Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Peach Blueberry Muffins

South Carolina peaches are not something to be taken for granted.  Sweet, juicy, bursting with delectable flavor, these bits of summer sunshine are locally available  from early June through mid-September.  Our weekly trek to the peach farm is always an adventure because we never know what variety will be ripe next.  Late June brings the delicate white "Georgia Belle's,  July, the rosy "Red Globe".  Comparing, contrasting and choosing the favorites has been an intriguing business for my crowd of peach eaters. Last week we brought home 2 full bushels, which has meant quite an abundance of peaches in this house.  We've eaten them whole like apples, chopped and sugared over vanilla ice cream, swaddled in cream and baked in cobbler, best of all, paired with blueberries and tucked into muffins.

These muffins bake up light, cakey and delectable.  They manage to avoid the whole gummy, heavy feeling you sometimes get with a muffin that has oil as a base. The peaches and blueberries add a summery burst of flavor that make it hard to stop at just one. As a final layer of decadence, these have a crunchy layer of struesel on top.  Because you know, if you're going to eat cake for breakfast which we all know muffins are it might as well be worth your while.

Peach Blueberry muffins with Pecan Streusel
Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel Topping:
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans (optional), lightly toasted if desired *
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Muffin Batter:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (optional - try nutmeg if you don't have allspice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 cups sour cream, plain yogurt, or buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons  pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups peeled, pitted, chopped peaches
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
1. For the Topping: In a small bowl, combine the pecans, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir in the butter, and mix until well blended.

2. For the Muffins: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line at least 24 large muffin cups with paper liners, and spray lightly with nonstick spray.

3. In a medium bowl, wisk together the dry ingredients, from flour to salt, and set aside. Pour in the blueberries and gently toss until well coated with flour mixture.

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

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

6. 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 generously with the Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel Topping, and lightly press the topping into the muffin batter.

7. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes clean. Remove from the oven, and cool for 5 minutes. Turn the muffins out of the pan, and serve immediately.

*Tip:  Try lightly toasting nuts to be used in baking.  It just takes a minute and absolutely deepens the flavor.  To do this, place nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat.  Let cook  for 4-5 minutes, shaking and stirring  until nuts are fragrant and/or begin to brown.  Set aside and let cool before chopping.

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