What makes you feel rich? Ok, well, money would work for us all; I know. But for each of us there’s a little something or a big something (maybe more than one) that creates enough comfort in our heart to make us sigh and feel as though we need nothing more at all. Could be that once in a blue moon moment when all the wash is done and folded or perhaps after the fall garden cleanup is completed and the tulip bulbs are planted. A night after a long work project ends successfully. Close friends coming to stay for a few days. The day your afghan (or toychest) is finished, washed, and mailed. A night alone with your favorite movie of all time. (Mine is: “It Happened One Night.” That or “Michael.”) A lunchtime when the whole family is together. Might also be a full freezer. Walking a 5K; you’ll note that doesn’t say run. A case of canned tomatoes stored away for winter spaghetti sauce. For me, it’s also when there’s a slow cooker full of lusciousness bubbling all day long, promising an all-you-can-eat dinner and giving me a free day. (Hello, sleazy novel!) I feel even richer if I’ve time to bake a little something to go alongside that happy pot of goodness. A bread, simple or not, made especially to go with one particular meal. That’s really rich. This week’s jalapeño-studded peach cornmeal muffins are just such a bread. Even more so as they’re not your typical muffin. With their sweet-savory profile, they’re kind of on the special side despite their easy preparation and basically simple nature. If you’re on your toes, they’re made and baked and on the table in under 45 minutes, including preheating the oven — a must for big, round-domed muffins.
When our children were young and money was pretty tight, our meals stretched lots. We all remember such days when a little leftover meat became the basis for the next day’s pot pie or when pancakes didn’t always have a side of bacon or real maple syrup but applesauce instead. Those were the times I learned to bake a fresh loaf of bread or a pan of muffins or rolls to fill out that table and fill up those tummies. There were rarely leftovers. Now when I get out the flour and the mixing bowl of an evening, it’s because it’s a treat and makes us feel special–especially when dinner’s in the slow cooker and I’ve little else to do, having tired of the sleazy novel and given up on the laundry. There are always leftovers these days. And that’s ok. Tomorrow’s another day.
Want to make peaches and sour cream muffins in the middle of the winter? Chop the peaches for one batch, drizzle with and mix in a little lemon juice, and store them in a freezer baggie for when you need them. Of course, right now –with beautiful peaches in the store– is also a good time to try this:
Peaches and Sour Cream Corn Muffin
- Shortening or softened butter for greasing muffin tin
- ¼ cup (2 oz/56 grams) salted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup (6 oz/150 grams) sour cream
- ¼ cup (2 oz/57 grams) milk
- ½ cup ( 4 oz/107 grams) brown sugar
- 1 cup (120 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (117 grams) yellow cornmeal (I like Quaker brand)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch salt
- 1 large peach, peeled, pitted, and cut into small dice (about ¾ cup)
- 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño or more to taste-about ½ a typical pepper
- 1 cup grated whole milk mozzarella cheese-regular—not fresh. Can sub part-skim mozzarella.
- PREPARATION: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and set rack at center. Grease the cups of a muffin tin well, including around the top edges, or line with cupcake papers if you prefer. (I think muffins are better without papers as they bake with a crispier crust.)
- MIX TOGETHER THE WET INGREDIENTS: In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the cooled butter, eggs, sour cream, milk, and brown sugar. Set aside.
- MIX TOGETHER THE DRY INGREDIENTS: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- STIR TOGETHER THE WET AND DRY INGREDIENTS; ADD PEACHES + JALAPEÑO: Pour the wet ingredients (sour cream mixture) into the dry ingredients (flour mixture), along with the peaches and jalapeño. Stir until just combined.
- USING A SPRAYED LARGE SCOOP, divide the batter evenly into the greased muffin cups. Top each with some mozzarella cheese – about a tablespoon each.
- BAKE FOR 14-16 MINUTES OR UNTIL GOLDEN BROWN and a toothpick inserted at center comes out clean or nearly clean. Set tin on cooling rack for 5 minutes. Bang pan firmly on the counter and flip to turn muffins out. Alternately, use a small off-set spatula or a small, thin knife to lift muffins out of the cups. Serve warm with butter. Cool, place in a large freezer bag and store a day or two at room temperature. To reheat: Slice in half, butter, and warm well in grill pan or skillet. Freeze for up to two months.
Note: original recipe posted missing 1/2 cup brown sugar. Corrected 10/10.
No sour cream at your house? Sub a cup of buttermilk (or milk with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice) for the sour cream AND milk.
If you haven’t done it lately, early fall–before holiday baking starts– is a good time to take your oven’s temperature. Make sure you know how long it takes your oven to preheat as it may be longer than you think. A well-preheated oven is crucial for small baked goods in particular. My oven takes nearly 30 minutes to preheat. It’s a gas oven but some electric ovens, too, take quite a while.
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LIFE GOES ON:
Talk about really being rich….
Above: Having lunch with one of your kids fills that bill. Here we are in Castle Rock, Colorado sharing lunch with our youngest, Emily, last Monday. Guessing we’ll go back to this new Texas Mexican favorite, La Loma. Was there a margarita involved? Yes–my first of the summer.
Thanks for keeping me company in my kitchen.
Bake some muffins, why don’t you?