Sometimes, you just need alcohol before noon. In a muffin, of course, because it’s still breakfast after all.
Brandied Pear and Honey Muffins (17 of 750)
Adapted from 750 Best Muffin Recipes by Camilla Saulsbury
Makes 12 muffins (40 minis)
- 2 cups pears, chopped and diced (D’Anjou or Bosc are best for baking, I used D’Anjou)
- 2 cups brandy
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 2 cups
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 cups brandied pears, peeled and finely diced
- Brandied pears: In a small saucepan, heat brandy to a medium boil. Add sugar and cinnamon and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the diced pears and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and store in a covered container overnight. When ready to use, drain the pears and set aside.
- Topping: Toast the walnuts until golden and fragrant. Coarsely chop the walnuts and toss with brown sugar and flour. Add the melted butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Muffins: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, honey, and butter until well blended. Whisk in milk and brandy until well blended .
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Gently fold in brandied pears.
- Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups and top with walnut crumble.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool.
I was concerned that there might not be enough brandy flavor, so I made brandied pears to go in the muffins. And ohhhhhh man, that really did it. The alcohol in the batter burned off, naturally, so I think going the extra step and soaking the pears in a brandy syrup really helps bring out the flavor.
The right type of pears is key here – D’Anjou or Bosc are the best for baking because they stay firm even when they’re baked, so they don’t turn into mush. That’s really crucial for these muffins so that you get nice pieces of brandied pears in every bite.
So if you’ve had a hard week or are anticipating a hard week (story of my life the past month), make these muffins. They have brandy and they’re probably one of the few acceptable ways to have alcohol in the morning without looking like an alcoholic.