Peaches and cream is a simple dessert that consists of the two elements in its name: peaches and cream, usually whipped cream. The rich cream is a nice contrast to the juicy, flavorful fruit. These two elements combine so well that “peaches n’ cream” is now a flavor that most of us are familiar with, and it can be found anywhere from hard candies to ice cream. These Peaches n’ Cream Muffins bring this flavor combination to breakfast, in muffins that capture both peach and cream elements quite nicely.
The muffins are made with a tender cream cheese batter that has a generous dose of vanilla and a hint of cheesecake to it. The batter is thick enough to hold up a generous serving of diced, fresh peaches, so you get peaches n’ cream in every bite of the finished muffin – not just at the bottom. I used fresh peaches that I picked up at the local farmers’ market. They should be just firm enough to peel with a vegetable peeler (overripe peaches may make these muffins soggy), so they can easily be diced up and stirred into the batter. During baking, even a slightly firm peach will tenderize and become sweeter. If you happen to have nectarines in your kitchen, you can subsitute them into this muffin recipe in place of the peaches. Nectarines are often even sweeter than peaches, and since their skin is not fuzzy and a bit thinner than peach skin, you don’t even need to peel them before dicing them up. I diced my peaches up in less than 1/2-inch cubes.
The muffins are not too sweet, but have a nice balance of cream cheese and vanilla to them that shows off the peaches well. They’re tender and moist, and they’ll stay that way for at least a day or two after baking. This is one instance where you don’t need to pack the muffins in a completely airtight container, since the juice from the peaches can actually make them soggy when they are closed up. You can leave the on the counter, loosely covered, or in a vented container if you don’t eat them all right away.
Peaches n’ Cream Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups diced peaches (approx 2 medium)
coarse sugar, for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk, then stir in the remaining flour mixture until no streaks of dry ingredients remain and everything is just combined. Fold in peaches. The batter will be fairly thick.
Divide batter evenly into muffin cups, piling it above the top of the pan to use all the batter (this will make for more dramatic muffin tops). Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 12 muffins