Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Peach Tea Muffins

When I went apple picking a few weekends ago, I managed to sneak into the peach-picking area to grab a few fresh peaches. The trees were mostly bare, but I still managed to walk away with a handful of both white and yellow peaches – and they were ripe and ready to eat! Since I’m trying to limit the amount of fresh fruit I consume, I decided I’d bake these into something delicious to enjoy over the weekend. I remembered a recipe for Peach Tea Muffins I’d seen on The Kitchn some time ago, and thought that’d be the perfect use for the less-than-perfect but still juicy and sweet peaches.

This particular recipe is unique because it uses both regular steeped tea and actual tea leaves to flavor the batter. I used two different types of Tazo tea to make this recipe – I steeped Tazo Lotus tea bags in the hot water, and then I added Tazo Om tea leaves to the batter. I’ve baked recipes where tea is added as the liquid, but I’ve never baked something with actual tea leaves in it, and after making these I’d definitely do it again.

When I served these muffins to my family, I asked if they could tell what they tasted like, and no one knew exactly what was in the batter. The tea leaves add a flavor that is virtually impossible to detect, but is such a unique and different twist. I think the actual leaves being in the batter adds a depth of flavor that couldn’t otherwise be reached. The original recipe called for reconstituted dried peaches, however I only had the fresh peaches, and they worked out perfectly.  The peaches get soft and sweet when they bake into the muffins, and are like little treasures when you find them in a bite. I really loved these muffins, for how easy they are to make, but also just for their outstanding taste. In the future I think it’d be fun to try them out with different types of fruit and tea too! I’m thinking my next attempt will definitely include Earl Grey…

Have you ever baked with tea leaves before?

Peach and Spice Tea Muffins
about 18 muffins

1 heaping tablespoon loose leaf tea (I used 3 bags of Tazo Lotus tea here)
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped dried peaches (or 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh peaches)
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons loose leaf tea, crushed fine in a processor or with a mortar and pestle (optional – here I used 2 bags of Tazo Om tea leaves here, straight out of the bag)
1/2 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest from 1/2 lemon

Heat the oven to 400°F. Prepare two muffin pans with liners or just set out 18 souffle cups like we did.

1) Boil a kettle of water. Pour 1/4 cup of boiling water over the tea leaves in a small saucepan. Let them steep for three minutes, then add the milk and simmer for about 10 minutes. Pour more boiling water over the dried peaches and let them soften while the tea is steeping (this is only necessary if you choose to use the dried peaches).

2) Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients, including the crushed tea leaves. In a separate bowl beat the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla and lemon zest. Take the tea milk off the heat and strain.

3) Mix the milk in with the other wet ingredients. Then drain off all the water from the peaches; they should be very soft and spongy. Mix them into the wet ingredients.

4) Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together just until combined. Using a big tablespoon (the utensil, not the measuring spoon) drop heaping spoonfuls into the muffin cups. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes then lower the heat to 325°F and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Let cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before eating.

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