Peach Crumb Muffins with a tender, coffee cake-like crumb, sweet peach chunks, a swirl of homemade peach preserves, and a buttery streusel topping.
I woke up this morning with a serious case of the Mondays. Let’s just say that my body might’ve made the trip back up the Parkway after my mini-vacation last week, but my mind is still lounging on the beach! Stone Harbor was wonderful and the weather was ideal. I had a great time shopping, kayaking and paddle boarding on the bay (the latter a first for me and a lot of fun), and dining alfresco with beautiful views of the water. I’m still dreaming about these cream-filled doughnuts from Maryanne’s Pastry Shoppe (breakfast of champs!), and this fantastic guacamole from the waterfront cantina at my hotel. It was the perfect way to recharge and wrap up a busy summer. Before I left, I made a batch of Peach Crumb Muffins to share with you upon my return. With a tender, coffee cake-like crumb, sweet peach chunks, a swirl of homemade peach preserves, and a buttery streusel topping, these muffins are a great way to bring some of summer’s best fruit to your breakfast or brunch table.
Peach Crumb Muffins and I haven’t always been the best of friends. In fact, if we were a couple on Facebook, we’d qualify for the “It’s Complicated” relationship status. While I love the concept of peach muffins, I hate the execution. The problem with fresh peaches is that the delicious, sweet juices we look for as a marker of a “good” peach tend to turn the cake portion of a muffin into a soggy mess. As a result, every peach muffin I’ve ever made with a decent proportion of peaches turned into a lead sinker shortly after cooling. Some recipes attempt to rectify this by reducing the amount of fruit, but I found that these didn’t have enough peach flavor to call themselves “peach” muffins. I made Peach Crumb Muffins four times last summer hoping to find a recipe to share on here, and couldn’t recommend any of the batches that came out of my oven. It was a sad summer for muffin baking in this house, and I was starting to take it personally!
By the time Summer 2015 rolled around, I’d pretty much thrown in the towel on the concept of peach muffins (so defeatist of me!) until I remembered a Cooks Illustrated recipe for Blueberry Muffins that I made in the past and loved. In the CI recipe, half of the blueberries are cooked down into a preserve-like texture and swirled into the batter before baking. This intensifies the fruit flavor in the baked muffin without adding extra, unneeded moisture. With a few peaches still left from my trip to the farm after making Peach Mint Lemonade, I wondered if the concept behind the Blueberry Muffins might work with peaches, too. I decided to go for it, and we loved them. The muffins were not soggy at all (both on the first and second days after gentle rewarming; unheard of in my past trials). The peach flavor was fresh and prominent, both from the diced peaches folded into the batter and the swirl of preserves (which don’t take a lot of extra time to prepare and, in our opinion, are totally worth the effort for the extra fruit flavor).
Even with these peach muffins, it’s important to use ripe, but not overripe fruit, particularly for the chunks that will be stirred into the batter uncooked. Peaches should be fragrant and ripe, but still firm, with just a little give upon pressing. Overripe, drip-juice-down-your-chin peaches are delicious, but they will turn these muffins just as soggy as any other, making the extra step of making the preserves for naught. Serve these just slightly warm for the best flavor and savor summer mornings just a little bit longer as we head into the first week of September!
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Peach Crumb Muffins
These muffins are best enjoyed the day they are baked, but once cooled, can be wrapped and stored at room temperature for up to three days and gently rewarmed.
Inspired by Cooks Illustrated's "Best Blueberry Muffins" May, 2009
Preserves and Muffins
- 2 cups peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 teaspoon additional for preserves
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, firmly-packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Make the peach preserves
Place 1 cup diced peaches and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, stirring and mashing the peach chunks with a wooden spoon as they cook, until fruit is relatively smooth and reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Make the streusel topping
In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Cut butter into sugar mixture with a pastry blender, two knives, a fork, or your fingertips until coarse crumbs form. Set aside.
Make the muffins
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a standard muffin pan (12 muffins).
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and eggs until thick, pale, and glossy. Whisk in cooled melted butter and oil until combined, followed by buttermilk and extracts. Gently fold wet ingredients and remaining 1 cup of diced peaches into the flour mixture just until combined. For a tender crumb, don't over-mix, a few dry streaks of flour are ok.
Divide batter into the prepared pan, filling wells almost to the top for large, bakery-style muffins.** Place 1 teaspoon of peach preserves into the middle of each well and gently swirl into the batter with a toothpick. Top each muffin with a few tablespoons of streusel topping.
Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the muffins is clean, with just a few moist crumbs, 17-19 minutes. Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes, then use two forks to gently lift muffins onto a wire rack until ready to serve.
*I like a goodly amount of streusel topping on my Peach Crumb Muffins. If you enjoy less, the streusel can be halved, or any leftover streusel can be frozen in a zip-top bag for up to a month to use in another batch of muffins.
**Since, as per the original recipe, the wells are filled almost to the top with batter, they will crown as baking. Depending on the layout of your muffin pan (I love and use this one almost exclusively), the tops might run into each other a little bit, as they did in the photo above. If this happens, gently separate them with a knife when they come out of the oven. They will still be delicious!