Just a simple muffin recipe to showcase the wonderful combination of pear, hazelnuts, and chocolate! Feel free to use larger chocolate chips. I can’t even remember what I made last that necessitated buying a bag of these mini chocolate chips, but I think they work very well here; the smaller chips get distributed more evenly throughout the muffin batter so you don’t need to mix it as much. You get a nice balance between the pear and hazelnuts and without the chocolate overpowering everything.
Although the US only produces a small percentage of the world’s hazelnuts, Oregon is where most of the hazelnuts are grown in the US. I decided to take advantage of our recent road trip to the Beaver State and bought a bag, among other things, from one of those “Made in Oregon” stores. It was also where I bought dried candy cap mushrooms and dried lobster mushrooms, by the way.
I paid a pretty penny for a small bag, but they were so worth it. I’ve been putting hazelnuts in everything and sometimes just eating a few right out of the bag! I sort of wish I bought more because I’m down to just a handful of them now and I’m already missing having enough of them to make something out of them.
One thing I noticed with the hazelnuts I bought as compared to the ones that I usually buy in the grocery store in my neighborhood was that they tasted much fresher and were way crunchier. I don’t think I was just imagining it. Also, I don’t normally eat hazelnuts right out of the bag because they tend to make my mouth slightly itchy, but these didn’t. They were so good. I also liked the randomness of the appearance of the nuts–some halved and some whole and some with only a small remnant of skin left on it, while a few had all their skins on.
pear hazelnut and chocolate chip muffins (makes 12 muffins)
280 grams or 10 ounces (2 and 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
150 grams or 5.3 ounces (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
84 grams or 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, barely melted
125 mL or 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 Anjou pears, peeled and cored, then diced, about 10 ounces, 280 grams
60 grams 2 ounces (1/3 cup) mini chocolate chips
84 grams or 3 ounces (~1/2 cup) coarsely chopped roasted hazelnuts
Heat oven to 400 degrees F., and line or grease a 12-count muffin mold tray.
Peel, core, and dice the pears. I used about one and a half pears and the diced pieces weighed about 10 ounces in all.
Add together the flour/dry ingredients into one big bowl: the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg, if using. Stir with a whisk several times and set aside.
Melt the butter. Let cool somewhat to just lukewarm, then add the buttermilk to it, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract with a whisk until blended.
Pour liquid mixture into dry flour mixture in the big bowl until just barely mixed in. Do not over mix.
Add the add-ins–the pears, mini chocolate chips, and the hazelnuts–then continue to slowly stir, just until barely mixed in.
Using a standard ice cream scoop, divide evenly among 12 muffin tins.
Bake for 18-20 minutes in a 400 degree F. oven until the tops are domed and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool somewhat before removing from tins.
Cool until just warm or at room temperature. Store in airtight container for a few days. Freezes and reheats well.