Sugar-Free (or Not) Peach and Vanilla Muffins

by on August 20, 2009
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Sugar-Free Peach and Vanilla Muffins

I’m one of those people who can’t keep baked goods in the house. I mean this in two ways. If there are baked goods in the house, they’re not around for long because I eat them, maybe not in one sitting, but quickly and compulsively, snatching them straight from the oven to “test” them and then testing them again and again “to find out what temperature they taste best at.” (I mean, I need to know that, right? So that I can tell you? That’s my rationalization and I’m sticking to it!)

So I’ve come to realize that I can’t keep baked goods in the house–meaning, it’s better if I do not allow them through the door in the first place. This policy saves me some calories but leaves my husband and daughter feeling so deprived that they’re ready to pounce on anything containing flour and sugar like a pair of starving jackals. To appease them, I sometimes give in and bake something relatively healthy and small, and muffins fill the bill. They’re lower in sugar than cupcakes and taste great made with whole grains, but perhaps most importantly, they’re easy to divide: one muffin is one muffin, whereas one slice of cake can mean anything from a sliver you can practically see through to a chunk the size of a toaster. In a family of muffin-hungry predators, it’s best to have something that I can divide quickly into equal portions and get my fingers out of harm’s way.

Sugar-Free Peach and Vanilla Muffins

With my family clamoring for muffins (it’s been a while) I finally broke down and made a batch. I found some of the most delicious organic white peaches at the local health food store and thought that their sweet perfumey taste would go well with the floral flavor of vanilla. So, to get a double-dose of vanilla, I scraped the seeds from one Bourbon vanilla bean and added some pure vanilla extract into the batter. The combination of rosy-peach and vanilla was just intoxicating.

Since I am trying to cut down on sugar, I tried something new. A few weeks ago, a company called NuNaturals sent me several of their stevia products. Normally I don’t take products for review, but because I’m always trying new brands of stevia to see if I find something I like better than KAL, I decided to give NN a try. I’m happy to report that I liked NN’s Pure White Stevia Extract as much as KAL in my morning coffee and would buy it if it were less expensive. The product I was most interested in was their Stevia Baking Blend, a stevia-fiber formula that the package said could be used as a direct replacement for sugar. Since I’ve always found cooking with stevia to be tricky, I hoped that this product might end the guesswork of converting regular recipes to sugar-free. And it did–with one drawback. I found the fiber taste to be overpowering when used in a recipe that already included whole wheat flour. My family still scarfed the muffins down (E with a drizzle of agave nectar), but I thought the fiber taste took away from the peach-vanilla euphoria I was going for. I think that if you’re diabetic or unable to eat sugar for other reasons, this is a great product, but for myself, on those rare occasions that I bake, I will be using the real thing.

Sugar-Free Peach and Vanilla Muffins

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

1 nick August 20, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I've never understood why people use the term "sugar free" for items like this. Agave is still a sugar that you are adding. I suppose that most people use this label when referring to refined white sugar? That's the only thing that I can conclude.
Regardless of which, this looks like a great recipe. Great stuff!

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2 VeggieGirl August 20, 2009 at 2:48 pm

If you don't want baked goods in your house, feel free to send them over to mine!! :-D

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3 dragonfly pie August 20, 2009 at 2:49 pm

"If there are baked goods in the house, they're not around for long because I eat them, maybe not in one sitting, but quickly and compulsively"

Ahh, I gotcha. Last night I made dumplings in blueberry sauce for myself and my husband–he ended up not eating much of his and for no other reason than "I have to!", I ate his.

Additionally, the topping on those muffins looks delicious!

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4 vegan.in.brighton August 20, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Those muffins look delicious, I'll have to give them a go soon.

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5 Joelle August 20, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Those look SO good! I should make some. I love those silicone muffin liners! I'd never heard of them before. Guess I'll have to find some.

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6 Elaine August 20, 2009 at 3:56 pm

These sound amazing! My co-op has white peaches and nectarines now, will have to give this a try. Thanks for the info about the NN. I have not tried stevia yet as have heard so many different opinions, so have been using the Splenda for baking and so far have had good luck with it.

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7 renee @ FIMBY August 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm

As a long time reader, from way back before there was a blog, I appreciate your honesty about reviewing the stevia product. I too keep a mostly baked goods free home but every once in awhile the family appreciates a treat from the oven. I try to use more natural sugars but really it's all sugar in the end. Oh well. We don't eat it very often.

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8 HaikuTofu August 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm

what's the word on beet sugar? I use cane sugar when I bake, but I bought a blood orange soda sweetened with beet sugar and it was pretty good.

have you ever used beet sugar for baking? Thanks

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9 SusanV August 20, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Nick, the agave is just there to draw out the juices of the peaches and contributes less than a gram of sugar per muffin. You can leave it out if you like.

VeggieGirl, I'd send them if my family didn't get to them first!

HaikuTofu, I'm not able to get beet sugar here, but in some parts of the country, it's what's sold as regular sugar so no special treatment is required. From what I hear, beet sugar is produced using no animal products in the filtering, so it is considered vegan.

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10 shelby August 20, 2009 at 5:43 pm

I love muffins! I always immediately freeze the leftovers so I don't go overboard. I know it is to eat more than 2 (or three) muffins in one sitting!

I actually just got that baking blend of stevia! Maybe I'll make your recipe soon!

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11 Paul August 20, 2009 at 6:37 pm

I love muffins! I am going to make these tomorrow (to share). Thanks Susan!

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12 Meg's Gut August 20, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Wow, these look great and definitely seem friendly for my food restrictions. I am going to try these out!

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13 Eatiing Raw Foods Info August 20, 2009 at 9:19 pm

These muffins sound so good! I assume the baking stevia is less sweet than the other stevia? Because I know with the other, a little bit is SO sweet.

I love the pink and blue muffin cups too:-)

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14 Josiane August 20, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Finding a live worm in a peach years ago had the unfortunate result of making peaches be slightly off-putting to me. However, I feel that this is the recipe that will reconcile me with those delicious fruits! Yay! Thank you, Susan.

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15 moonwatcher August 20, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Hi Susan,

These look absolutely delicious. You had me laughing at taste testing to see what temperature they taste best at. . .I can find myself eating more than one muffin if I go there, too. . and what a great rationalization it is!! Anyway, thanks for the wonderful seasonal recipe. I look forward to trying it when it's cool enough for baking again here-gluten free, of course. But all your muffin recipes have translated so nicely with the homemade mixes I come up with I don't see why this one wouldn't as well. . or maybe I'll make it with pears, since they go good with vanilla,too, and I am going to have a ton of them ripening within the month. . .

xo

moonwatcher

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16 Anna August 31, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Did you try making these with pears? How’d they turn out?

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17 Vegetation August 21, 2009 at 12:33 am

Mmmm I am a muffin addict! They're so easy to grab and like you, they're portion controlled (well kind of :P) and I love that you can make them mostly healthy.

These one's look fantastic and I recently found a sugar/stevia blend in my supermarket I've been wanting to try and these might just fit the bill for the experiment!

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18 Phoenix August 21, 2009 at 3:41 am

Wow, these sound great! And they're still not really high in calories even with sugar instead of stevia. I really want to make those soon! :))

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19 Naomi August 21, 2009 at 4:43 am

Stevia is banned for being sold for food or food ingredients in the UK, so any ideas for another low cal alternative to sugar?

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20 Everyday Veg*n August 21, 2009 at 8:09 am

Hi Susan,
I have spent the last week or so going through your entire archive :) I just wanted to pop in and say thanks for taking the time to put together such an awesome resource and what a good time to do it because now I get to also say how delicious these muffins look!! I am SO going to try them out this weekend! Thanks again!

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21 Michal August 21, 2009 at 9:07 am

Oh lovely! I just love muffins and this combination of peach and vanilla is so interesting, i have never thought about doing that before. I hope you have a great weekend :)

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22 Lisa August 21, 2009 at 11:36 am

You can put fat free muffins in paper liners if you spray the bottom with a little cooking spray.

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23 the house vegan August 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm

My God, those look glorious.

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24 Bianca August 21, 2009 at 4:47 pm

I have the same problem with "sampling" baked goods. That's why I'm having such a hard time finishing the dessert section of my cookbook. I keep putting off developing new dessert recipes for fear that I'll gain like 300 pounds. These look and sounds great!

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25 Veggie85 August 22, 2009 at 6:59 am

I would love to make these muffins, but peaches never seem to survive long enough to be baked! Thanks for a recipe including one of my all time favorite foods, I'll have to try it!

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26 betty August 22, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Wonderful , beautiful , INSPIRING blogsite-I love the pictures!!! Thank you!Betty http://www.geothermalquestions.net

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27 Amy August 23, 2009 at 7:17 am

Rediscovering your blog… :)
I am going to be looking around for lots of great recipes I can try while keeping the grocery budget down. :)
LOVE the layout of the blog. SO nice.

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28 eatme_delicious August 23, 2009 at 10:05 am

Mmmm these sound delicious and are so cute! The combination of peach and vanilla sounds perfect.

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29 Nanette August 23, 2009 at 3:55 pm

When I make baked goods I always fool myself into believing I'm going to keep some around by freezing them.

You have no idea how great still-frozen cookies and muffins can be! LOL

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30 OneBiteAnotherStep August 23, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Hey Susan

thanks for the great recipes. I currently battling with an eating disorder and ur healthy eating is helping me get back on my feet.

Thank You for taking your time and being such an amazing blogger!

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31 Anke August 24, 2009 at 12:17 am

Hi Susan,

exactly. On the rare occasion one bakes one should go for the real thing (and maybe just use less of it). Fits in with the 90/10 rule: get it right 90% of the time, so you don't have to worry about the remaining 10%.

Another trick is to just make smaller batches. I usually half all US cookie/muffin recipes so as to not end up with literally a ton of baked goodies.

Thanks for the recipe, it sounds scrumptous, now with peach season in full swing :-)

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32 A_and_N August 28, 2009 at 10:58 am

Love how it looks! And about baked goods being at home – sigh. Let's not even get there!

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33 Aparna August 31, 2009 at 6:20 am

I'm so with you about the low resistance to baked food and my husband and our daughter being deprived! :)

So one way is to tweak recipes so they're lower calorie but then the daughter says she needs the calories!

So now I bake in small portions. And these muffins looks gorgeous.

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34 Lauren August 31, 2009 at 1:53 pm

I love making muffins, especially as the weather gets cooler! YUM! Thanks for the recipe!

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35 DrSteggy September 1, 2009 at 12:50 pm

I made these this morning (the sugar version) and they were really great. They were not totally vegan as I used honey and cow milk, but they turned out well with those subs.

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36 Lauren September 4, 2009 at 12:41 am

Your muffins look yummy! They are not, however, sugar-free. Maltodextrin is just another word for sugar (a primary ingredient in the NuNaturals Fiber Baking Blend). And If you're diabetic, you probably shouldn't be eating pastries made with wheat flour, since the starch converts to sugar in your blood stream (unless you choose to inject insulin to cover the carbs). ;)

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37 christina September 6, 2009 at 2:49 pm

what a great idea for muffins! thank you for your creativity!

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38 Anonymous September 6, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Naomi from England- strangely, although stevia is prohibited for inclusion in foods in the U.K. you can actually buy it from a number of online shops (and a few health food stores dotted around)- generally they sell it with the proviso- we are happy to sell this product to you so long as it is not for human consumption (yet some protein/green food supplements imported from the U.S. sold as food don't seem to carry the same warnings?!!). I'm unsure as to if I can provide links to such webshops, but I will just in case- try http://www.red23.co.uk/Stevia-Liquid-Concentrate-57ml_p_697.html also sold as a powder. This is also a useful store to get some hard-to-find U.S. imported foodstuff- although £17 for raw tahini is hard to stomach despite how lovely it is! If anyone is thinking that way, someone in North America could make a fortune selling Vegan foodstuffs to us over the pond!
Hope the essay helps… Susan, your website is a mine of creative yet practical ideas, I am taking the plunge and buying the same pressure cooker you use- thank you!

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39 Lorelei September 8, 2009 at 3:16 pm

so not to be a heathen here, but i cannot obtain flax seed. since i'm not vegan this is no biggie for me, but there seems to be utterly no consensus on egg to flax seed replacement. what would you say?? thank you so much!

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40 SusanV September 8, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Lorelei, I don't advise anyone to use eggs, but if you were determined to make these cupcakes with them, I suggest using only one and omitting the flaxseed and warm water.

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41 Lorelei September 8, 2009 at 8:38 pm

thank you susan!! :)

lauren,

while technically not sugar free, some diabetics can stand certain sugars. my father, who is type II diabetic, is able to withstand quite a large quantity of fructose (less than most people, but still) with no more averse effects than anyone else eating an apple.

not all diabetics inject insulin, either, i'm not even sure the majority do. and it seems that most diabetics can eat carbs and tolerate them quite well, they just need to not eat TOO MUCH of them.

in the end, all diabetics know what sugars they can and can't eat and how many carbs they can withstand a day. most recipes labeled sugar free have SOME sort of sweetener in them, whether maltodextrin or splenda or fructose or whatever, and a diabetic person would just have to sift thru the recipes to find the ones that are right for them… or simply replace the sugar type.

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42 Stacey September 19, 2009 at 12:24 am

Made these today, but didn't have peaches. I used chopped apple and fresh blueberries instead and YUUUMMM!!! I won't be telling anyone else they're fat free, let alone sugar free (excluding the sugar in the fruit mind you!)

Thanks for another amazing recipe. This has been my 'go-to' blog for a very long time now!

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43 Alicia November 7, 2009 at 6:14 pm

could you use rice flour or oat flour rather than the white whole wheat? also could you substitute agave for stevia?

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44 SusanV November 7, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Alicia, I know that it's possible to make these with a gluten-free baking mix (they seem to work better than one single type of flour) but I've read that agave doesn't work well with gluten-free baking. If you want to try it, you will need to reduce the amount of liquid a little–maybe use only 1 cup of milk.

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45 Matty June 5, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Is flaxseed a necessary ingredient, or are there any substitutions? I have none in the house currently and would hate to have to wait until I run to the grocery store next to make these!

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46 SusanV June 5, 2010 at 1:27 pm

If you have Ener-G egg replacer, you could try using it to replace the flax seed. Or, substitute 3 tablespoons of blended silken tofu for the flax and 2 tablespoons water. (I haven’t tried either of these, but I believe they will work.)

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47 Katherine June 30, 2010 at 11:27 am

Is it possible to omit the flax seed? Is there a good substitute?

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48 agapi2012 July 13, 2010 at 1:32 pm

i made these this morning and they taste delicious. they are also very filling. i made them gluten free by using 1 cup sweet potato flour, .5 cup almond flour, and .5 cup buckwheat flour.

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49 Christine August 11, 2010 at 7:47 pm

In case any one had any doubts, these are fantastic! I used corn starch in the equivalent amount to the flax since I was out and all was well. I did use the sugar though :)

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50 Barbara October 24, 2010 at 10:03 am

I am not vegan myself, so I switched a few things around, but they weren’t major. This recipe is ah-ma-zing.
Instead of soy milk I put 1% milk, and the sugar was substituted for splenda, and because I had no peaches in the house (cry D:) I decided to just chop up 2 medium oranges.
i love your site <33

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51 Jessica August 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I made these tonight and they look gorgeous. However, I can *really* taste the baking soda. It’s almost to the point of needing to throw the batch out. Have you ever run into this when baking these?

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52 SusanV August 7, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I haven’t had that problem with this recipe. Are you sure that you used 1 teaspoon and that your baking soda didn’t have any lumps? Lumpy baking soda has caused my baked goods to have problems in the past.

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53 Azahara August 18, 2012 at 9:37 am

As usual, these were lovely. I used Stevia for the first time in my life for this recipe, so I had to experiment a little. I could only find the one that’s a hundred times sweeter than sugar, though, and since I also soaked the peaches in 1Tbsp. agave, I decided to add only 1tsp. and see how it turned out. As I said, they were really good: moist thanks to the peach chunks and sweet enough according to my parents and sister, who almost left me with no leftovers (I just made 12 muffins, instead of 16, and they were not too big).

Thank you, Susan. Keep them coming!

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54 Fily July 6, 2014 at 10:10 am

Susan, do you think these would work without any Stevia or sugar at all? Or maybe just a bit of agave syrup? I’m going to try these today but I’m diabetic so don’t want to use sugar, and I don’t like the sugar substitutes.
Thanks!

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55 Susan Voisin July 7, 2014 at 9:08 am

If you leave out the sugar substitute, increase the flour by two tablespoons. You do know that agave nectar is sugar, though?

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56 GKB October 21, 2014 at 8:04 am

Hi
Looks delicious.Sorry for asking a silly question but should the peaches be peeled before being chopped up?
Thanks
GLN

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57 Susan Voisin October 21, 2014 at 8:57 am

Not a silly question! Yes, I peeled the peaches first. See step 2.

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