Some of my favorite sweet flavors seem to center around the holiday season. I’m talking about pumpkin, apples, pears, anything mulled and spiced, and, of course, gingerbread. Oh gingerbread, I love eating you in December and then I somehow forget about you the rest of the year. I’m sorry about that and I promise to change things next year. I mean seriously, why aren’t there gingerbread desserts year round? There is nothing inherently seasonal about gingerbread, right? Molasses, ginger, brown sugar – these are all pantry staples for me. I’m making gingerbread more often, dang it, because I love that sweet, spicy, satisfying flavor.
To kick start my pledge to enjoy more gingerbread I bring you Gingerbread and Pear muffins! This recipe so simple – no heavy machinery necessary. These muffins bake up in fifteen minutes and are so fragrant and delicious they disappear just as quickly. They are a muffin-y version of a sweet and sticky gingerbread cake, so the sweetness is more subdued and the consistency fluffier and lighter than a cake. To imbue this muffin with a touch of fall, I added some juicy ripe pears before popping them in the oven. A sprinkling of brown sugar perfectly caramelized the pears as they baked adding an extra depth of deliciousness to the muffins. If you want to get really crazy you can top these muffins with pieces of chocolate right out of the oven. The chocolate quickly melts creating a glistening coating to the pears. Gingerbread muffins are something to be savored year round.
Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mild-flavored molasses
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water
2 small pears, cut in 6 wedges each
(optional) 3 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate broken in small pieces
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with butter.
In large bowl combine flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a second bowl whisk together molasses, butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract and egg. Pour into flour mixture. Stir until combined. Whisk in boiling water. Divide evenly among muffin cups. Add 1 pear wedge to each muffin, press lightly.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. * Optional: Add chocolate piece to top of muffins or sprinkle pears with brown sugar. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes. Use table knife to smooth melted chocolate. Cool completely on wire rack. Makes 12.