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.
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 (or Not) Peach and Vanilla Muffins
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar or sugar, optional
- 2 large peaches about 2 cups, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 vanilla bean split and scraped
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened soymilk or other non-dairy milk
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour or gluten-free baking mix
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup stevia baking sugar substitute or sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped almonds optional
- Preheat oven to 400F. Arrange 16 silicone muffin liners on a baking sheet or oil a regular-sized muffin pan and a few extra muffin-sized ramekins. (Note: Fat-free muffins stick to paper liners so avoid them.)
- Peel the peaches (if they are very ripe, the skin may easily peel off; if not, dip them in boiling water for 30 seconds and allow to cool before peeling) and remove the pit. Chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Mix with agave nectar (optional) and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix the ground flax seed with the warm water. Slit the vanilla bean open and scrape the seeds from the middle with the back of a knife. Whisk the seeds into the flax mixture and save the vanilla bean for another use. (Try storing it in sugar to make vanilla sugar.) Add the vanilla extract, lemon juice, and soymilk to the flax mixture and whisk well to combine.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar or substitute. Mix well. Add the liquid ingredients and stir just until combined; batter will be thick. Fold in the peaches, making sure they are distributed throughout the batter. Fill each muffin cup to within 1/2-inch of the top. Smooth the top of each muffin and, if desired, sprinkle with chopped almonds. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.
Nutritional info is approximate.
StaceySeptember 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!
AliciaNovember 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?
SusanVNovember 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.
MattyJune 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!
SusanVJune 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.)
KatherineJune 30, 2010 at 11:27 am
Is it possible to omit the flax seed? Is there a good substitute?
agapi2012July 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.
ChristineAugust 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 🙂
BarbaraOctober 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
SandyJune 25, 2020 at 2:27 pm
Can I use liquid stevia and if so how much?
Susan VoisinJune 25, 2020 at 3:37 pm
Liquid stevia is very different from the baking blend stevia because it doesn’t contain fiber or have the same bulk. You could try reducing the liquid and just adding the stevia to taste, but I can’t promise you’ll get good results.
JessicaAugust 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?
SusanVAugust 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.
AzaharaAugust 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!
FilyJuly 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.
Susan VoisinJuly 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?
GKBOctober 21, 2014 at 8:04 am
Looks delicious.Sorry for asking a silly question but should the peaches be peeled before being chopped up?
Susan VoisinOctober 21, 2014 at 8:57 am
Not a silly question! Yes, I peeled the peaches first. See step 2.
Sharon CaliannoJanuary 22, 2019 at 11:36 am
What causes the sodium count to be up there?
Susan VoisinJanuary 22, 2019 at 1:23 pm
Salt, baking soda, and baking powder, I think.
JoeNovember 8, 2019 at 9:53 am
Do you think it would be okay to use vanilla unsweetened soymilk for the milk and omit the vanilla extract and bean? Also, I don’t have baking stevia but do have granulated erythritol — if I ground that into a more granulated consistency would that work as a sugar substitute or would it be best to omit it?
Susan VoisinNovember 8, 2019 at 9:56 am
You can use vanilla flavored milk, no problem, but you won’t get as strong a vanilla flavor without adding extract/vanilla bean. The erythritol should work fine but won’t be as sweet as the stevia blend (which is stevia added to erythritol.)