There's nothing like a hot, steaming muffin and a cup of tea to get us out of bed in the morning. Muffins are portable and endlessly flexible; nearly any quick bread or cupcake recipe can be made into a muffin. They can be sweet, nutty, refined, or whole grain.
These muffins were born out of our love of tea - especially tea with citrus and spices - and a packet of dried peaches. More pictures and recipe below...
These muffins have a floral, delicate flavor that comes from over-steeping the milk with black spice tea. We also added a couple teaspoons of ground tea leaves to up the herbal flavor even more. Then we softened dried white peaches from Trader Joe's and added them in too.
The result is an incredibly tender muffin - just the kind of soft, steamy, break-apart morning muffin we craved. The peaches keep their shape during baking and they're like a small bite of summer.
Pretty much any black tea will do, as long as it's loose leaf and strong. We used a spiced black tea with hints of citrus (Christmas Tea - on sale at IKEA!) and the flavor infuses the whole muffin.
Here are photos of the muffin process. Muffins are so easy - they're a good first step into baking. No mixers or fancy equipment involved.
Click each photo to see a larger version.
• Souffle cups ready for batter - no muffin tins needed. Also, the size of our chopped peach pieces.
• A tablespoon in each cup.
• Muffins baking and cooling.
Peach and Spice Tea Muffins
about 18 muffins
1 heaping tablespoon loose leaf tea
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped dried peaches OR fresh peaches
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons loose leaf tea, crushed fine in a processor or with a mortar and pestle (optional)
1/2 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Heat the oven to 400°F. Prepare two muffin pans with liners or just set out 18 souffle cups like we did.
Boil a kettle of water. Pour 1/4 cup of boiling water over the tea leaves in a small saucepan. Let them steep for three minutes, then add the milk and simmer for about 10 minutes. If using dried peaches, pour more boiling water over the peaches and let them soften while the tea is steeping.
Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients, including the crushed tea leaves. In a separate bowl beat the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla and lemon zest. Take the tea milk off the heat and strain. Mix the milk in with the other wet ingredients. Then drain off all the water from the peaches; they should be very soft and spongy. Mix them into the wet ingredients.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together just until combined. Using a big tablespoon (the utensil, not the measuring spoon) drop heaping spoonfuls into the muffin cups. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes then lower the heat to 325°F and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
Let cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before eating.
(Images: Faith Hopler)