pear and dark chocolate sweet cream muffins

My son keeps waking up at 4AM. There's not a lot to do at 4, ya know? Nowhere to go. No one else awake. Can't be too loud. He's just getting to the point where he cares about what I'm doing in the kitchen. And let me tell you, he REALLY cares. The little guy cannot be left out of any part of the process. I love this about him, and remember this from the days when my daughter was just becoming a toddler. No longer a baby. Teach me. I need to KNOW THINGS!

So, this morning, Lewis and I came up to the kitchen at 4:30, and we made these. He scooped the flour. Poured the milk and cream from a little pitcher just his size. Whisked and whisked until he and most of the kitchen were covered in a fine layer of flour and leavener. He helped me cut the pears with his own little chopper and cutting board. I don't know why I doubted him at all. He knew it all along. 

There's a cake by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. It's a brown butter, pear and dark chocolate cake. It was one of the first cakes I ever made after seeing her post it on Instagram many many moons ago. Frankly, its one of my favorite cakes, but it's finicky as hell. Sometimes it will fall in the middle. Sometimes it will never rise at all. I've never been able to pin down what my difficulty is. Maybe the different ripeness and water content in the pears, maybe the egg whipping wasn't quite right, but whatever it is, I keep trying. Because when you hit it big with Deb's cake, you HIT IT. It's heavenly. 

But today, I wanted the flavor and not the fuss. So I kind of threw together my basic muffin recipe, added some pears and dark chocolate chips (I would prefer chopped bar chocolate for this but alas, 4AM is not time for a trip to the store) and hoped. 

I wasn't disappointed. Here's my take on Deb's genius. 


2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (SCOOP AND SWEEP TO MEASURE)
3/4 cup sugar
1T baking powder
1/2t cinnamon
1/2t salt
1/2c dark chocolate chips (or chopped bar)
2 ripe Bartlett pears, chopped 
1 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1t vanilla extract
1/2c neutral oil (I used melted coconut but canola or sunflower or even melted butter would be great here)
1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350 (I used convection for this, I find in my oven that things brown more consistently this way)
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, chocolate chips, and pears into a bowl and stir well.
3. add milk, cream, vanilla, oil, and egg. 
4. stir just until combined.
5. add to greased muffin tin and bake 20 minutes, then check the muffins, and rotate the pan. bake 5 minutes more. let cool 5 minutes before eating. 

xo Emily


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