pear and hazelnut muffins

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Pear and Hazelnut Muffins
Adapted from Whole Grain Mornings

This book is a delight, creative, seasonally-sorted recipes through the lens of whole grains. I made these first (preschooler’s choice!) but have already bookmarked Bacon and Kale Polenta Squares, Strawberry Oat Breakfast Crisp, Vanilla and Cream Steel-Cut Oats Porridge, Creamy Breakfast Rice with Honey-Poached Figs and Pistachios and Zucchini-Farro Fritters, to give you an idea of what will await you when you buy the book. It’s nothing short of what you’d expect from the creator of Marge Granola.

This recipe, however, I tweaked it a bit, mostly because it used many bowls and I wanted it to use fewer. A bunch more notes: This calls for 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat (pastry flour was recommended) but I think it can be tweaked with any flour mix your prefer, be it mostly whole wheat or white whole wheat, or a gluten-free mix (Sprouted Kitchen smartly recommends 1/2 cup each of oat, almond and brown rice flour). I (always) think you could brown the butter. Yogurt thinned with a little milk could replace the buttermilk, as could coconut milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice added, and coconut oil or olive oil could replace the butter, just to give you a few ideas. The bittersweet chocolate chunks were not necessary, but they were not regretted either.

Yield: Theoretically, 12 muffins, but I got 16.

2 small-medium firm pears
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (plus more for cups)
2/3 cup (125 grams) natural cane sugar, such as Turbinado, light brown or granulated sugar
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup (75 grams) rolled oats
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 grams) whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, which I replaced with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, which I replaced with 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (120 grams) toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (85 grams) bittersweet chocolate chunks (optional)

Heat oven to 425°F. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line it with papers.*

Peel (if you so desire, can be skipped) pears, then halve and core them. Grate pears on the large holes of a boxed grater into a large bowl. You should have about 1 cup grated (although I ended up with 1 1/2, opting to meet the recipe halfway and used 1 1/4 cups). Stir in melted butter, sugar, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla until combined.

In a separate bowl, stir together the oats, flours, baking soda, baking powder, spices, salt, all but 1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts, and chocolate chunks, if you’re feeling extra indulgent. Gently fold this dry ingredient mixture into the wet batter until just combined; do not overmix.

Fill muffin cups almost up to the top and sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup hazelnuts. Place muffins in oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375°F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out batter-free.

Cool muffins in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Muffins will keep for 2 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

* Unsolicited plug: Just bought these for the first time, which were wonderful at keeping the muffins from sticking to the paper.

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