar and vanilla on medium high speed until the mixture forms soft peaks.

Split each shortcake in half and divide amongst 8 dessert plates. Spoon 1/8 of the peach mixture with its juices over each split shortcake. Divide any remaining juice from the peaches between the 8 shortcakes. Top each dessert with 1/8 of the cream mixture. Garnish with mint if desired, or a thin strip of candied ginger, and serve.

***Note: As you can see from my above photos, I made smaller shortcakes and cooked them for approximately 12-13 minutes. We made our desserts two at a time over the course of two days, and had the remaining shortcakes, sans peaches and cream, for breakfast with tea. These make amazing scones.

***Tip: Always chill your bowl and beaters before whipping cream, or in this case cream and yogurt. The chilled bowl and beaters will help the cream to whip faster and fluffier.

Juicy sweet and delicious to eat!

Juicy sweet and delicious to eat!

A Very Short Little Peach Cake

Peaches! We have them…the first of the season from south Georgia, and boy are they a welcome sight. It seems like forever since peaches were in season, and now at last they’ve arrived, even a bit early, like everything this year.

After the first week of eating them in a few juicy bites, or with some Greek yogurt and granola, I began to calm down once I realized that these were early peaches and we should have peaches for a while to come. And that’s when I started thinking about baking. Now, I don’t bake a lot…mainly because there are just two of us and, well, if I make it, we will eat it…rapidly and until no crumbs remain. But peaches do inspire me to start trying some new ideas.

My first thought was something cake-y. More so than a crisp or a cobbler, but maybe more versatile than a muffin. I love shortcakes…why not combine the idea of fruit and shortcake into one…besides the fact that I’ve never seen it done? And hence the result: a very short little peach cake! Continue reading