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August 12, 2010

Granulated sugar (Recipe: peach vanilla muffins)

Peach vanilla muffins 

Most people don't consider granulated sugar a seasonal food.

Tomatoes, corn, asparagus? Yes, seasonal.

Sugar? Not so much. In my kitchen, a five-pound bag can last for many months, or for just a couple of days, depending on the time of year.

I am not a year-round baker; in fact, I call myself a bake-o-phobe. Once or twice a year, when I host cookies-for-donation events for Drop In & Decorate, I bake. For the rest of the year, when it comes to sugar, I sprinkle a teaspoon here and there in spaghetti sauce or stir-fries, or on strawberries with a bit of balsamic vinegar.

Baking season can come at any time, however, and without warning. So I'm always prepared with sugar in the pantry.

What is granulated sugar?
Cane or beet sugar that has been processed, allowed to crystallize, and then dried, so that the crystals do not clump together.

How/where to store:
On the pantry shelf, in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

More facts about granulated sugar, and ingredient photos, in The Perfect Pantry:
Granulated sugar (Recipe: sugar cookies)

Peach vanilla muffin

Peach vanilla muffins

 Good things definitely come in threes. On a visit to New York last week, I found cute paper liners for my muffin-top pan at Bowery Kitchen in Chelsea Market. Then, the next day, fortune (okay, the postman) delivered Tahitian vanilla paste (from my Cousin Martin), and my potter friend Bob called, begging me to come and pick peaches. All of the serendipity came together in this recipe, adapted from 1001 Muffins, by Gregg R. Gillespie, and in these muffins. You need very ripe peaches to bring out the maximum sweetness. Makes 12 muffin tops or regular-size muffins.

Ingredients

1 cup chopped ripe peaches
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 extra-large egg
1 cup milk (I use skim milk)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Scant 1/4 tsp vanilla paste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin or two muffin-top pans with paper liners, or spray with baking spray. Set aside.

Place the chopped peaches in a small bowl with the lemon juice and 1 Tbsp of the sugar. Toss well, and set aside to macerate while you prepare the batter.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In another large bowl, beat the egg with a whisk until it turns light yellow and begins to thicken a bit. Whisk in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla paste, until the ingredients are well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, and with a rubber spatula fold just until the dry ingredients are moist (don't overmix, or you'll end up with tough muffins, and nobody likes tough muffins!).

Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups; I use an ice cream scoop with a release (called a disher) to make it easy. Bake 16-17 minutes for muffin tops, 22 minutes for regular muffins. Cool in the muffin pan for 5 minutes, then transfer muffins to a wire rack.

Serve warm, with yogurt, for breakfast, or cool the muffins completely and serve with sweet butter and jam at tea time.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Chocolate double ginger cupcakes
Strawberry-rhubarb jam
Amaretti cookies
Whole wheat lemon-lime yogurt cupcakes
Black and white cookies

Other recipes that use sugar:
Sugar donut muffins, from Baking Bites
Sugar puffs, from Smitten Kitchen
Easy homemade pear butter, from Farmgirl Fare
Roti canai, from Rasa Malaysia
Heath Bar chocolate and toffee sugar cookies, from Cookin' Canuck

Comments

Mmmm! I just bought peaches at the farmers' market the other day and they're calling for something wonderful like this!

This is perfect timing for me, I've got two peaches I need to use up!

I love peach cobbler so I'm sure I would love peach muffins too. Love the idea of muffin tops, haven't heard of that before!

Another GREAT idea for my new supply of PYO peaches! I wonder if you could make this as a "loaf?"

Julia, with that Tahitian vanilla you have, you really must give these a try.

April, perfect indeed!

Kalyn, this is like cobbler, but without the crumbly topping. The muffin top pan is great fun, especially if, like me, you like the tops more than the bottoms.

Carol, yes, of course, you can make this as a loaf. You'll have to increase the baking time a bit.

That peach muffin looks perfectly delicous, Lydia. I'm glad you're getting really ripe peaches now. They are still under-ripe where I live. Peach cobbler may be in my future come September.

oh muffin tops are the way to go for me...so much so that it's really the only way i make muffins now--unless i'm making blueberry muffins; i love the batter of blueberry muffins.

Peaches and Cinnamon is always a good combo! I would still try it with canned peaches for off season months. I bet it would still taste really good. I've made peach tarts that way and they were husband approved!

Yay... I've been looking for a good recipe for peach muffins. I've got peaches that my kids picked last week and those same paper liners.

It sounds as though these muffins were meant to be. I love the shape of these - more topping, less muffin.

These look delicious! Anything with peaches...delicious! I'd top these off with some yummy cream cheese topping, but then again, I do go overboard where peaches are concerned!

I haven't seen vanilla paste at my grocers. Is it a commonly available ingredient?

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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