Vanilla Pear Muffins

There are two delinquent birds that like to wreak havoc around my neighborhood. They run up and down the streets without a care in the world. They chase and peck at wandering cats. Small animals run from them in terror. Theses birds are fearless. If I didn't know any better, I would imagine these birds were outlaws on the run from the law, showing man and beast just who's in charge.

In the early hours of the morning, they like to drum on the basement windows with their beaks. The sound is so loud, it resonates throughout the entire house. The first time I heard it, my sister and I were both certain that someone was trying to break in by pounding hammers against the windows. But, no. It was just the birds.

After I caught them in the act, they ran away, pecking each other playfully as if to congratulate themselves on their dirty deeds. These birds know no boundaries. I'm almost afraid of them. I wonder, if I met them in a dark alley, would they chase me around and peck at my ankles?

I hope I don't have to find out.

Since this early morning window pounding has become a regular affair, sleeping in has become a thing of the past. And, while this certainly doesn't make me too happy, I think the results of my early morning baking will please you.

This morning, I made some muffins. While many of you may scoff at yet another muffin recipe being sent your way, I would like to point out that these aren't just any old muffins; these particular muffins are something to write home about.

Instead of telling you what I think of them, I want to share what one of my muffin taste testers shared with me: "The muffins were not only delicious, but tasted unlike any other dessert I have consumed. The flavor of the pear nutmeg muffin has no equal; certainly nothing to which I can compare. The muffin occupies its own pedestal for delectability in the 'tasty and delicious' hall of fame. A truly unique combination of ingredients."

If that doesn't sell you on these, I'm not sure what will.

These vanilla pear muffins are moist, tender, and one-of-a-kind. These muffins have a very unique texture, closely resembling a bread instead of a light cake. The flavors are what really make these muffins shine. Certainly you've had pears and nutmeg together before, but this will change everything you thought you knew about it. Combined with a hint of vanilla, this flavor fusion will blow your taste buds out of the water. Trust me when I say you need to make these muffins as soon as possible.

Vanilla Pear Muffins
Adapted from Inspired Taste

Yields 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon (or orange) zest
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large ripe pears, thinly sliced
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla, zest, brown sugar, butter, oil, and applesauce until well combined. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined; do not overmix. Distribute the muffin batter evenly between 12-13 baking cups. Stick 3 thin slices of pear directly into top of the muffin batter. Sprinkle granulated sugar onto the muffins, if desired.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the muffin tops are lightly browned and bounce back to the touch. Serve hot or at room temperature.