Roasted Pear Muffins with Pear Chips
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Serves: 1.5 Dozen Muffins
 
Fall is in the air, which gets me thinking favorite about Fall foods (big shock). As part of this mental excursion, I got to wondering about the fact that I had never seen a recipe for pear muffins before so did some recipe snooping and found such recipes exist, but not very many. I think this might be because pears, all by themselves, are not really what you would call ‘flavor bombs’, and to my mind require roasting and some cinnamon to get the ball rolling. Always up for a challenge, I set out to make a pear muffin that would be all about the pear and capitalize on that roasted pear taste that is irresistible. First, we’ll roast up some diced pears in cinnamon sugar, then add them to a batter that has lots of brown sugar to enhance that roasted concept. When all was said and done, the experiment resulted in a super moist muffin that smacks you right in the face with nice little pieces of roasted pear. If you want to get really crazy, you can make some pear chips to decorate the tops. Not at all required, but kinda fun.
Ingredients
  • FOR THE MUFFINS
  • 3-4 pears of any variety (they can be ripe or just under ripe)
  • 3 cups of unbleached flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup canola or other neutral oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • FOR THE CINNAMON SUGAR
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • FOR THE PEAR CHIPS
  • 1 slightly underripe pear
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • About ¼ cup lemon juice
Instructions
  1. FOR THE CINNAMON SUGAR
  2. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside.
  3. FOR THE MUFFINS
  4. First things first: peel, core, and cut each pear into about ½ inch pieces. Place in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray, or onto a cookie sheet lined with foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  5. Sprinkle the pears with about a teaspoon or two of the cinnamon sugar (You’ll have a bunch of cinnamon sugar left over, but you can use it to top the muffins, sprinkle on cereal, or a million other things). Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, until softened and starting to caramelize. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  6. When pears are cool or slightly warm, roughly chop them a few times with a kitchen knife to form about ¼ inch pieces. NOTE: They don’t all have to be the same. It’s good to have some larger and some smaller for different little flavor bites.
  7. TO MAKE THE MUFFINS
  8. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  9. In a smaller mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  10. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, just until everything is well mixed.
  11. Gently fold in the roasted pear pieces.
  12. Scoop into muffin tins and top with cinnamon sugar, brown sugar, or turbinado sugar – whatever you like best.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until they feel set in the center. NOTE: If you like to make those big muffins (which I do), it will take a good 27 minutes before they are done.
  14. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the muffin tins for about 10 minutes, then take them out of the muffin tin and put them on a cooling rack until room temperature. Go on ahead and try one!
  15. TO MAKE THE PEAR CHIPS (NOTE: This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. It is an amazing book and you can trust every single recipe – I’d run out and buy a copy if I were you).
  16. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  17. I think this works best using a Dutch oven sized pot. That way things don’t get too crowded. So…combine the 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and let it simmer away until the sugar is dissolved, which will take a few minutes. While that is happening, get going on your pears.
  18. Put the lemon juice in a small bowl that is wide enough to accommodate the size of a pear.
  19. Using a mandolin, slice the pear as thinly as you can, but be careful for Pete’s sake!! Those things are crazy sharp. You can also use a very thin bladed knife or super sharp chef’s knife.
  20. Dip the pear slices, one by one, into the lemon juice, then lay them down in the simmering sugar and water mixture. Let them simmer for about two minutes, then remove them carefully. I used a slotted spoon which worked pretty well.
  21. Lay them on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper and generously sprayed with cooking spray, or onto a Silpat mat.
  22. Bake at 200 degrees for two hours. The pears will feel pretty dry to the touch at this point, or that’s the goal so depending on how thickly you’ve sliced them it might take a little longer.
  23. Once they’ve reached the ‘dry to the touch’ stage, very carefully turn them over. You can use a butter knife or something similar to lift up and edge, then just grab it with your fingers and flip it over. This is best accomplished by taking the baking sheet out of the oven first.
  24. Once they are flipped over, continue baking them for about 20 minutes or so.
  25. Remove from the oven and place them on parchment paper that has been well sprayed with cooking spray. Let them cool and you will be rewarded with beautiful, crispy but still chewy little windowpanes of pear chips.
Recipe by Bird's Nest Bites at https://birdsnestbites.com/roasted-pear-muffins-with-pear-chips/