Pear Walnut Muffins

A quick, easy and wholesome breakfast muffin, that can be easily adaptable for more wholesomeness (sub 1/2 cup of the flour mixture with whole wheat flour) or decadence (add 1/2 cup of chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate along with the walnuts), depending on the kind of week you are having!

Pear Walnut Muffins

Adapted from smitten kitchen

Makes 12 muffins

2 small-medium firm pears
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour, or any combination thereof
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped, divided into two 1/2 cup portions
1/4 cup confectioners sugar for dusting (optional)

Heat oven to 425°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

Peel the pears, then halve and core them. Grate pears on the large holes of a boxed grater into a large bowl. 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 and salt. Take 1/4 cup of this dry mixture and toss it into half of the toasted, chopped walnuts (1/2 cup) and set aside.

Fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and once incorporated, fold in the 1/2 cup of walnuts (tossed in the dry mixture). Do not overmix.

Fill muffin cups almost up to the top and sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup walnuts.

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. After muffins have cooled, dust the tops with confectioners sugar (if using) and serve at room temperature.

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