Life is just a little bit all over the place at the moment. In both a good and a bad way. 

I barely have time to think at the moment; I seem to lurch from one crisis to the next with barely time to process anything. 

It’s not a particularly new complaint and not one that I really feel justified in making too much. Let it just be an excuse for the brevity of this post.

People have such unrealistic expectations of what a muffin should be. Nothing you’re going to bake at home is going to compare to the beasts that you find in a coffee shop. Not that that’s a bad thing at all. Compared to them, however, home-baked muffins can sometimes seem dull and lifeless. The trick is finding some sort of middle ground.

These are really my very favourite muffins of the moment. They are not particularly sweet, with only a touch of honey in the recipe, but what they lack in sugar they make up in smooth vanilla and the spicy trifecta of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. And not forgetting, of course, the chunks of sweet pear swimming through the batter. In the background, you have the warmth of the brown butter and the tang of greek yoghurt. Altogether, it makes for one very satisfying muffin experience.

Spiced vanilla and pear muffins
Yield: 6 muffins


  • 55g (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 115g (1 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 pear, roughly chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 75g (4 tablespoons) greek yoghurt

Cooking Directions

  1. In a small pan over a low heat, melt the butter and let it bubble away until it’s golden with brown flecks. Take it off the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C/350F (fan-assisted) and line a 6-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Toss the pear in the flour mixture and then set aside.
  4. In a separate but also large bowl, mix together the browned butter, egg, honey, vanilla and yoghurt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold through a couple of times; add the pear and fold a few times again. As ever with muffins, don’t overmix; it doesn’t matter if there are still streaks of flour.
  6. Spoon into the muffin cases and bake for 18 -20 minutes until golden brown and firm.
  7. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
27 Responses to "spiced vanilla and pear muffins"
  1. I’m in the same boat as you right now. Don’t even know which way to look to handle everything. But at least we have muffins! Love the photos.

  2. Laura says:

    It is SO TRUE that those ridiculous cafe muffins give us unrealistic expectations. They’re like giant pieces of cake for crying out loud! A muffin should be somewhat wholesome and therefore, reasonably sized. Hope these sweet, little wonders are bringing you a bit of calm and goodness, Kathryn. They sound lovely :)

  3. just keep trucking along and you will get through everything–and im sure these muffins help make everything alright. these sound like such a great combo of flavors!

  4. Jeanine says:

    These look so perfect for the pears I have sitting on my countertop. I love the simplicity!

  5. These sound lovely. Bakery muffins are sometimes TOO huge + sweet for me, so these are much more my style. =)

  6. So sorry to hear things are crazy, hopefully you get a breather soon!

  7. sigh, there’s just so much going on in life – i feel ya girl. i hope you get to breathe soon – i surely hope we all do! these muffins look so tantalizing good! i love the pear inside and the spices used!

  8. Jenny @ BAKE says:

    these look absolutely delicious! I love the mixture of pear and spice, so perfect with the recent chill in the air! hope things calm down a bit for you soon!

  9. Joanne says:

    Hmm so maybe I actually never make homemade muffins because I feel mine are inadequate! These seem like the perfect thing to boost my muffin-self-esteem a bit. :P

  10. Beautifully autumnal, I love the big chunks of pear.

  11. I hope things calm down for you soon! Love the look of these.

  12. Hello,

    I hope that things settle down a bit, life is like that sometimes, all or nothing and usually the all is all crisis.

    These muffins look delicious. I cannot wait to try them.

    I hope you have a relaxing weekend, Elizabeth

  13. You know my purpose in life is taking down those coffee shop muff-cakes! These look delish, can’t wait to try them. I love pears!

  14. I adore pears in baking, and recently devised a savoury bun (muffins to me are still yeasted bread cakes!) with pears, walnuts and goat’s cheese in them…, these sweet pear buns (muffins) would be a great partner to them for when I fancy something sweet! They look amazing and I bet they would be perfect for breakfast with cheese and extra fruit! Karen

  15. I’ve made so many muffin recipes but never one with pear! This has just made the top of my “to-make” list. That trifecta of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg sounds absolutely heavenly! And I totally know what you mean about the coffee shop “beasts.” I’m still trying to make my own “beasts” at home but I try to make them so healthy that I can never accomplish that just yet!

  16. carmenpiva says:

    I’m so glad to have ‘found’ your blog. And it’s a coincidence in my latest post I have a pear dessert!
    Now you have one more follower….
    I’ll pop in to see your lovely recipes…
    xxx from Spain

  17. Ugh! I’m so sorry things are hectic for you! I feel your pain… but on a sunny note… these muffins look lovely! I especially love the chunks of pear :)

  18. These muffins look so soft and warm and delicious, Kathryn. Wonderful recipe. Thanks for sharing! I hope life soon gets easier for you!

  19. I hope you get a chance to step back and gain some breathing room soon. Crisis-hopping can really take it’s toll :\

    Know what you mean about baking muffins- I keep wanting mine to have wide tops, but they come out so shallow! Must improve on that…

  20. Good luck with everything. I had a period like this one as well. And I am so happy that it’s over mow.

  21. Eeek on the crazy life stuff going on for you. I can relate to that sentiment…there’s always something, it seems!

    The muffins look awesome. The big chunks of pears just stuffed into them, mmmm, delicious!

  22. Megan Keno says:

    I’m feeling much the same – with my head just above water. But as long as it stays above water we’re still all in the clear. And these muffins look like they’re just the ticket to make your feel better when the water line is just rising too fast.

  23. I can see why these are your favourite muffins. They look and sound amazing. I love those chunks of pear.

    Hope things calm down for you soon.

  24. Hope things are looking better already. I know you posted this recipe a while a go but I spend most of my time sleeping these days and haven’t made much time for blog reading. But, since I’m in the mood for some baking I might make these for my flatmates tomorrow. What better way to spend a day at home than bake.

  25. These muffins look wonderful — I love how simple they are!

  26. Those coffee shop muffins make me feel lousy. This is the kind of muffin I love! Humble and slightly sweet with loads of flavor, yes please.

  27. Love the spices in this muffin recipe! I made an upside down pear cake before and i can totally relate to the flavors here :)

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