There was a time recently when we had a glut in our house – of pears and, inexplicably, chocolate.

The pears made sense – my parents have a beautiful house in Central Otago with an enormous pear tree. (As an aside here’s a picture of a quail in that tree – which makes it pretty darn close to a partridge in a pear tree. It may be just me who gets excited about moments like this?)

Quail in pear tree 3

I’s hard to imagine how it happened that there was unwanted chocolate lurking around – but we had some Whittaker’s 72% dark Ghana. While it’s delish in baking and desserts, it’s one type of chocolate which I have no inclination to scoff (phew!). Pear and ginger are always a great combo, as are ginger and chocolate. So these muffins were a no-brainer, although they made a poor effort at minimising the pear glut, since they only used two.

Muffin tray 3

This recipe makes A LOT of lovely light, fluffy muffins. I’ve made them again this week as I have many hungry mouths to feed on after-school pick-ups and drop-offs. These muffins freeze well, but feel free to halve the recipe if you don’t require a kitchen full of muffins (and, more inconveniently, dirty dishes).

Spiced pear muffins 3

Spiced Pear and Chocolate Muffins


2 ½ cups gluten-free self-raising flour (I used Edmonds)

½ cup desiccated coconut

¼ cup coconut sugar

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon mixed spice

¼ cup coconut oil

2 tablespoons rice bran syrup

2 eggs

1 ½ cups milk or yoghurt (I used a mixture of almond milk and coconut yoghurt)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ripe banana

2 large pears

150g dark chocolate


Heat oven to 180º Celsius. Line muffin trays with paper cups and spray lightly with oil (this amount of mixture makes 12 – 15 large muffins AND 12 mini muffins).

Place SR flour, coconut, coconut sugar and spices in a large bowl and combine. Melt coconut oil and add syrup, beaten eggs, milk/yoghurt and vanilla. Mash banana and add to wet mix.

Roughly chop pears and add to wet mixture, then stir into dry mixture. Mix until just combined and place spoonfuls in muffin trays.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Rotate trays half-way through baking time; smaller muffins will cook more quickly. A couple of minutes before removing from oven, place one square of chocolate on top of each large muffin, or half a square on each mini muffin. Spread chocolate with a knife once muffins are removed from oven (if you want to skip this step, simply chop the chocolate and add to muffin mixture with chopped pear).

Notes: If you don’t have self-raising flour, add 2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder to the dry mixture. Regular flour can be used in place of gluten-free. Use molasses instead of rice bran syrup for a richer flavour. Frozen berries or cherries are delicious in place of pears. These muffins are vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free if you use GF flour and dairy-free milk and yoghurt.

These muffins got the thumbs-up from some very discerning boys on their way to robotics class. However I was a little nervous – one of those boys is somewhat suspicious of my cooking much of the time. I’d love to know – what’s the most popular muffin flavour combo in your household?




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