the muffin onslaught
Don has been at home for the last week, all day, every day. It’s been nice in some ways, and incredibly annoying in others, as I’m sure you can all imagine. I don’t need to say much about the frustrating aspects of having your significant other in your workspace all day, but I’ll say this about the nice part: having him at home meant I could bake things that would get eaten instead of sitting around. See, I love to bake, but I’m actually not much of a baked-goods eater (although if you make it miniature I can’t resist it — miniature things are totally my kryptonite). So I bake, and then things sit. I work from home, so there’s no office to take things to and leave in the lunch area with a cute sign. Don never takes things to work — he can usually barely be convinced to eat lunch when he’s there. Baked goods, around here, generally have a slice or piece eaten, and then they sit on the counter and go bad unless I can foist them off on our gaming group or something.
And I love to bake. I’m actually a much better baker than I am a cook; I’m the only cousin in the extended family who gets Grandma Sylvia’s precious lemon bar recipe right every time, and cookies, cakes, and other desserts are my most bookmarked recipes. So when Don, on his first full day at home, looked up from the computer and said, “You know what I’d really like? Some muffins,” it prompted a full-scale muffin assault. His favorite are blueberry muffins; I didn’t have any blueberries then (a situation I’ve since remedied), so I proposed chocolate chip muffins instead. Those disappeared within a day, and the only reason you’re not getting the recipe for them is that I’m still tweaking it a little bit. On the second day, I looked around the kitchen and realized two things. First, I’d run out of milk and couldn’t make more chocolate chip muffins. Second, due to my bad habit of buying fruit in bulk on sale in a misguided attempt to eat more fruit which inevitably results in me eating a couple of pieces and the rest going bad before I can get to it, I had a bag full of pears which really needed to be used. After some Internetting, I hadn’t found any pear muffin recipes that I particularly liked, but I did find a recipe for a cake that sounded awfully good. Cakes are the worst victims of sitting-on-the-counter-itis around here, so I decided to make a few changes and turn the recipe into one for muffins instead. Success!
As for the third day? Blueberry muffins, finally. You’ll see those next.
Pear and Walnut Spice Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each ground cloves and ground allspice
2 cups peeled pear chunks (from about 3 pears)
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice in a medium bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in a mixer with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer) until fluffy. With the mixer running, slowly add the vanilla and oil. Add the dry ingredients, and mix until combined. Fold in pears and nuts. Fill greased or lined muffin cups about ¾ full, then bake for 30-40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let stand for five minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
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Tags: autumn, muffins, pear, walnut