Fresh, juicy peaches top a wholesome ginger muffin and all is right with the world.
A few days ago (Monday, to be exact – stupid Monday!) I had a weird, bad day. I woke up feeling a bit down and throughout the day it felt like nothing was going right, as if everything in my life was just slightly out of place. Do you ever have that feeling? There wasn’t one particular thing that happened, but rather lots of tiny things that added up to make the day “less than satisfactory”. It was one of those days where I knew that the only possible cure was a delicious baked good.
Never, ever, ever underestimate the power of a delicious baked good.
It’s funny because three years ago, I would have told you that I hated baking. I loved cooking, but baking? Oh no. Baking was a scary, scary experience. I summed it up like this: you prepare a perfect, beautiful batter (the kind that you’re sure will become a perfect batch of cookies/brownies/muffins) and then you put that sweet, innocent batter into the evil, scary oven where all kinds of bad things can happen. “Burned on the edges, gooey in the center” could have been my motto. Baking? No thank you.
Then I moved to Portugal and everything changed. It was partly out of necessity because certain baked goods are really hard to find here. Portuguese bakeries are amazing, believe me. I could live in a Portuguese bakery. They have croissants, scones, puff pastry creations (amazing, amazing puff pastry creations), and even some cookies. Muffins, though, are few and far between, and even when I do come across them, they’re the super sweet white flour variety. Sometimes that’s just what I want – a giant blueberry muffin with that sugary, buttery crumble on top (excuse me while I swoon) - but I usually prefer something a bit more wholesome, the kind of muffin that makes me feel like I’m back home in Northern California, maybe at a hippie coffee shop where everyone looks like a poet. Maybe it’s snowing outside. Maybe I’m drinking coffee from a bowl.
Okay, okay… I was homesick, so I learned to bake. The truth comes out!
Anyway, fast forward nearly three years to this Monday (stupid Monday). I decided to try a recipe for Ginger Peach Muffins from the Good to the Grain cookbook by Kim Boyce and sure enough, as soon as the smell of these delicious muffins started to fill my house, things started to look up. Then I ate one, and stupid Monday became the best day ever. Okay, not quite, but regardless, these muffins are heavenly and a powerful cure for the Monday blues. Try one!
This is the part of the post where I would normally tell you what kinds of alterations can/should be made to the recipe, but in this case I really encourage you to try it exactly as written. Of course you could try a different blend of flour, add more or less sugar, substitute this or that… but don’t. I mean really, these are just perfect. They are hearty without being too dense or chewy, and the flavor is the perfect combination sweet, tangy and just slightly spicy from the ginger. The oat flour adds a nutty richness while a bit of white flour keeps the muffins light. They are so moist that even a few days later (yes, I practiced some remarkable self-restraint) they still haven’t dried out at all.
These muffins take just a teeny bit more work than your basic muffin recipe, but it’s just because of the epic honey-butter-ginger-peach topping and believe me, you can’t live without it.
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 small peaches, ripe but firm
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup oat flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted (but slightly cooled)
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream1 egg
- 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped
- Grate the ginger into a large bowl.
- To make the topping, halve and pit the peaches, then cut them into slices around 1/4 inch thick. In a medium skillet, melt the butter with the honey and 1 teaspoon ginger. When it starts to bubble a bit, add the peaches, and make sure that they’re thoroughly coated with the syrup. Set aside.
- Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients into the other bowl with the grated ginger and whisk thoroughly. Then gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Don’t overmix!
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. If you’re using a muffin tin, fill until the batter is slightly mounded over the edge. If you’re using silicone muffin cups, be to sure to only fill them 2/3 of the way because this batter will rise and overflow! Mix the topping one more time to make sure the peaches are coated in the syrup. Lay one peach slice across the top of each muffin, and tuck another slice partway into the batter. Spoon the extra syrup from the pan over the peaches.
- Bake for about 25 minutes (maybe a few minutes longer), rotating the pan halfway through. The muffins should be golden brown and smell incredible, and a toothpick should come out clean. Enjoy, preferably somewhere cozy.
adapted from Good to the Grain