In cartoons there are often those scenes in which a character has the company of a devil and an angel, one on each shoulder. Comedy often ensues when the devil and angel both try to exert power over the individual, each pulling in favor of his or her recommendations. Lately I’ve been feeling a similar pull of diametrically opposed forces; only mine are the muses of summer and fall, each trying to guide what I make in my kitchen. Summer claims that at least until Labor Day my kitchen is hers. In my ear she whispers suggestions of sweet heirloom tomato salads drizzled with balsamic and olive oil, stone fruit tarts, and pucker-inducing mojitos. Fall, on the other hand, feels that the wind is blowing in her direction. Brown leaves have already fallen around the dog park, releasing their musty aroma every time I crunch over them; the air is cool and crisp. She muses that perhaps I should move on to mulled cider, aromatic with spices and stomach-filling stews dotted with root vegetables or dried fruits. I will admit my mind has already moved on to fall. I’m craving curling up beneath the duvet with a good cookbook and a cup of tea while a roast slowly cooks away in the kitchen. However, with so much gorgeous fruit still popping up in my CSA share it seemed a shame not to throw summer a last bone.
Plump blueberries, juicy peaches, and unseasonably cool weather all added up to a call for a baked good. And muffins, being one of my favorite things to make, immediately came to mind. This recipe is a variation on the King Arthur Flour Baking Companion base muffin recipe that I use quite frequently. In this case an equal mix of blueberries and peach chunks are thrown into the mix. I love the pucker of the berries against the subtle sweetness of the peaches. They taste like the farmer’s market in quick bread form. I like these simply adorned with a sprinkle of raw sugar for crunch and added sweetness, but I bet these would also be amazing with a strudel topping or a generous dollop of cream cheese frosting. I know the last sounds a bit over the top, but let’s face it, a good muffin is just a cupcake in breakfast clothing anyway.
Adapted from King Arthur Baking Companion
Yields 16 muffins
-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or cake flour, divided
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon salt
-8 tablespoons butter
-1 cup sugar
-3 large eggs
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1 cup sour cream
-1 1/2 cups chopped peaches
-1 1/2 cups blueberries
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease 16 muffin cups or use paper liners.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together 3 1/4 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with a handheld or stand mixer until light and fluffy and almost white in color. Scrape down the bowl to make sure all the butter is incorporated, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until the batter is smooth.
Toss blueberries and peaches together in remaining flour and gently fold mixture into the batter.
Fill muffin cups and bake for 18-24 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove them from the oven, cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan to finish cooling on a rack. (Muffins left in the pan to cool will become tough from steaming.)
As an aside, thank you for all of the words of encouragement about Thursday. I appreciated all the suggestions on how to calm my nerves. In the end I just settled on putting on some of my favorite Jonathan Coulton tunes (very funny if you haven’t heard him…perfect for beating tension) and brewed some almond tea.