Christmas in May Muffins: Whole Wheat Gingerbread Pear
Colorado weather is fickle, unpredictable, at times volatile. Yet year after year we take it for granted that it's going to be warm and sunny when we need it to be, and the state does boast approximately 300 days of annual sunshine, after all. This month though, I've felt more like we were back living in England, with thought-provoking cloud cover, steady rain and drizzle, and even snow...in May! Although the weather has caused a fair bit of griping, ourselves included, I can't say it's been all bad. I like the pensiveness a gray day produces sometimes, and walking our dog Riley by the tiny reservoir near our house the other day, I actually pretended we were by some distant loch in the Scottish Highlands and felt this wild sense of freedom I didn't know I needed, for 40 minutes. On Tuesday, our Kindergarten team took a grade level field trip to the farm, and it felt more like an autumn trip to the pumpkin patch, minus the frost-covered pumpkins. We huddled in our fleece and down jackets on a bone-chilling hay ride, and I'm certain the faint smell of pine and wood smoke hung in the air overhead. This trip heralds the end of the school year, and celebrates how far our little students have come; it wouldn't be such a stretch of the imagination to transfer that warmth and cheer into a sort of Christmas spirit, if a bit anachronistic. That night, it snowed. Waking up to white rooftops and snowy foothills, I decided I wanted gingerbread. I have a favorite whole wheat banana gingerbread muffin recipe I hadn't made in awhile, but we were out of bananas. I did have, however, two pears that were beginning to get soft, to the point that merely picking them up could require a napkin. So, on Friday I made whole wheat gingerbread pear mini-muffins (you know I am a vociferous loyal fan of the mini muffin tin!). They are delicious! They're sweet, but not overpoweringly so, and moist, and they seen to melt in your mouth. One consideration, as they are so moist, it may be wise to store them in the refrigerator after a day or so. Saturday morning, hovering clouds made for a humid long run but gave way to bright blue sky, and by late afternoon burst into the 70 degree weather we always anticipate at this time of year. The onset of real summer weather is definitely very welcome, and it's not detracting from my gingerbread-pear experience. Not a bit. : )
Whole Wheat Gingerbread Pear Muffins
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 cup brown sugar or honey
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1/2 cup skim milk (try orange juice for dairy free!)
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 1 egg
- 1-2 pears (I used two medium), cored and diced
- 1/3 cup raisins (optional)
*Substitute about a tablespoon pumpkin pie spice for the different spices if it's easier!
1. Mix flours, baking powder, brown sugar, and spices in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the milk, oil, molasses, applesauce, and egg (lightly beaten). Stir to combine.
2. Fold in raisins and pear. Pour into prepared mini muffin or muffin tin and bake at 375 degrees F, approximately 20 minutes for mini muffins, 25-30 for regular muffins.
Photo credit: Flikr user Back to the Cutting Board