One of my favorite cookbook authors is Jane Kinderlehrer, who is a former food editor of Prevention Magazine. One of the cookbooks in her series is titled "Smart Muffins”. Her recipes contain no sugar. Instead, frozen fruit juice concentrates, raw unfiltered and unprocessed honey, 100% pure maple syrup, and unsulphured molasses are used. A wide array of whole grains, seeds, and dried fruit are also used to provide sweetness and added nutrition. These ingredients bake into a nutrient-packed tasty "convenience food" that is ready to grab-n-go as you race out the door for wherever life leads you. On this particular day, Dick and I were camped out in our travel trailer at our daughter Heather's home in New York. A perfect opportunity to mix up a batch of Hearty Pear Pecan Muffins with my granddaughter...
Hearty Pear Pecan Muffins
Considering the many grains in these muffins, you wouldn’t think they would be so light, but they will surprise you!
2 large eggs
¼ c maple syrup
2 tbsp oil
½ c buttermilk or yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp wheat bran
1 ½ c sifted whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp wheat germ
3 tbsp lecithin granules
2 tbsp oat bran
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp grated orange rind (I don’t always add this and it tastes just as good.)
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg (ground nutmeg works too)
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped cored pears
½ c chopped pecans (walnuts or hazelnuts may be substituted)
In mixing bowl, blend together the eggs, maple syrup, oil, buttermilk or yogurt, vanilla, and wheat bran. In another bowl, mix together the flour, wheat germ, lecithin granules, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, orange rind, and nutmeg. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil 12 regular-size or 6 jumbo muffin cups. (I prefer to use jumbo size which I slice into quarters and serve two quarters per person with a tiny butterfly mold of butter.) Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix briefly, just to moisten the dry ingredients. Fold in the pears and nuts. Spoon the batter into the muffin wells and bake for about 18 minutes or until the muffins are nicely rounded, golden brown, and a cake tester (toothpick) comes out clean. Note: If you want to convert this recipe to “soaked muffins” to unlock vital nutrients that are bound by phytates, measure and place all of the recipe’s grains (rolled oats, flour, and wheat germ) into a glass bowl, large glass measuring cup, or a canning jar and mix with 1 cup buttermilk or yogurt. (The recipe calls for ½ cup buttermilk or yogurt, but to have enough liquid for soaking it needs to be increased. The end product isn’t affected by the additional liquid.) Let set on kitchen counter overnight. In the morning, proceed with the recipe’s remaining ingredients.