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.
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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.
Natalie (Fashion Intel)November 14, 2011
Yum, yum, yum! I feel the same way about Fall fruits, spices and food. Loving this recipe.
banana wonderNovember 14, 2011
What a great combo and perfect for the slide of festiveness that we are about to ride down. I would eat one of these with a double eggnog latte and be the jolliest person around.
Baker StreetNovember 14, 2011
wow! pear and chocolate would have surely complimented these muffins perfectly. thanks for sharing N!
Yuri - Chef PanditaNovember 14, 2011
Love the description of the brown sugar caramelizing on the pear slices…yum!
TerraNovember 14, 2011
I do the same thing, but with pumpkin. For some reason I only enjoy pumpkin at the end of the year, yet I adore it. Your muffins look lovely! Love the idea of gingerbread with pear, delicious! Take care, Terra
Aimee @ Food: Je t'AimeeNovember 14, 2011
Why *do* we neglect gingerbread all year round, when we love it so much?? Maybe because our senses know how much more comforting those spices are when the weather gets colder? Hmm. Hard to say.
I can’t tell you how much I adore that luscious slice of pear atop your muffins… what a fabulous idea! So seasonal and perfect. Now I want to make these again, trying it your way 🙂
Stay-At-Home-ChefNovember 14, 2011
Weren’t these muffins fantastic?! I am definitely in the holiday spirit 🙂 As a fellow lover of gingerbread I tend to enjoy it throughout the year. My favourite? A super moist, deeply spiced gingerbread cake with warm apple sauce and vanilla ice cream. It’s been a b-day tradition for my Dad ever since I was a kid!
Bianca @ South Bay Rants n RavesNovember 14, 2011
I think the pear would definitely balance out the spicy gingerbread. I love this time of year too. No reason why gingerbread should only be a seasonal thing! I’m with ya for having it year round.
NastassiaNovember 14, 2011
Natalie – when summer fruits are gone i’m sad and miss them then fall fruits arrive and i forget all about them 🙂
Anna – we need a muffin date!
A- the chocolate was an after thought a very pleasant after thought 🙂
Yuri- the pears were so juicy and delicious!
Terra- I love me some pumpkin too! but for some reason I *do* bake that year round go figure 🙂
Aimee- there is something about that spicy that screams out winter
Stay-at-home-chef – Applesauce and vanilla ice cream with gingerbread cake sounds like an incredible combo I’m going to have to try this!
Bianca – it was the perfect balance
elena @3greenonionsNovember 14, 2011
Yum, pears! My currently favorite fruit (I wasn’t too big of a fan until recently but am a convert now). Gingerbread rules and should be sprinkled all over the calendar I say!:)
NastassiaNovember 15, 2011
Elena – pears are so good right now, I’m so addicted def my favorite fruit right now too!
Adrianna from A Cozy KitchenNovember 15, 2011
I’m so obsessed with pears right now. It’s their moment!! I love that you added it right at the end. WANT!
Carrie @ poet in the pantryNovember 15, 2011
I agree–gingerbread should be a year-round treat! Why save it for just this time of year? It’s all so silly! I don’t know why I didn’t think of pears but now that you’ve mentioned them, they sound like the perfect addition to these muffins. Yum!
MariaNovember 17, 2011
Oh my Gosh! You’re killing me with this recipe! #yummy