Kim Boyce’s Ginger Peach Muffins, lightened up

To start things out, I’ll admit that I can be a bit repetitive.

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (6 of 8)

First, you’re right that I have made ginger peach muffins before (even if I didn’t report about it on this blog).  My co-worker certainly remembers this:  when I brought the muffins in this post into work to share,  she asked, “are these the ones from the blog that are really cupcakes?”  They aren’t–and I like to think these muffins I am about to tell you about are a lot healthier, and just as delicious.

Secondly, you’re also right that I’ve been caught enthusing about Kim Boyce in this space.  Enough that the last time that Molly was over and looking to borrow some cookbooks she said “I know you won’t lend me this one as you’re always using it.”  She was right.

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (1 of 8)

A few weeks ago, when Marie was visiting with new baby M, I bought a few peaches at the grocery store.  Some were nearly ripe, others still unappealingly green and firm around the pit.  I was roasting some eggplant and threw these in the oven at the same time, each half with a pat of butter in the hollowed out pit, and with a light drizzling of honey.  (I threw in some apricots that were about to go for good measure).  A perfectly ripe peach may be impossible to improve on, but a roasted peach, caramelized around the edges and lusciously soft in the center, comes close. It also perks up the less ideal specimens, which let’s face it, is often what you get at the grocery store (or if you just can’t be patient enough to let them fully ripen).

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (3 of 8)

When Molly asked me the next day for some ideas for oat flour–her email started out, “Hey Quirky Flour Lady”–I was reminded of this recipe.  (I’m sure Molly was not shocked to have me bring up Kim Boyce again.  Since the exchange was over email, maybe she even shook her head a little).

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (4 of 8)

I don’t know what Molly’s made with her oat flour, but I immediately knew what I was doing with the leftover roast peaches, despite the fact that in the same email exchange I told Molly that I had declared a muffin moratorium due to my sons’ messes while eating them.    Not a lot of willpower there on my part.

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (2 of 8)

I’m evidently the Quirky Flour Lady, so I already had the oat flour, but if you don’t, you can also made it quite easily by running oatmeal through the food processor.  In fact, I had all the ingredients in hand except for the sour cream, but I had another acidic dairy product in my fridge:  low-fat kefir.  Suddenly I realized (due to no virtuous impulse on my part, but rather luck) that these were going to be a “lightened up” version of the recipe in Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours:  roasted peaches rather than peach slices sautéed in butter, low-fat kefir instead of sour cream.

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (5 of 8)

As you can see, they turned out perfectly.  Kefir, I’ve noticed, seems to produce an exceptionally lofty rise in baked goods (though I’d happily have used buttermilk or yogurt as well), and the blackened edges of my roasted peaches nestled in the crumb ensured my muffins were as pretty as they were delicious.

Ginger Peach Muffins with Oat Flour (8 of 8)

Kim Boyce’s Ginger Peach Muffins, lightened up
Author: adapted from Kim Boyce’s [url href=”Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours “]Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours[/url]
Ingredients
  • For the Roast Peaches
  • 2 ripe but firm peaches peaches, ripe, but firm
  • 1 T. unsalted butter
  • 1 T. honey
  • Dry mix:
  • 1 c. oat flour
  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 3/4 t. kosher salt
  • Wet mix:
  • 3 oz (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, then cooled slightly (just melt the butter first, and let it sit while you do everything else)
  • 3/4 c. whole or 2% milk
  • 1/2 c. plain kefir (substitute buttermilk or plain yogurt)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T. finely chopped crystallized ginger
Instructions
Make the roast peaches
  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Slice the peaches in half around the equator and remove the pits. Line a rimmed (preferably) baking sheet with parchment paper (this will substantially speed cleanup). Place the peaches, cut side up on the baking sheet and divide the butter between the hollows of each half. Drizzle lightly with honey (but remember that the oven will bring out the peaches’ sweetness). Roast for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Remove, and when cool enough to handle, slice each half lengthwise into 6 slices.
Make the muffins
  1. Reduce the heat of the oven to 350. Rub your muffin tins with butter or line with muffin cups.
  2. Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Stir the wet ingredient together in another bowl, and add these to the bowl along with the chopped candied ginger and stir together gently until combined. The batter will still be lumpy. This is ok.
  4. Scoop the batter into 11 muffin tins using a spoon or ice cream scoop. The batter should be slightly mounded over the edges. Lay a couple of peach slices over each muffin, nestling them gently into the batter.
  5. Bake for 24 to 28 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. The muffins are ready when the they smell nutty and are golden. Take the tin out of the oven and as soon as you are able, twist the muffins and lay them to cool on their sides in the tin. This allows the muffins to cool without getting soggy.

 

 

 

Whole-Grain Sweet Potato Muffins

Maybe it was just the “three clever sister” household, but when we were growing up, sweet potatoes were none too visible–they made an appearance at Thanksgiving, and we loved the fact that you could eat something with marshmallows and not call it dessert.  But, like a roast turkey, it was another year until we saw them again.

Now sweet potatoes (which by the way, in the US are probably the same things as yams) have risen to prominence as a “superfood”  along with other rediscovered vegetables such as butternut squash and even chard and kale (the latter two I don’t think I had even seen until 5 years ago).  Sweet potatoes, perhaps are the best of this virtuous bunch, as they are easy to peel (butternut squash, ahem) and you can almost forget they are good for you (kale chips are a good try but not my cup of tea).  And they are pretty much unavoidable in baby food these days! 

Here, sweet potatoes come to the rescue for those of you who don’t go for the whole “whole-wheat thing.”  These are subtly sweet and warmly spiced.  Delicious.  And light–no hockey pucks in sight!

These are homey and comforting, a perfect antidote to the excessively wintry weather we’ve been having here. 

Certain of the sisters like the batter as well as the finished product.

 Whole-Grain Sweet Potato Muffins

  • 2 1/2c whole wheat flour
  • 3/4c sugar or brown sugar (see note)
  • 2t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1T cinnamon
  • 1/2t nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)
  • 1/4t allspice
  • 1/4t salt (preferably kosher)
  • 1/4 c melted butter
  • 1/4c vegetable oil
  • 1c mashed sweet potato
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2c yogurt, buttermilk, or milk soured with 1t white vinegar

Heat the oven to 375.  Grease or line with paper liners 12 muffin cups.  Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In another bowl mix together the remaining ingredients, and fold into the dry mixture until just combined.

Fill the muffin cups approximately 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool for five minutes, then twist the muffins out and set on their side over the wells in the muffin pan (as shown above).  This will allow the muffins to cool without getting gummy and damp.  (Thanks for the tip, Kim Boyce, who along with Mark Bittman was my inspiration for this recipe!)

Notes  (updated 02/16):  This batter is thick.  You may have to add more liquid, depending on whether you use buttermilk, vinegared milk, or yogurt.  (Thanks to the commenters for reminding me to mention this!)  If you have brown sugar that is not too lumpy, you can use it instead of white sugar (in fact, I find it preferable).  A few little lumps melt nicely into the muffin and are little sweet bursts to enjoy.

Modern Baker Challenge–Irish Soda Bread Muffins

My next contribution to the Modern Baker challenge:  Irish Soda Bread Muffins.  I ended up with these by default–after appropriating a goodie like chocolate spice bread, I had to give Karen and Marie a go at divvying up the first chapter, and ended up with Irish Soda Bread muffins.  I wasn’t tremdously excited but at the same time figured they’d be decent enough.

In fact these were much better than expected.  Not heavy and dry as I’d feared, but light and moist.  Slightly sweet, but also with a bit more complexity of flavor thanks to the caraway seed.  The caraway is optional, and I almost left it out, thinking that this spice I so associate with rye bread could not possibly mesh well with a slightly sweet, raisin-studded bread.  After tasting the result, I can’t see making it without the caraway.   Otherwise I think you’d have a rather unremarkable raisin muffin–the spice (or is it an herb?) takes it to another level.

Since this was another item I stole time to bake while little H was sleeping and while aunt Karen entertained little E, there are not too many photos.  The other reason for the lack of visuals?  We polished these guys off pretty quickly.  These baking challenges are not good for getting off the baby weight.