Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Honey Kissed Peach (or Blueberry) Muffins


The frost peaches are in and we have surely picked our share. 130 pounds that is! I have spent the weekend pitting, cutting, freezing, and dehydrating these sweet, juicy little morsels of summer nutrition. A way to remember summer, eat local, reduce our carbon footprint? Or just enjoy fresh!

We have also been picking blueberries, blackberries, Italian plums, apples, pears, and red plums. Over this past weekend I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning processing it all and making jam. Spiced peach jam, cherry-peach jam, blueberry-honey jam, and blueberry-apple-lemon jam. You can make a sugar-free jam by using Pomona's low methoxy pectin. So far I have used grape juice concentrate or honey to sweeten my jams. I also made one with sugar just to see what the difference was in taste and texture.

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But what about vegetables you say? Well, the cabbage in our garden is ready to be harvested and soon I will be making raw sauerkraut. Over the weekend I made a batch of pickles using this recipe . I can't wait to taste them!

The muffins, please the recipe?

The other day as I was browsing Melissa's Gluten Free for Good blog, I noticed a honey sweetened peach muffin that beckoned me to make it. Since I don't use mixes I thought I better come up with my own recipe. Three tries later I offer you a recipe that your gluten-eating friends will enjoy too! You see, since I had so many muffins, I gave them to the neighbors to taste-test. The verdict was in: all folks loved them, gluten-free or not!

Since Melissa's recipe used eggs I thought I would try it out that way too. If you need an egg-free muffin recipe you can use my vegan Rhubarb Muffin recipe and simply replace the rhubarb for peaches or blueberries (or any other summer fruit for that matter...like blackberries).


Honey Kissed Peach (or Blueberry) Muffins

These gluten, dairy-free beauties are packed with nutrition and flavor! I have added a whole cup of almond meal flour which raises the protein and overall nutritional value. I use Bob's Red Mill brand for the almond meal flour. I also use sorghum flour which bakes up nice and light. I use unsweetened hemp milk for the milk, though I am sure cow or goat milk would work as well. I used the full 2 cups of berries in all of my batches which worked well, though if your are short on fruit, the lesser amount will work as well. For this particular recipe, I have found that using paper muffin cups works well for taking the hot muffins out of the pan.

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
1 cup almond meal flour (not blanched almond flour)
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Wet Ingredients:
2 large organic eggs
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup milk (non-dairy)
1/3 cup melted virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
1 to 2 cups diced peaches or blueberries

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl or 4-cup glass measure, add the eggs. Whisk. Then add the remaining wet ingredients. Whisk well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together well. Fold in the fruit. Use a 1/3 cup measure to pour batter into muffin cups. Fill to the top!

Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and let cool on a wire rack. They will hold together well after they are cooled, but they are still great fresh out of the oven! Enjoy!


Some Helpful Tips for Picking Fruit:

Every year our family picks pounds and pounds of fruit. The trick is having the time to deal with it all once it ripens. It may be work now, but in the dead of winter you will be relaxing and enjoying a freshly baked scone spread with your very own homemade jam.

- Don't be shy, go up to your neighbor's house and ask to pick fruit. Most folks are happy to have the help, otherwise most of it will end up on the ground rotting. Other places to look are vacant lots, houses for sale or for rent, and houses where college students live. There is plenty of fruit to go around! But please remember to always ask before you pick!

- Keep empty boxes in your car just in case you spot a tree needing picking on your travels about town. Small buckets works well for berries.

- Make sure you store your fruit in large flat boxes, one or two layers deep, after you pick it. Otherwise the bottom fruit will get crushed and start to rot, possibly spoiling the whole box. I usually remove the very ripe fruit to eat right away and then transfer the fruit into additional boxes. You can pick up empty fruit boxes from your local health food store if need be.

- It helps to have an extra refrigerator and/or freezer in your garage. I put a bunch of fruit in the fridge before it ripens to be able to enjoy for weeks. Just take a little out at a time and let it ripen on your kitchen counter.

- For peaches, I simply cut them in half, remove the pit, and freeze them in layers in large containers. They are great in green smoothies throughout the year. To dehydrate, I peel, pit, and cut into thick slices. After they are done I store them in large glass jars in the pantry.

- For blueberries, I pour some into a large Pyrex bowl and fill it with water. All of the stems and leaves, and other gunk will float to the top. You can just pour off this stuff and give them another rinse. Shake off the water and place into large containers to freeze.

- For blackberries, we just freeze them as they are, no rinsing.

- For Italian Plums, I cut them in half, pit them, and freeze them in large containers. For dehydrating I cut them in half or quarters, pit them, and dehydrate. Store in glass jars in your pantry when done.

- For apples, just make applesauce.....or apple plum sauce!

- We like to use the pears in green smoothies and also freeze them. Frozen, they make a great addition to your smoothies when out of season.

- Giveaway little boxes of fruit to your friends! This is always fun, especially when you have 4 or more different types of fruit to add to the box.


Do you have any ways to preserve the harvest? Traditions? Recipes? I'd love to hear. :)


25 comments:

  1. Note to self: I should never read your blog posts before I have eaten my breakfast!! :0 These all look luscious, Ali. We enjoy so many of your recipes. Just this week, we had your pumpkin pancakes, lemon lentil soup and the scones have become a regular in our household. Now if I could just figure out how to be your neighbor! Thanks, always ~Debbie

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  2. OMG you're amazing. 130 pounds!!! I'm going to have to learn more about this jam making thing between you and Ali. When do you sleep. Picking all of that fruit, taking care of it and then making 3 batches of muffins. Now what do you do with all of that jam? Do you sell it? Will it last until this time next year? How long does it take to pick all of that fruit? I'm totally overwhelmed and my brain is starting to spark.

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  3. Being the neighbor who recieved the muffins I can say they are wonderful. I have to make a batch today, the dozen Ali gave us lasted less then 12 hours. I guess that is what happens when you have a growning 8 year old boy! Thanks Ali

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  4. Well, we must have completely different driving patterns because I don't ever see any Italian plum trees just growing in someones front yard. And I LOVE them sooo much! I want to have friends with large gardens that will share their treasures of fruit! :o)
    I don't know why, but making jam and pickling have always sound really intimidating to me. I LOVE cooking, but I just fear the outcome of jam-making and preserving. Especially when you want to make things (low) sugar-free.
    Can you share what type of a dehydrator you have? I'd love to get at least that.
    What about peaches that do not come off the pit? You know that type that no matter what you do, the pit is just not coming off! Or the peaches that ALWAYS have a pit that splits in half? I would not want to end up with 130lb of those! lol
    I had no idea you can freeze pears! I might do that. An extra fridge would sure be very nice to have.
    Thanks for your inspiration as usual and also for making us all feel as lazy moms! LOL

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  5. Thanks for the recipe. Looks so good. I was wondering if you have any suggestions for substitutions for sorghum flour. It's "hit or miss" at my Whole Foods. Would another GF flour or a combination of flours work? I've use all brown rice flour or buckwheat flour in the past...yikes! Maybe you've got some other suggestions?

    Thanks!

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  6. These look delicious! Have you tried making them with all applesauce (~1/2 c) and no oil? I typically like to replace oil in baking recipes with applesauce to cut down on the calorie/fat content, but I am not sure if this works as well in GF baking. Tips?

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  7. Muffins are a weakness of mine. I just love them! Good job in preserving the harvest! That's a lot of work. :-)

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  8. Debbie - Thanks so much! :)

    Diane - I slept last night, finally! I can the jam so it will last a while - yes until this time next year! No, I don't sell it; we'll use it and give some away as gifts. It took us about 40 minutes to pick 93 pounds of peaches (this was myself and the girls picking). Maybe another 20 minutes for the rest (2 separate occasions and locations). Picking peaches/plums/apples/pears goes very quickly. Blackberries are a little tougher! :)

    Katie - Thanks, glad you enjoyed! :)

    Pavlina - I find most of the plum trees when I am out walking with the kids. The plums can sometimes hide under the leaves if the trees are not too full so you really have to have your eyes on the lookout. Just last week I noticed a neighbor’s house (which I can see from my kitchen window) that had 2 different varieties of plums on the side yard. The house is for rent and no one is living there so we picked a bunch of plums! But I never noticed them until this year! Just start looking and you will notice them - they are everywhere her in the Northwest! I use an old American Harvest dehydrator - nothing fancy. If you are looking into purchasing one I would look at the Excalibur dehydrators. :)

    Anon - I think a combo of millet flour and brown rice would work here as well. Try 1 cup millet and 1/2 cup brown rice flours. Make sure your millet flour is fresh because it can spoil very quickly. I store mine in the freezer in the summertime. If it is rancid your baked good will taste very bitter. :)

    Nichole - No I haven't tried these with applesauce. I have found that GF baked goods need a little fat to keep them moist and tender, otherwise they are very dry and crumbly. If anyone else has made no or low fat GF baked goods, please share! If you do try cutting down on the fat, start with half the oil and replace with applesauce. Let me know what happens. :)

    Kimi - Yes a lot of work....but in the winter we can sit back and relax enjoying the fruits of our labor. :)

    -Ali :)

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  9. Hi Ali, I have really been enjoying your blog and all the good recipes. I was wondering what you think of replacing the honey with agave syrup? I make the sunflower cookies all the time with agave instead of maple syrup! Oh and impressive harvest!

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  10. Ali~ Where did you pick peaches? Somewhere local?

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  11. Thess look amazing and moist! I can't wait to try them once I'm off the elimination diet!!!!!! Thanks for another great recipe!!

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  12. You must live somewhere quite amazing. I don't think that there are many fruit trees you can just stop and pick from in Dallas. The houses are so close together that there isn't even much room for trees. Joe and I talked about driving out to the orchards but by the time we paid for the gas to get there it would be tons cheaper to just buy it here. :) Had to laugh at ourselves.

    I grew up picking lots of fruit - we would just pull over on the side of the road and pick berries, take them home, and bake a great cobbler.

    Wanted to let you know I linked to your Dark Teff Sandwich Bread today. :)

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  13. Rose - Yes I believe agave nectar would work here as well. So glad to hear you are enjoying the sunflower cookies! :)

    Elaine - Yes - local, our friends invite us every year to help pick cherries in July and peaches in August. We also have a neighbor who has a peach tree, they just recently bought the house. When we walked by last week we noticed that the peaches had begun to drop and roll into the street so I knocked on their door and asked to pick. They said they were not going to pick them and to take as much as we wanted. I filled the double baby jogger with almost 40 pounds and there were still loads of peaches left on the tree. I called my friends and they happily went over to "help" pick! :)

    Dot - Thanks! :)

    Amy - Um, yeah, the Pacific Northwest is teaming with fruit trees. Everywhere! It is quite amazing. Even growing up in the Midwest we didn't have this kind of abundance! We planted 8 apple trees, 3 cherry trees, 3 pear trees, 2 plum trees, 1 fig tree, and 1 peach tree the month we bought this house (a little over 2 years ago). I can't wait for our trees to begin to produce fruit (oh we got a small bowlful of cherries this year and 2 plums)! I hear you about the berries and cobbler - same here! Thanks for the link up, I will check it out. :)

    -Ali :)

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  14. Yum!!! Made these for breakfast with peaches. Thanks for coming up with such great recipes, Ali!

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  15. Thanks Ali! I made these last night with half the amount of oil and increased the applesauce to make up for it. I put in a combination of peaches and blueberries (I went a little overboard and put in about 3 cups of the combined fruit). They turned out fantastic! Super moist and very fruity. Even my non-GF husband raved about them. Fantastic recipe! Thanks!

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  16. I like the new look of the blog you guys! I haven't been here in a while but glad I did now! I just made these muffins, perfect timing since we went blackberry picking today. I used 1/4 cup mashed banana in place of the applesauce and 2 cups of blackberries instead of peaches. I also added in a tsp. of cinnamon. Woweee these are good. I think I will make another batch next week for the lunchboxes! Thanks again!

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  17. Jenny - Great! Thanks for the feedback. :)

    Nichole - I am happy to hear that these work with less oil and more fruit! I don't have time to experiment with all the different variations. I appreciate that you did and left the results so others could benefit, thanks. :)

    Tracie - Diddo on experimenting with the recipe and offering your results, thanks! Hmm, I like the banana/blackberry combo, sounds yummy. I bet there are a number of variations that would work with this recipe. :)

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  18. I can't even imagine that many peaches--lucky, lucky ducks! I love that the muffins have almond meal; I think pecan meal would be great with the peaches too. Sweet!

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  19. CinnamonQuill - I know that IS a lot of peaches! I think we're set now. :) I like the idea of pecan meal. I also often use hazelnut meal in baking too...in chocolate chip cookies it is sooo tasty! :)

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  20. Wow Ali, these muffins are like cupcakes, good old fashioned gluten filled cupcakes! It might be a while since I've had a real cupcake :-).

    They came out of the oven so perfect and beautiful. I think I am kind of sold on the almond flour.

    I'll let you know how they freeze. Most of the gf muffins I've made freeze perfectly. The waffles are great out of the freezer. They even make a good teething snack frozen. Personally, I like mine toasted, but toddlers have their own ideas.

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  21. Jennifer - Yeah, the honey and almond flour add a nice sweetness for sure. I think they are great for dessert! I actually think my boys ate a few waffles straight from the freezer too, sometimes they are just too hungry to wait for things like toasting! Too funny! :)

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  22. Thank you for this recipe! I have a nut allergy. Can you suggest a substitute for the almond meal flour? Thanks!

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  23. I am also looking to sub the almond meal. I have used millet in the past, but not for such a large portion of the flour. I have some coconut flour - could I blend that with something?

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  24. Made these blueberry muffins last night and they were amazing! I made them VEGAN by using "flax eggs". I also used brown rice flour (not sorghum) and used hazelnut and almond flour that I made in my vita-mix. Yum!
    I absolutely plan on making these again in the future for a yummy breakfast or snack etc.
    Blessings!
    Anne D.

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  25. I too am looking for a substitute for the almond meal flour. Any suggestions?

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Thanks, and as always, Happy Cooking! Ali & Tom