I have a quick and easy way to check the temperature. When I get up in the morning, I look at my neighbor's roof. The amount of frost tells me how thick of a sweater I need to put on; recently it's been fairly frosty. When it's chilly out I'm always looking for excuses to warm up my kitchen by turning on the oven. The bag of pears on my counter and my Nigella cookbook gave me just the excuse - Ginger Pear Muffins.
I loved these muffins warm out of the oven. The chunks of pear are so soft that they almost merge with the surrounding muffin and the ginger adds a warm spiciness that makes them perfect breakfast fare for a chilly fall day.
I wanted to try adding candied ginger to them, but was unsure whether or not that would work, so I stirred it into 1/2 the batter. I think it worked best when the muffins were warm, as all the ingredients blended together beautifully then. Once cold the bits of ginger were much more distinct, and unless you are a huge ginger fan, they might be a bit off-putting.
Nigella suggest that in the evening you can combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and the wet ingredients in a large measuring cup, cover both with plastic wrap, and put the wet ingredients in the refrigerator overnight. Then in the morning all you have to do is peel and chunk the pears, stir it all together and bake. Does breakfast get any easier than that?
Pear and Ginger Muffins
- adapted from Nigella Express
1-3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 6 tsp packed light brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
2/3 cup sour cream*
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp honey
1-1/2 cups peeled and diced pears,
1/4 cup candied ginger, diced (optional)
1- Preheat the oven to 400 deg. F. and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper muffin cups.
2- Measure into a bowl the flour, granulated sugar, the 1/2 cup of brown sugar, baking powder, and ground ginger.
3- In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, oil, honey, and eggs, Add all at once to the dry ingredients and gently fold in.
4- Mix in the diced pear and candied ginger (if using) and divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
5- Sprinkle each one with 1/2 tsp brown sugar and bake for 20 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack. Best when eaten while still a bit warm.
* You can substitute non-fat plain yogurt for the sour cream, if you'd like to reduce the fat and calories a bit.