In the lunch box today are pear, cinnamon and almond muffins, a scrumptious celebration of all things winter! Apples and pears this time of the year are wonderfully bountiful, the fruit shop shelves seem to be groaning under the weight of these gorgeously green, crisp and juicy winter seasonal delights and I am more than happy to lighten their load and take a good stash home for us to nibble on. Somewhere along the line though my eager greediness doesn’t quite match our actual appetites and more often than not I am left with not so perfect fruit. As the case was this morning; my once triumphant looking bowl of lovely pears were now a shadow of their former selves and with a slight sense of guilt and not wanting to see them go to waste I decided to make my favourite batch of muffins and fold through some lovely pieces of pear.
This muffin recipe is yet another incarnation of my beloved yoghurt cake recipe. Again, my love affair with this recipe lies in its simplicity, wet ingredients are placed into dry, you mix and off to the oven the lovely creation goes. No electric beaters, food processor or endless arm aching whipping required, just a simple mix and stir. And when baking first thing in the morning, after a long night settling a teething bub, this recipe is a saviour of saintly proportions.
To start I filled a medium jug with all of the wet ingredients; oil, yogurt, vanilla bean paste and eggs. I then placed the sugar, flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl, mixed together and made a well in the centre. I poured the wet ingredients into the well and stirred together with a wooden spoon making sure not to over mix the batter. Muffin batter should be mixed until just combined and still be lumpy, this ensures a super light and fluffy muffin. To finish I folded through a couple of the diced pears and filled the muffin trays topping with a little sprinkling of flaked almonds before sending them off to the oven to spend fifteen minutes. They emerged smelling of baked pears and vanilla and looking gorgeously golden.
I then popped the muffins onto a plate to cool a little whilst putting together Grace’s lunch box. To accompany the pear, cinnamon and almond muffins I filled the lunch box with a strawberry yoghurt cup, sultanas and wedges of the last remaining decent pear that was still looking pretty good. Grace really enjoyed her muffin, happily eating all of the cleverly disguised fruit leaving me thrilled. Enjoy!
Pear, cinnamon and almond muffins
Adapted from Kayla Marie’s Kitchen
¾ cup (180ml) vegetable oil
1 cup thick natural yoghurt
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
¾ cup caster sugar
2 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ pears, diced
½ cup flaked almonds
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a muffin tray with 12 muffin paper cases.
Place the oil, eggs, yoghurt and vanilla in a jug and whisk to combine. Place sugar, flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl, stir to combine and make a well in the centre. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix using a wooden spoon until just combined. Add pears and gently fold to combine.
Pour the mixture into the muffin cases (I use a ¼ cup measurement for this, super fast, clean and easy), top with a sprinkling of almonds on each muffin and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked (test by pressing gently on the top of the muffin, if the muffin bounces back they are done).