While this year’s peach crop isn’t as prolific as in years’ past, there are still plenty of these fuzzy beauties to be found at your favorite farmers market. Not hit as seriously as the fruit crops were three years ago when warm March temperatures were followed by a hard freeze and snow, peaches are widely available and the farmers I’ve spoken with say we are lucky to have them. There are Red Haven, Starfire and Cresthaven just to name a few of the melting flesh varieties (which can be clingstone or freestone and have flesh that become soft over time when canned and tend to have ragged edges when sliced during processing.) and honestly, I haven’t bitten into a single one that wasn’t so juicy and flavorful that I had to make little sounds while eating.

There’s nothing like a fresh peach, to be sure, but after I’ve pigged out on a bowl of fresh peaches, I begin using them in baked goods to my heart’s delight and waistline’s woe. Peaches are one of my favorite fruits. They have modest calories, are a good source of potassium, vitamins A & C, low in sodium and no saturated fat. That makes them a healthful snack and a smart, low calorie way to end a meal — unless, of course you add flour, butter and sugar.

But because I mostly enjoy them fresh, I figure that gives me license to chop them up from time to time and make these muffins. These are wonderful served slightly warm with fresh butter for breakfast and I’ve been known to sneak one for a snack occasionally.

Fresh Peach Streusel Muffins

2 cups finely chopped fresh or frozen peaches

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

2 eggs

4 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup ground pecans

1/4teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons cold butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly Grease 24 (2 3/4-inch by 1 3/8-inch) muffin cups.

Place the peaches in a bowl and cover with 1/2 cup of the sugar. Mix thoroughly. Allow the peaches to sit for 1 hour.

Using an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and remaining 3/4 cup of sugar until smooth and pale in color, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. In a mixing bowl, combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour, baking powder, and salt. Remove the bowl from the mixer and alternately fold in the milk and flour mixture, being careful not to over mix. Fold in the peaches. Spoon 1/4 cup of the filling into each prepared muffin cup. In a small bowl, combine the remaining flour, oats, brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add the butter. Using your hands, mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumb like mixture. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the crumb mixture over each muffin cup. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with butter. Makes 2 dozen.

Per serving: 201 calories; 8 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 34 percent calories from fat); 32 g carbohydrates; 15 g sugar; 32 mg cholesterol; 237 mg sodium; 4 g protein; 1 g fiber.

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