Friday, May 22, 2009

I Really Like Your Peaches

Desperate to bake, but not wanting to repeat the 72 Cupcake Salute, I looked at the bundle of unrelated ingredients I had sitting around in my pantry and decided I could probably end up with muffins if I played my cards right. I noticed I had an abnormally large stash of Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal from Trader Joe's. I also had a gigantic unopened jar of peaches in white grape juice, also from TJ's - I think I had planned to use these in conjunction with Italian Buttercream on a cake, but the buttercream went wacky (which is a horror story for another gloomy evening), and so the peaches stayed in the cabinet. I had milk that was about to go bad, an opened bag of whole wheat flour that I didn't have any plans for, and half a jar of wheat germ.

Now, in my family, wheat germ is not a substance we allow in the kitchen under most circumstances. I understand the health benefits, but my mother once attempted to include it in pizza dough, which resulted in a consistency that was somewhere between particle board and backhoe tires. Even the dog was unable to eat it. This unfortunate turn of events has come to be known simply as "The Wheat Germ Incident".

Why did I have it in MY kitchen? I attempted to make dog and cat treats this past holiday season. Neither turned out terribly well, but it was a (smelly) learning experience and it left me with some interesting leftover ingredients, namely the wheat germ and brewer's yeast.

After searching the interwebs for an instant oatmeal muffin recipe, I found one that looked alright and made some modifications. I swapped the white flour for whole wheat, the white sugar for turbinado, tossed in about 1/4 cup of wheat germ, added a pinch more baking powder. I also used exclusively cinnamon, and I omitted the allspice and the sugar "topping" recommended. With the addition of the whole wheat flour and the wheat germ, I anticipated I might have a moisture issue, so I broke out the peaches, quartered the halves, and shoved one peach chunk into each batter-filled muffin cup prior to baking. Baked at 400 degrees for over 15 minutes (read: I didn't hear the timer go off), and then let them cool. Outside of a slightly over-toasty bottom, they came out fabulous! Hubby & I each ate 3! No butter needed! Next time I would definitely monitor the baking time, possibly lowering to 375, and or sticking a cookie sheet under the muffin pan to disperse the heat evenly.

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