- 1/2 cup or 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature plus 2 T for sauteing pears
- 1/2 cup sugar plus 2 T for sauteing pears
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 2 large pears, ripe but firm I used Anjou. Peel, cut off core and slice into 3/4" cubes. If organic, I leave the skin on.
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste optional
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice 1/4 of a lemon squeezed
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 cup plain, whole milk yogurt Not low-fat. You want the full fat for baking!
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium size saute pan, add the 2 Tbsp. of butter. When it beings to sizzle, add the cut pears. Add the lemon juice over them and the 2 Tbsp. of sugar along with the 1 Tbsp. of vanilla bean paste. Cook 4-5 minutes, until golden. You do not want them to be mushy; you just want them to absorb the sugar, vanilla and butter and be cooked a litte, but still hold their shape. Set aside to cool.
Line a sheet pan with muffin cups or line the muffin tin. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and salt on low, then bump to medium, then high speed. Mix two-three minutes till fluffy. Stop the mixer at one point and push down any mixture stuck on the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula. Mix again. Break both eggs into a bowl and incorporate one at a time into the mixture, beating with the addition of each egg.
In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients - flour, almond flour, baking powder and soda. Mix well with a fork. Mix the vanilla into the yogurt. Add half the dry mixture and half of the yogurt mixture and half of the cooked pears into the mixing bowl. Gently turn the mixer to medium and mix for half a minute. Mix in the rest of the dry, yogurt mixture and cooked pears using a spatula to get all the delicious pear goo from the pan. Mix again for half a minute. Scrape any batter off the paddle and add the cup of chocolate chips. Finish folding with a large spatula. You gently want to fold this in, but make sure the chips are incorporated throughout the mixture.
Fill each muffin cup to the top. Sprinkle each with the remaining sugar. You could keep a few cooked pear cubes to add to the top of each filled muffin cup and then sprinkle each with a big of sugar. (every muffin tin is different so you could get 11 cups filled to the top instead of 12.)
Bake for 10 minutes and turn the muffin tin around and bake for another 10 minutes. The muffins should have some color and a toothpick should come out clean when poked inside a muffin. If the toohtpick is a little wet, cook another 2-3 minutes.
Notes: These are great the next day. I just left out and covered with a cloth. I made 12 muffins, but if using the French muffin cups that stand up by themselves on a tray, you could fill 11. You want them to be filled to the top. The vanilla bean paste gives it an extra vanilla depth and you can see the flecks of vanilla in the muffins. The muffins are still delicious without it. I used an Anjou, but any pear would do. Great for a holiday morning or just your regular Sunday breakfast with coffee or tea. Could even be used as a dessert. Just cut in half, warm on a sheet pan for five minutes @ 350° and top with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.