Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Fresh Peach and Oat Muffins

A few years ago, this great cafe and artisan coffee shop opened near where my parents live. I’ve only been a handful of times but each time it’s been great. The coffee drinks are strong and smooth, and the baked goodies are fresh and flavorful. On my past visit, we had just finished a 20 mile bike ride, and were looking for some sustenance. We got a few large lattes (or course!) and a couple of muffins – the Oatmeal Raspberry which is my Dad’s favorite, and the Sunflower Peach.

I’d heard about this famed sunflower peach muffin all morning, so I was glad to finally try it. The muffin was wonderful – the texture was very soft and tender but definitely hearty, with crunchy millet throughout and lots of big chunks of fresh peach. The top was sprinkled with roasted sunflower seeds, which added a great crunchy contrast of texture, and a hint of salt in each bite. We quickly devoured both muffins, but even before the last mouthfuls my mom had asked if we could recreate it at home.

I haven’t often tried to recreate things in my own kitchen that I’ve enjoyed out, and if I have I can’t remember any particular occasions, so I can only imagine that means it’s never worked as I’d like. But these muffins seemed do-able – I dissected a piece, looking closely at the finished product and trying to detect whether there might be oatmeal in the dough, and savored every bite tasting for added spices. We deduced that thought you could not see the oatmeal, the slighty chewy texture meant there had to be some type of oats or oat flour in the muffins. The millet was easy to see and gave a great crunch, so I knew I’d need to add that to whatever recipe I found. Otherwise, the muffin base seemed pretty standard, and only mildly spiced. I went through what seemed like dozens of recipes and the associated photos, looking for something that looked like what I had in mind, and finally settled on the recipe below.

This recipe ended up working out perfectly. I only had whole wheat flour on hand, so the muffins had a distinctly nutty, healthy flavor to them, but fresh out of the oven I really liked them, and the good news was – they tasted almost like the real thing! I was proud of myself for producing something yummy and fairly spot-on, and I only wish I’d made them bigger so I didn’t feel guilty about going back for another…

Fresh Peach and Oat Muffins
adapted from here, makes 12 muffins

1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
1/4 cup millet (this is optional, but I like the crunch)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1/2 white whole wheat flour and 1/2 wheat pastry flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
12 oz. almost ripe peaches, rinsed, pitted, and flesh cut into large chunks

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line muffins tins with paper lines.

1) Put the rolled oats and the buttermilk in a large bowl and let soak for 10 minutes. Add the lightly beaten egg, melted butter or vegetable oil, and sugar and mix well.

2) Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices onto the soaked oat mixture and stir briefly. Quickly fold in the chopped peaches. Do not beat or over mix; the batter should look slightly streaky. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup about two-thirds full.

3) Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 1 minute, then turn out onto a wire rack. Eat warm, immediately or within 24 hours. When thoroughly cooled, the muffins can be wrapped then frozen for up to 1 month.

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