Honey Cinnamon Glazed Peaches

When I was in middle school, my 8th grade class was assigned a new history teacher, named Ms. Farnum. At 25, Ms. Farnum was the youngest of all the teachers. She wore no make up, brought her lunch to school every day, and had a tattoo on her upper arm that she told us she had to hide when at school. Her first name was Becky, we learned. Her handwriting was such that she wrote the letter "r" in uppercase (even in the middle of lowercase woRds) and she told us she had a best friend who had moved far away, to Belize. On your birthday, she made your favorite dessert for you and the whole class, carefully keeping track of everyone's date of birth and sweet of choice with a list on her desk. Ms. Farnum hated chocolate -- even white chocolate -- preferring shortbread cookies, fruit pies, and vanilla ice cream (I remember finding this one detail shocking -- spinach, seafood, or cilantro were understandable, but how could someone not like chocolate?!) She was funny, easy-going, and understanding, everyone's favorite teacher that year.

I remember Ms. Farnum for more than just her dislike of chocolate or her handwriting, of course. Middle school was a tough time for me, as it is for many people, I think. I was incredibly shy with braces and acne (never a winning combination) and was excluded on a regular basis by the class's group of "popular" girls (it really is shocking how nasty a group of pre-adolescent females can be). I spent most of my tween years trying to blend in, go unnoticed, and get by. During a time where all I wanted was to fit in, Ms. Farnum made me feel included, always quick to offer a kind word, a compliment, or a listening ear. During free periods, she would look over my Math homework (always a disaster) and she would help me prepare for the next history test during free periods. She was a good listener, and told me not to bother with the mean girls -- that things would get better next year, once I got to high school, and this wouldn't even matter when I was older (she was right).

Ms. Farnum ended up moving away not long after she started working at my school -- I suspected a broken heart had something to do with it -- but thirteen years later, I still remember her as being one of the kindest teachers I've ever encountered. I bake a lot of super chocolate-y desserts -- this cake, these macaroons , these cupcakes -- but whenever I prepare the rare chocolate-free dessert, I inevitably think of Ms. Farnum. These summer-y and light Honey Cinnamon Peaches are most certainly Ms. Farnum-friendly, and a great dessert for that one person in your life who has never taken a liking to the most delicious ingredient in the world chocolate. They are reminiscent of a peach pie but without the pie crust, lattice, or extra work, and served with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream, taste like Summer on a plate.

Notes: If you want something a little more elegant than ice cream, these peaches can be served with freshly whipped cream, mascarpone, creme fraiche, yogurt, or even a dollop of ricotta. You could also use nectarines, plums, or any other stone fruit in this recipe. If you really like cinnamon, feel free to up the dose from 1/4 of a teaspoon. Enjoy!


HONEY CINNAMON GLAZED PEACHES

Ingredients:
4 large peaches
4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus a little extra for the baking pan
3.5 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Place the peaches in a lightly buttered baking pan. Whisk together the melted butter, honey, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush the glaze evenly over the peaches. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the peaches are juicy and slightly softened. Serve warm with scoops of vanilla ice cream. Serves 4.






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