Let’s celebrate jam.
It will come as no surprise to you that I’m a jam lover. I think this all started back when I worked at a summer camp in Washington after my freshman year of college. It was there that all of us Southerners were introduced to marionberry jam. And it was the best. And that’s why we all went home 15 pounds heavier.
But even when I was a kid, I used to put jam on weird things. My mom would make this Italian bread in the bread machine every now and then, and even though it was herby and Italian, I would slather it with grape jelly. And there’s a chance I did that the last time we visited my parents. Because I am a fancy woman with wonderful adult tastes.
I mentioned in my last post that I happen to have a friend who makes incredible jam. We were living on that stuff while we were in Eugene, but now that we’ve moved to Portland, my collection of Jenny’s jams is limited. But I got to bring home an almost full jar of peach jam from the beach last week, which is basically a dream come true. Jenny’s jams are awesome because they are low in sugar, so you can really taste that magical summer fruit. Yum, yum, yum. But that also means that you have to eat the whole jar relatively quickly to keep it from spoiling.
So, rather than eating pb&j every day this week, I opted to bake some of that magical peach jam into muffins. I basically took my favorite banana muffin recipe and made a couple of changes to create the perfect host for a peach jam swirl.
These muffins are made with whole wheat pastry flour, which keeps them delightfully fluffy. They are naturally sweetened with a combination of maple syrup and honey, which was kind of a happy accident because I didn’t have enough maple syrup the first go-around. But I ended up loving the taste of the combination, so I did the same thing when I made them again. (Did I mention we’ve eaten 17 of these muffins in the last 5 days?) Obviously, you can do whatever you like. Full maple? Full honey? You do you. Then there are the chopped up dates, which add a little burst of sweetness and total glory to this pretty darn wholesome snack.
And then there’s the peach jam. Personally, I believe peach and banana go together like two yellow-ish fruits in a pod. That’s why they rock in a smoothie, and that’s why they rock in a muffin. But you can use whatever flavor of jam you have on hand. I bet raspberry would be lovely. Or blueberry. Or marionberry. Okay, anything would be great because bananas are the blue jeans of the baking world. Anything goes.
Whatever you choose, be generous with your jam. Drop it on top of each muffin in the pan and use a knife to swirl it around. I also attempted using a pastry bag filled with jam, piping and swirling it into the batter at the same time. It tasted the same as when I just used a knife, so pick whatever is easier for you.
Throw yourself a little jamboree and snack on these bad boys all day long. And enjoy the heavenly smell that will fill your entire home, unless you live in something bigger than 600-square feet, in which case I do not understand your life and cannot guarantee how far the magic muffin smell will travel.
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅔ cup skim milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup honey
- 5 dates, pitted and chopped
- 4 big spoonfuls peach jam (try to find a low sugar variety)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 12 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, stir together mashed bananas, extra-virgin olive oil, milk, vanilla, maple syrup, and honey.
- Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until well-combined. Stir in the chopped dates.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Drop a dollop of peach jam on top of each muffin, and use a knife to swirl it into the batter.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean.