September 18, 2012

Chai-Spiced Pear and Walnut Muffins

When September arrived, I started to get really excited for apple season.   I love baking with apples because they always make the whole house smell amazing and they pair so well with warm spices that I crave in the Fall season.

Unfortunately, the apple season didn't go so well in Ontario this year, as 85% of the crop was destroyed by frosts. So with local apples not readily available - and high prices on the ones that are available - I've decided that I'll have to change focus this year and start eating more pears instead!

I picked up a basket of red pears at the market the other weekend and since they were already quite ripe, I knew that I'd be cutting most of them up and using them in recipes rather than eating them whole.

First up on my list of pear recipes - muffins!

I've always loved the combination of pears with ginger, so I took that idea for my muffins but added some more spices and instant chai mix to incorporate the flavour of one of my favourite cold weather drinks: chai.

I based my muffins off a recipe for vegan peach pecan muffins and changed some things around to turn them into pear-walnut-chai muffins. These muffins are made with a mix of whole wheat and spelt flours, and lightly sweetened with pure maple syrup.  I also reduced the oil a bit and added more applesauce, so overall they're pretty healthy!

I thought these had the perfect balance of warm Fall spices, and I loved the addition of crunchy walnuts and juicy pears to make them a bit more interesting!   They also rose up beautifully in the oven and came out so light and fluffy - a nice change from the usual muffins I make, which tend to be dense and hearty.

I hope you guys like pears too because I'll have another pear recipe coming up soon!

Chai-Spiced Pear and Walnut Muffins
Adapted from a recipe in Ripe From Around Here

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup light spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch each of cloves and cardamom
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tbsp powdered instant chai mix (optional - for more chai flavour)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce (I used cinnamon flavoured)
2 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp pure maple syrup (if you like sweeter muffins, add 1-2 more tablespoons)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2.5 tbsp chopped walnuts
3/4 cup peeled diced pear

Preheat oven to 375°F and prepare a muffin tin by spraying with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients (flours through to cloves and cardamom).

Pour the almond milk in a small bowl and stir in the instant chai mix until it dissolves.  Add the applesauce, canola oil, maple syrup and vanilla and stir to mix.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are incorporated (some lumps are okay).  Fold in the walnuts and the diced pear.

Spoon batter into prepared pan, dividing equally among six muffin cups.  Bake in the preheated oven for 24-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let sit in the pan for a few minutes, then carefully remove and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes 6 muffins.


  1. These smelled and tasted so warm and hearty, but I loved that they were still light and fluffy! You should have made a bigger batch!

    1. Thanks! I still have a few stored in the freezer - maybe I'll let you have one while I'm gone ;)

  2. *hehe* Great minds think alike! I was going to make vegan pear spice spelt muffins tonight. :) Now, after seeing your post, I am pretty sure I HAVE to make them tonight. They look sooooo yummy! Love the addition of walnuts. Thankfully I have some in the pantry :)

    1. Haha that's too funny...I hope yours turned out well - they make such a good snack these days!

  3. These look great. I love the flavor combination! Wild idea!

    1. Thanks - I love anything with chai spices in it :)

  4. Oh my gosh, I need these in my life! And more specifically, in my mornings. :) These look so yummy--I love pears and they go so well with chai spices.

    1. Yes, they make a lovely addition to my mornings now that its cooler out! Add a chai latte and my morning would really be complete :)

  5. Oh goodness I love pear muffins! I used to make these ginger pear ones in my pre-vegan, pre-gluten-free days that I have been iching to recreate. You have inspired me :)

    1. I think this is the first time I've made pear muffins - I've only made apple ones before. I liked that the pears were a bit more subtle in flavour but had the right texture. I'm glad I was able to inspire you :)

  6. Bummer - I heard that Maine was affected too...thankfully our orchards are full (sorry, I wish I could send you some NH Apples!) these Muffins look so good and pears are awesome this time of year too!

  7. I'm always looking for new muffin flavour combinations, and for some reason pear has never occurred to me. These look delicious, and I can imagine they smell delicious too with the chai spices. Now I know what to do with all those pears sitting around... thanks for sharing your recipe!



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