Monday, November 24, 2008

Morning Muffins

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
2 eggs
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.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Haha!! Love your method for checking the temperature - much more reliable than the weatherman, I say!!

I was planning on baking a batch of blondies with a similar flavor/ingredient combination... hope you don't mind! :-)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Prepping does make things so much easier!
Gosh these really sound grand Lynn when you talk about the soft pears in warm muffins - I think I need breakfast.
I'd think a thick sweater and the oven on would be great this morning.

Maria said...

Muffins are the perfect morning treat. Pears are on sale right now too! Yahoo!

Anonymous said...

I've made these! They are delicious.
I am hardly ever that organized to bake in the morning by preparing the night before... Gee, is that how all those organized people do it? I've always wondered! Huh.

Anonymous said...

How much oil is in these? Thanks!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Veggie Girl - mind? No! You always come up with amazing treats.

My Kitchen In Half Cups - It's definitely a thick sweater day here.

Maria - enjoy!

Melinda - Yeah, it's great to be organized...if you can remember to think that far ahead.

Anonymous - Thanks for the keen eyes. I fixed the oil amount.

Anonymous said...

These look so good I made them for dinner. They're baking right now and smell heavenly. Thanks.

Aimée said...

Love these. I must pick up some sour cream.

Pssst! There's a surprise for you on my blog...Hurry over!

Peabody said...

A good suggestion for making ahead of time but still getting fresh muffins in the morning. Yum. I wouldn't be off put by the ginger.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a great combo! Those muffins must taste really good!



grace said...

who needs a thermometer? i use the relative ice cube-ness of my toes as an indicator. :)
great muffins, obviously. they look super fluffy, which is a quality i always enjoy. :)

Debbie said...

They would be delicious with a cup of coffee in the morning!

natalia said...

Ciao ! Thanks for visiting and encouraging ! I saw your last post and as someone just asked me what is the difference between muffins and cupcakes I think you are the best one to answer ! Thank you !!!

Anonymous said...

These were super yummy. Sam had doubts when he heard what they were, but decided once having one bite that they were very nummy and was sad that his was gone so quickly.

CookiePie said...

Those sound delicious, like a perfect morning treat!!

Dee Light said...

I do the same thing!! Those muffins look yummy.

alexandra's kitchen said...

This sounds like a really nice combination. Perfect for this time of year. I like the idea of pre-mixing the dry and wet ingredients and combining them on the morning of. I love candied ginger, but I think I might make these sans ginger, given your note. Beautiful!

kickpleat said...

i recently know your qualms about the candied ginger (which i recently added to a molasses bread). but i did love the ginger-punch! i totally need some morning muffins and these look great!

Zesty Cook said...

Great flavor combination! Thanks so much for sharing


LyB said...

I love the idea of getting things ready the night before. Those muffins must make the kitchen smell heavenly. They look delicious!

Jennifer said...


Heather said...

mmmm, that is a wonderfully delicious flavor combination. i love it :) these would make my morning better... any day :)

Brilynn said...

I'm a big fan of ginger so I think I'd like them even with the bits in them. I always buy candied ginger with the intention of baking with it but end up eating it all before that happens.

Anonymous said...

To prepare any muffin batter ahead of time so you can eaily cook the muffins in the morning, simply prepare the batter COMPLETELY (wet AND dry ingredients) MINUS the baking powder,you mix in right before baking.
Remember, the baking powder reacts with moisture, which explains why batter with baking powder already mixed in can only be stored a limited time..