It’s that time of year again….. Peach season. There is nothing like biting into a fresh, juicy peach. Summer is already one of the best times of the year (minus the humidity), but when you throw all the fresh fruit and recipe possibilities into the mix, summer becomes even more awesome. I remember growing up, and even in recent years going peach picking with my mom and sister. We would go to the peach tree section at various nearby orchards, and fill up large baskets full of peaches. I’m pretty sure a few peaches didn’t make it to the check out.
This past Saturday we had a cookout with tons of family over. By cookout I mean we grilled out and ate in, since it poured all night. It was actually our 1 year anniversary as home owners… time flies when you’re baking J. I decided to make peach crumb bars, since they are perfect for a cookout in the summer. My mom has always made a great peach cobbler, and that is where I got the initial idea. They have slightly different ingredients than my mom’s recipe, and let’s face it; it’s much easier for guests to pick and eat a bar with their hands, rather than spooning out scoops of peach cobbler into a bowl, while standing at a cookout.
Now about those fuzzy little fruits… Peaches originated in northern China. The state of Georgia happens to produce the highest quality flavor peaches in the US. They are a stone family fruit, since peaches have a large middle seed. There are two types of peaches, Freestone and Clingstone, along with 3 colors, which are white, orange, and yellow. A lot to choose from right? Peaches are also way healthier than I originally thought. In fact, they are one of the leading free radical fighters, rich with antioxidants. They lower cholesterol, prevent stress (I need to eat a dozen per day in that case), and help to combat obesity. Peaches are also great for cell health, anti-aging, digestion, and detoxification. They are packed with many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C. Don’t they sound almost as amazing as they taste?
Now what’s the difference, as it pertains to crisp, crumb, and streusel desserts? This has been a commonly asked question over the years? Truth be told, there isn’t much difference. Cobblers have a biscuit topping. The topping is formed into ball shapes and dropped on top of the fruit. The name cobbler is true to form in that it looks like a cobble street. Streusel is of German origin, and means a crumb topping, usually flour, butter and sugar. Also, nuts can be added. This is sprinkled on top of the fruit. Crumb and crisp are a lot like a streusel, in that they contain a topping of flour, butter, and sugar. Some people say that crumb toppings have no oats, but that’s not really the case. Another way to describe these 3 deserts is that they are all synonymous with scrumptious toppings on fruit.
I decided to label my dessert as ‘crumb bars’, but they contain oats, so I guess they could technically be a crisp also. This recipe is easy, because all the ingredients are put in a mixer and combined at once. Also the same batter is used for the bottom and top layer of the bars. Sounds simple enough right? I love adding cinnamon to this recipe, b/c I feel like it adds such a great flavor, and the same goes with honey. Furthermore, I think this recipe works well with keeping the oats to flour ratio higher. Once all ingredients are blended together, ¾ of the batter is placed in a lined baking pan. The next step is very important. Make sure to add flour or almond meal, or even corn starch to your peaches. The peaches become more liquid when they are baking, and you do not want your bars to become too mushy. After this is done the peaches are placed on top of the crust. Then some additional oats and optional pecans are added to the remaining quarter of the batter. This is then sprinkled on top of the peaches.
The finishing touch, which is optional, is adding the glaze. See, I told you this would be easy!