In addition to a sweet 3-year-old, I take care of a temperamental toddler with quick feet. From the moment she wakes up until the end of my work day, she keeps me busy running after her and trying to keep her safe.
She is a bundle of energy, if anything. She likes to test and try everything possible. She is tall enough to reach and climb things, and that's exactly what she does. She will throw a fit if she doesn't get what she wants. When she is hungry and/or tired, she gets cranky and with her, cranky means trying to do everything she has been told not to. In other words, she keeps me on my toes all day long.
She is also absolutely and totally adorable, and always makes my day. She loves music, and we sing and dance together every day. At the age of 1 year 9 months, she is fast learning to talk and amazes me every day with her expanding vocabulary and the 2-word sentences she's already managing very well. She loves to read books together, and if I'm out of her sight for more than 10 minutes, she will come running and asks to be held. She often makes herself laugh, and it is the funniest thing ever.
All this is to say, oftentimes a moment of silence and stillness is highly appreciated around here. A moment to sit down, to collect my thoughts. To breathe in and calm down. Which leads me to my new favourite: getting home early in the afternoon to take the moment and delight in the silence, to brew myself a cup of coffee and enjoy it with something sweet. That is what these muffins were baked for. Having a few early mornings this week thankfully also means getting home earlier and enjoying a moment or two of silence.
In these muffins, warming spices combine with pears to make a delicious, seasonal treat. The addition of coconut, which happens to be one of my favourites, makes them a touch more indulgent, as does the browned butter. Even so, these are a healthy enough treat to have with a cup of coffee or tea without any need to feel guilty. I mean, they are packed with fruit and fruit is healthy, right? Moreover, these are perfectly spiced in the comforting way to make the best of that quiet moment or two you might find.
I had some firm but sweet pears that I shredded, and I loved the moist, somewhat crumbly muffin that resulted from the shredded pears. In case the only pears you can get your hands on are those juicy, soft pears, finely dice them as shredding them would not work. I didn't have any ground ginger this time but next time I am going to add a pinch of ground ginger to the mix as well.
Pear & Coconut Spice Muffins
adapted from The Flourishing Foodie
makes 12 muffins
60g (4 tbsp) butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
a good pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups peeled and shredded or finely diced pears (about 3 or 4 medium pears)
1/2 cup dried shredded coconut
4 tbsp dried shredded coconut
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
15g (1 tbsp) cold salted butter, cubed
a pinch of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 190C. Line a muffin tin with 12 baking cups.
Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, and let it melt. Watch the butter as foam starts to form and when the butter starts to bubble, stir it with a spatula. When the foam starts to subside, watch for small brown flecks in the bottom of the saucepan. When you see the brown flecks, take the butter off the heat and set aside to cool. The butter should be light brown in colour.
In a bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. Make sure that there are no lumps of brown sugar anywhere. In another bowl, lightly whisk together coconut milk, egg, and vanilla. Stir the pears into the mixture.
Add the dry ingredients, shredded coconut, and browned butter to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Spoon the mixture evenly to the prepared muffin tin.
In a small bowl, rub together the topping ingredients with your fingers. Sprinkle on top of the muffins. Place the muffins into the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for at least an hour before eating.