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Be Happy and Eat Peaches

It’s been one of those days, y’all. The kind where you come home with two metaphorical black eyes. Ya know, because you’ve been beating yourself up again. That’s right, things just got real. You do it, too, don’t you? I can’t be alone in this. You can tell me the truth. I won’t judge you if you won’t judge me. This is a judgement-free zone. Scout’s honor.

It’s scary to realize that you’re 26, going on 27, and you’re still not quite sure what life will look like for you. It’s scary when you look around and see other people the same age (or worse, younger) who have it all figured out. Here’s a question for you: do you ever want something that’s all yours? Something that nobody else has? It probably sounds a little petty and a lot selfish, but I’ve always wanted to do something that nobody else could. I wanted something that I could call my own. I wanted to be original. I still want that.

What I really wanted was to be the best at something. I wanted to be the best pastry chef, but there are about a million pastry chefs out there who outshine me by about a million percent. I wanted to be the best writer, but my words fail me more often than not and so I settle for a blog instead of a book deal. I guess in a world where original doesn’t really exist, all you can hope for is besting the others in the same field. But when you don’t best them, when your best falls short of theirs, well that’s when the gloves come off. That’s when the worst part of me begins to throw punches and the only real winner is the lucky recipient of the baked goods that come courtesy of an impromptu baking-therapy session.

Baking therapy, guys. It works. You should try it. It’s one of the (most-used) tools in my bag of get-happy-quick tricks. Its friends include a warm glass of chai tea with milk and sugar, a $4 bunch of daisies from HEB, a diet coke from Sonic (preferably during happy hour), and a drive through the hill country with BBMak. You heard me. BBMak. Circa 1999. I’m unashamed. This might be a good time to remind you of the “no judgement” rule.

this gem of an album has been in my c.d. player for a solid three years now.

Today we’re baking with peaches. Because if we can’t BE the best, we can at least bake with the best. And peaches are definitely the best thing summer has to offer. The best smells and the best tastes and the best colors. We’re taking all of those things and putting them into the best muffins. And what does one do to a muffin to make the best even better? Top it with a brown-sugar-walnut streusel, of course. I want us to do two things today. Will you do these two things with me? I want us to eat these muffins and I want us to be happy with who we are. Because who we are, who you are and who I am, well that’s exactly who we’re supposed to be. Let’s be happy with that. Be happy and eat peaches. That’s my advice to you and to me. And I’d like it engraved on my tombstone.

Ingredients

Muffin Batter:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, pitted, chopped peaches

Brown-Sugar-Walnut Streusel

  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 large or 18 regular sized muffin cups with paper liners, and spray the top of the pan lightly with nonstick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, from flour to salt, and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, butter, sour cream, and vanilla.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture. Mix until just incorporated, being careful to not overmix.
  5. Fold in the peaches.
  6. In a separate bowl combine first four streusel ingredients and mix. Rub in the softened butter with pastry cutter or fingers until it feels like coarse meal or pea-sized chunks form.
  7. Fill muffin liners almost to the top with batter (this way you’ll get big, beautiful muffin tops) using an ice-cream scoop. Liberally sprinkle with the brown-sugar-walnut streusel and press lightly so that it sticks to the batter.
  8. Bake 35 – 40 minutes, until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes clean. Remove from the oven, and cool for 5 minutes. Turn the muffins out of the pan, and serve immediately.

check out that streusel action.

These taste like a really lovely summer morning. A beautifully light moment on a sun-dappled porch before the triple digits hit. An old wooden swing where you can remember that life is not about achievements or money or a five year plan, but about people and belly laughs and really good muffins. It’s my happy place. Join me there.

xoxo,

Mindy

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