This year, the holidays brought about stomach bugs, presents, and boxes of ripe pears. With my younger sister and her husband returning home to West Virginia and the long list of Christmas and New Year parties dwindling, I felt inspired to put those last ripe pears to good use. Muffins aren’t only perfect for breakfast, but also for an afternoon (or midnight) snack. And if you happen to have last minute dinner guests, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce can make pear muffins an extraordinary dessert.
I’m 17 weeks pregnant now, which means I want and need to eat constantly. Breakfast is always followed by a morning snack, and these muffins along with a a decaf latte, have made 10:00am my favorite hour. Packed with ripe pears and seasoned with a noticeable dose of cinnamon, these whole wheat muffins are moist, with just the right amount of sweetness.
Being 17 weeks along in this journey, I’m finally starting to show. After weeks of morning sickness, it’s exciting that the world can now see my body changing (because it’s felt quite different for quite some time now). Susanne has generously loaned me her maternity clothes. After four children, she has an enviable collection. And my sweet husband? Well, he’s been treating me like a queen. For Christmas, he stitched this mama and baby pendent for me. A piece of jewelry that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.
Something else I’ll treasure? Your words. Thank you for all your well wishes and hearty congratulations. I’m thrilled to be on this path, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts along the road.
Spiced Pear Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 to 2 1/2 cups pears, unpeeled and diced small (2 medium-sized pears, about 11 oz whole)
1. Heat your oven to 425°F. Spray the top of your muffin tin with non-stick coating.
2. In a mixer on high speed, cream together the sugars and the softened butter until they resemble fluffy frosting, about 1 minute. Mix in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated, about 1 minute each. Mix in the vanilla extract.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, mix 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture followed by 1/3 of the milk. Continue alternating between the flour and the milk, mixing just until the flour is incorporated. It’s ok if there is still some flour on the sides of the bowl. Do not over-mix.
4. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and stir gently to incorporate the last of the flour. Add the diced pears all at once and fold them into the batter. Divide the batter between the muffin cups. The batter will fill the cups and mound slightly on top.
5. Place the muffin tin in the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 400°F. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan once in the middle of baking. The muffins are done with the tops looked cracked and toasted, and when a toothpick inserted in the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean.
6. Let the muffins cool enough to handle, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Leftover muffins can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days or frozen for up to three months.