Pear & Hazelnut Muffins

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My sister had a baby a few weeks ago, and I brought these to the hospital the night that she went into labour. I just happened to have made them that day, which worked out perfectly. It was kind of nice to have a little snack for us as we walked around the hospital, and to give to visitors when they came to see the baby the next day. She is perfect, by the way. So teeny with the hugest eyes.

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One of the benefits of having a million siblings (okay, 9) is that there are always lots of babies around. This is my fifth time being an auntie, and I love it so much. My family is pretty close and we have a lot of dinners together, even though we don’t all live in the same city (or even country). It’s so fun to have babies around to cuddle (and no, being around babies at work everyday isn’t quite enough!)

IMG_3582I think you could definitely eat these muffins for breakfast – we certainly did! They are mostly whole wheat, plus they contain oatmeal (breakfast food!), fruit, and nuts. You can’t argue with that.

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I really liked the idea of saving some of the chopped nuts to put on top before baking. I love that little bit of crunch, and its much better for you than those sugar-y, butter-y, oatmeal topping.

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Pear & Hazelnut Muffins:

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

Makes 16 Muffins

2 firm Pears, peeled, halved, cored & grated

6 tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted, browned, & cooled

1 cup Buttermilk*

2/3 cup Coconut Palm Sugar

2 large Eggs

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla

3/4 cup Rolled Oats

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 cup White Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

3/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Cardamom

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

1/2 tsp Salt

1 cup Toasted Hazelnuts, blanched, & coarsely chopped**

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 12 cup muffin tin or line it with papers***

2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking frequently. Once melted, the butter will foam up a bit, then subside. Watch as it slowly turns brown (keep whisking!). Remove heat once it is browned and has a nutty aroma.

3. Peel pears, then halve, core, and grate them. You should have about 1 cup of grated pears (maybe a little more). Stir in melted butter, sugar, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla until combined.

4. In a separate bowl, stir together the oats, flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt, and all but about 1/3 cup of chopped hazelnuts. Gently fold dry ingredients into batter until just combined, do not over mix.

5. Fill muffin cups almost to the top and sprinkle with the reserved 1/3 cup hazelnuts. Place muffins in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 375. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out batter-free.

6. Cool muffins in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Muffins keep for 2 – 3 weeks in an airtight container at room temperature, and they also freeze well.

*If you don’t have buttermilk, use 1 cup of regular milk. Remove 1 tbsp from the cup and then add 1 tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.

** If you did not buy toasted hazelnuts, roast them in the oven for 10 – 20 minutes until lightly browned.

*** I cannot live without these parchment paper muffins cups. They are the best and peel off so easily. Dreamy.

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