Pear Walnut Muffins

Bread Week 4: I said that I wasn’t going to make muffins for my weeks of bread, and I hadn’t planned to, but that’s what I’m going to share with you tonight – some of the most delicious muffins I’ve ever made, and they are gluten-free to boot. Week 4  of Bread was supposed to be cornbread again – a delicious and simple cornbread. I actually made it twice for various reasons, and one batch was a full quarter inch shorter than the other; a third attempt is clearly needed. So, I’m going to bend my rules since I didn’t intentionally make muffins for Week 4.

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I’m glad to have the excuse to share these with you. My adaptation of these Pear and Hazelnut Muffins are one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. They are delicious. Seriously, you need to make these muffins. When Deb at Smitten Kitchen posted them, I lamented that I couldn’t make them while I am on a gluten-free diet – until I read the preface to the recipe where she suggests a few gluten-free flour alternatives to use, and I read the comments where a few readers reported success making them gluten-free. Heartened, I made them last weekend to have as a snack for this week, and I am so, so incredibly glad that I did.

Pear-Walnut Muffins (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 large pear, grated (mine was red Anjou)
6 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk (which I happened to have)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup rolled oats (not necessarily gluten-free, so check your container)
1 cup flour & 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (fresh is amazing)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (fresh is amazing)
3/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine 1 cup grated pear with melted butter, brown sugar, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk well to combine. In a large bowl, combine oats, almond meal and flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt. Add 1/2 cup walnuts and chocolate chips. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. If using wheat flour, mix until just combined. I didn’t worry about overmixing since I didn’t have any ingredients that would form gluten, so I stirred well for good measure.

Divide batter between 12-14 paper-lined muffin cups, filling nearly to the top; I used 1/3 cup per muffin. I strongly recommend paper liners as the couple that I put in oiled muffin tins didn’t release nearly so easily. Top with 1/4 cup walnuts. Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (The original recipe said to heat the oven to 425F but reduce upon putting in the muffins; this would likely have improved oven spring, which mine lacked.) I got 14 muffins.

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These were amazing muffins. They were incredibly moist, and were not particularly crumbly as I had feared they might be without the flour. I loved the cardamom in them. It was flavorful and spicy with every bite I took. The oats and walnuts added a great texture to the muffins. I didn’t notice the flavor of pear, but I think that it helped keep them moist, as did the almond meal I added. Chocolate chips were fantastic but not overwhelming.

I loved everything about these muffins. They were so easy to make, so moist, so flavorful, so delicious overall. I cannot think of a single thing I would change. They were great as a whole, but the cardamom is what made the muffins so exciting for me. Although I made these gluten-free, I have every expectation that the flour version would be just as successful and delicious. These muffins made me very happy each time I ate one. You should definitely try them.

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