I saw this recipe online and knew I needed to buy the entire cookbook. I also knew I needed to make these muffins for Christmas morning. Our family tradition is to have muffins or bagels with coffee and tea while the kids marvel over their gifts from Santa (we don't wrap those) and we all open our stockings. While we're opening stockings, a breakfast casserole is typically baking away in the oven, and we'll eat breakfast before tearing into the wrapped gifts under the tree. These are fabulous. They're a little time-consuming when you have excited toddlers, so feel free to make them ahead and reheat just before serving, like I did.
For the topping:
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the muffins:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4-5 firm, ripe pears, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with butter.
Make the topping. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir and set aside.
Make the muffins. Whisk together the eggs, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla until blended. Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt, stirring until just evenly moistened; the batter will be lumpy. Fold in the pears and walnuts until evenly distributed.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling them level with the rim. Sprinkle the topping over the muffins. Bake until golden, dry, and springy to the touch, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before turning out.
Serve warm or at room temperature, with butter.
Recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook, by Gayle Pirie & John Clark.