Pears are mild in flavor, yet have just the right amount of sweetness with a delicate texture, making them quite beautiful. I love a fresh pear, chilled right out of the refrigerator, but I also enjoy baking with pears because they are not too overpowering, yet flavorful. Pears in baked treats are a good thing, and turn a standard muffin into something quite seasonally special.
Any variety of pears will work in baking, but they definitely need to be on the firm side, so they can hold up in a hot oven. Pears add a floral note to muffins, cakes and cookies, as well as amplify a soft crumb because of their juiciness. In this recipe, these muffins have warming spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, flavors that go so nicely with pears. To add another special note, I topped each muffin with a chocolate Feve or drop, for a touch of chocolaty fun. You can always use chocolate chips, if you don’t want to order some Valhrona Chocolate Feves, but they are so worth it.
12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups Gluten-Free Flour with xanthan gum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pears, any variety
1/3 cup buttermilk
12 dark chocolate Feves or drops, or 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
(Makes 12 Muffins)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil or spray muffin pan. In a stand mixer or large bowl, cream together butter and sugars for 4 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl, and add vanilla extract and eggs one at a time, mixing on high speed in between each addition until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
2. Add flour, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and salt. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Dice up pears, removing core and stem. Add to batter and mix for 30 seconds.
3. Add buttermilk and mix again on low speed for 30 seconds. Remove bowl and mix by hand to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
4. Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan, using an ice cream scoop. Place a chocolate Feve on top of each muffin or sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top and press gently. Bake in oven for 18-22 minutes, or until light golden brown.
5. Remove muffins from oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from pan, and place on a wire rack to cool another 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!