November 12, 2014

Chocolate Pear Muffins

Hello sweet friends. I have a fall-timey treat for you today! It's pear season, in case that has escaped your notice. We've been eating pears, pears, and more pears. Sometimes with a side of pears. We eat them in the morning, we eat them in the night (this sounds like a Dr. Seuss book). We eat them over the sink. We eat them with salad. We eat them with eggs.

My big favorites are Bartletts, but I just got some other kind of pear that was Not a Bartlett (maybe Bosc? But I don't think so, it was something else, and I don't remember now) and that was almost as good as my beloved Bartletts.

I didn't grow up eating a lot of pears, what with all that tropical fruit biz I had going on in Hawaii. So something as seemingly mundane as a wonderful pear was A Very Great Treat. Sometimes people would send us pears as Christmas gifts from the company Harry & David, and I swear they have magical pear growing fairies working for them. Those pears were AMAZING.
Yes, I own a glass cake stand. It was a wedding gift, and you know what? I use it ALL the time. It sat in my garage for years and then one day I decided to pull it out and begin using it, and now it takes up a lot of room on my counter. Room I really can't afford to spare.

I washed it really well not long ago, and decided to put it away. Andrew applauded that notion heartily. And then I didn't put it away. It's still on my counter and now it has muffins in it.


Let's discuss these here muffins! I'd never made them before and I was super surprised how well they turned out. I'm kind of amazed when anything I make turns out halfway decent. I don't know why. I believe in expecting the worst and being happily surprised, I guess.

But these were....GREAT. I will list the reasons why: Not too sweet. These days too sweet things make me gag and make my heart race. The texture was amazing! Almost like....they had been steamed in the middle. My non-scientific guess? The moisture from the pears makes the interior extra moist! Good chocolate flavor - pleasingly apparent, but not overpowering or too rich. We all LOVED these muffins, and you must have them a little warm, with some butter.

This is yet another wonderful recipe I've made from a delightful little book called 'Cooking with Apples & Pears' by Laura Washburn - I make the Apple-Parsnip Soup all the time, and it's a darling and fab book, with savories, bakes, tarts & pies, desserts and chutneys/jellies. I'm going to be making the Spiced Apple Cake recipe next. 

PEAR AND CHOCOLATE MUFFINS  - via 'Cooking With Apples & Pears'

Ingredients:

3 and 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
7 oz. cream cheese (not low fat), room temp
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of fine sea salt
14 oz. ripe pears (about 2-3), peeled, cored, and diced
3 and 1/2 oz. chocolate chips

Directions:

Line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners or muffin wrappers, or grease well instead. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt the chocolate and butter either in a double boiler set over simmering water or you can do what I did, and melt them in the microwave.  (I microwave 30 seconds at a time, until barely melted and then stir to melt the remainder.) Set aside until needed.

Combine the sugar and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer until well blended. Add the eggs and melted chocolate mixture and continue beating until well blended.

Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well. Tip into the chocolate mixture and, with the whisk on low, mix until just blended. Fold in the pears and chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture into paper liners or greased muffins wells, dividing evenly.

Bake in the preheated oven until a skewer inserted in the center of a muffin comes out almost clean, about 20-30 minutes. (mine took exactly 23 minutes.) Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before serving. (If not using liners, wait 5 minutes before running a knife around the edges and turning out.)

~Makes 12 muffins.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

4 comments:

  1. I'm not a big pear-eater. I can never find any that look as delicious as the ones in the Harry & David catalogue (which I have sent as gifts before, but never tried myself). My grandmother makes a couple of delicious pies with pears, though. These muffins look good, too. Maybe I just like them in baked goods?

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  2. oh man. the Royal Riviera pears from Harry & David --- I've never had their equal! Just amazing!!! I've never had pear pie, but last year I did make a pear cobbler/pandowdy thing and that was really good!

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  3. These seem really interesting - I think I will have to try, especially as I have not made muffins in a while. Isn't it funny how for a time you make a lot of a particular type of food (i.e. muffins) and then you take a break, but when you are reminded of that food again it is a reunion with an old friend? Maybe that's just me.

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  4. Looks like a great recipe! You are so creative to include pear in all your meals! I wonder if my son would eat the muffin if he didn't know it has pear in it ^_^ (he hates fruits). Among all the fruits, I think pear is maybe my least favorite. Probably because when I was younger, a Chinese doctor has prescribed that for my diet, I should only eat one kind of fruit: brown pears. So for 3 months that's the only fruit I was allowed to eat. Needless to say, I hated them and never want to touch them again LOL

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