Cornmeal Muffins with Peaches

The Recipe: Barely sweet, pretty muffins with great texture, thanks to the natural sweetness of fresh summer peaches plus the structure of cornmeal. Mix the muffins with a whisk, no mixer required!

The Conversation: Strange Fruit, the music of a tragic period in our country's history.

Cornmeal Muffins with Peaches ♥ KitchenParade.com

STRANGE FRUIT Something that until now, only iTunes knows about me: for a good 15 years, I've collected a personal playlist of the many haunting renditions of Billie Holiday's iconic song, "Strange Fruit."

An odd thing to bring up with a recipe? Perhaps. Well, okay, YES. But there I was last week comfortably settled into my "Friday office" at Starbucks, iced coffee in hand and intent on putting pencil to pixel for this summer muffin recipe, moving it from my scribbles to your breakfast table.

But then? Google's homepage stopped me in my tracks. I didn't know about the Silent Parade, did you? It happened 100 years ago, African Americans marching in silence to protest lynching in America. And down that rabbit hole of painful history I went. For the record, it's a story worth investing time and thought and action.

Because What's Old is New. In 2017, my husband and I live just sixteen miles from Ferguson, yes, that Ferguson. But in many ways, Ferguson is as much a world away as the proverbial Timbuktu. But in others, Ferguson and our history of American lynching and American policing affects us all, every day, across the entire country.

Strange Fruit is my private way to stay focused, aware and engaged in social justice.

CURIOUS? MORE ABOUT THE MUSIC Strange Fruit was written by a Jewish musician, his story is fascinating, The Strange Story of the Man Behind Strange Fruit on NPR. NPR has also collected its own song favorites in Evolution of a Song: Strange Fruit. Are you on Spotify? I'm a definite newbie there but just managed to create my first public playlist, Strange Fruit by AK, you can find it via my username, alannakellogg. I also recommend The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson which explores the Great Migration, the wholesale movement by African Americans from the south to the north during the first half of the 20th century. It's a compelling read.

Cornmeal Muffins with Peaches ♥ KitchenParade.com

PEACHES, NO STRANGE FRUIT FOR SUMMER

But for summer, peaches are no strange fruit. Instead we look forward to and welcome their company! Missouri and Illinois local peaches are wonderful this year but the word is that peaches are in short supply across the country, thanks to a long stretch of winter weather followed by a spring freeze in southern peach country.

If you have plenty of peaches in your area? Savor each one!

I've made these muffins several times in the last couple of years. They're so moist and fruity, definitely a recipe to put on repeat during peach season. You just have to remember to stir in the chopped peaches, oops, once I actually forgot!

Cornmeal Muffins with Peaches ♥ KitchenParade.com

You'll Like My Cornmeal Muffins with Peaches If ...

... you work fresh summer fruit into most everything that hits your table
... you don't wanna drag out a mixer just to make muffins
... you get that "morning muffins" are definitely not cupcakes, less sweet for starters, more sturdy for, um, enders
... you rely on simple pantry ingredients for everyday baking
... you've got just one last lonely ripe peach that needs using up


CORNMEAL MUFFINS with PEACHES

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes 12 regular-size muffins

    WET INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 112g) salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (222g) buttermilk, well-shaken
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon (yes, tablespoon!) vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

    DRY INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125g
  • 1 cup (170g) finely ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

    COMBINE
  • 1 large ripe peach, cut into 12 small wedges first, then chopped

PREP Heat oven to 400F/200C. Spray a muffin pan well with baking spray.

WET INGREDIENTS In a large mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter and buttermilk (this cools down the butter so not to cook the egg), then whisk in the egg, vanilla and almond extract.

DRY INGREDIENTS In a smaller bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, once the cinnamon and nutmeg are evenly distributed (eyeball this!), it's enough.

COMBINE WET & DRY & CHOPPED PEACHES With a spatula, gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, it's fine for a few streaks of flour to remain visible. Gently stir in the chopped peaches.

GARNISH With a large cookie scoop or two spoons (one to scoop, the other to scrape), evenly distribute the muffin batter in the muffin cups. Top each muffin with a wedge of fresh peach.

BAKE for 20 to 25 minutes, check them at 15 minutes. Let cool on a baking rack for 5 minutes, then gently remove the muffins and continue to let cool. Serve warm or cool.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS Best the same day but still good on Day Two or Three. Do refrigerate the muffins to keep more than a day but warm to room temperature before serving.

VARIATIONS Apple, anyone? Or mango? Or hmmm, fresh pineapple? These muffins are very adaptable, I think!

ALANNA's TIPS For muffins, I prefer to use a finely ground cornmeal. It can be stone-ground but must still be finely ground, something I just don't see. I suppose you could put a medium-grind or another rougher grind into a food processor but I'm happy to keep a tub of the more processed but useful "yellow cornmeal" from the grocery store. Medium grind "works" but makes for muffins with a grittier texture. A little short on cornmeal? No problem. I once made these with only 75% of the cornmeal. A full peach slice is too big for regular-size muffins, so cut the wedges to match the width of the muffins. So pretty, those wedges!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Muffin: 216 Calories; 8g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 39mg Cholesterol; 281mg Sodium; 30g Carb; 1g Fiber; 11g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 6 & SmartPoints 9 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = half muffin (2g protein).

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