Pear & Hazelnut Oat Muffins

The holiday week came and went and after one more party to ring in the New Year, I think we're just about toasted. A week full of good things, albeit it busy and expensive and generally full. We're so lucky that both families are close and we have friends here we've had for decades, but it makes for a very social season. There is a Rainer Maria Rilke quote that continues to pop into my head when I think about loving Hugh well. “I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other.” He is an introvert, one who recharges by being alone, depleted by too many parties and get-togethers and I want to nurture this need while it may not be one that functions the same way in me. Our home, because we work here often as well, doesn't exactly feel the sanctuary it may for most people who return there after a day away at work. So we've gone to the sea the past few early evenings, just the two of us, to take a breath and get out. I can see Hugh's spirit lighten there, something I will try my entire life to give to him, by way of trips to the sea or otherwise. What a huge responsibility we have to love people - to not just show up, but to be present and aware of someone else. I'm not just speaking of marriage, but the truth of it welled up in me as I thought back on the whirlwind of a week. As my sister beyond spoiled our family for Christmas with her phenomenal taste and generous gift giving skills, or how we all drove 4 hours round trip on Christmas day, ate lunch a la gas station mini mart, to spend one hour with my grandma who wasn't feeling well, that a few people gave gifts to our baby boy in my tum who is merely the size of a large heirloom tomato (so I'm told, though he seems to be taking up a lot more real estate), and that his dad was able to feel him kick (or high five as he's claiming it to be) for the first time on Christmas morning and told every person he saw that day about it. We give gifts and time and words and hugs and infrequently stop to feel how truly huge it is, really. What you give, how you give it and to whom. I hope to be more thoughtful about this in 2014.

These feelings of the giganticness of life are on par for the year's end. This evening we'll go to our ritual new years spot and talk goals, likely shed tears relating to how we fit into said giganticness and admit how in even looking forward to a new year, I may be seized with impotent fear. The small things within the big things are what this beautiful life is built out of and I hope to see and experience the minutia of the day to day when the big things feel like too much.

My friend Megan of A Sweet Spoonful has a charming cookbook that came out today and these muffins are from it's pages. It's a breakfast cookbook but so much more than that as you'll see when you get drawn into her storytelling and impeccable granola recipe that truly extends beyond breakfast to one of my favorite ice cream toppings. I chose these muffins due to the pears I had in perfect condition to be grated, but the book is filled with a variety of breakfast ideas. I appreciate how these recipes seem to have come so naturally from her life onto the printed pages of a cookbook. Congrats, Megan, I'm excited to try more recipes!

Anything can happen, anything can be. - Shel Silverstein

The loveliest new year to you all.

Pear & Hazelnut Oat Muffins

Pear & Hazelnut Oat Muffins

PEAR AND HAZELNUT MUFFINS // Makes 12 standard muffins

Recipe barely adapted from Megan Gordons Whole Grain Mornings

I halved the recipe with success, hence why you see six muffins in the photos. I do believe these could be made gluten free with a quick swap of the flours, you just won't get as much of a dome. I'd go equal parts almond, oat flour, brown rice flour to equal the 1 1/2 cups and just expect they'll be more crumbly, but this doesn't bother me. Maybe throw a splash of flax meal in there too for binding support and make up for the fact that these flours aren't quite as absorbent as wheat. Can you tell I'm big on precise baking? I also think the whole thing could work great in a loaf pan with a longer baking time.


  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2-3 firm pears
  • 2/3 cup natural cane sugar or muscavado
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts


Pear & Hazelnut Oat Muffins

Preheat the oven to 425'. Butter a standard 12-cup miffin tin (or line with papers. I wish I'd done the former).

In a bowl, combine the oats, flours, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Mix well and set aside.

Core the pears and grate them into a bowl using the large holes of a box grater. You should have a heaping cup of shredded pear.

Put the sugar in a large bowl. Melt the butter and stir it into the sugar until well combined. Whisk in the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and shredded pear until you have what resembles a loose batter. Add the flour mixture and fold it in gently, being careful not to overmix. Reserve 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts but stir the other half into the batter.

Fill the muffin cups nearly to the top and sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts. Put the muffins in the oven and immediately decrease the heat to 375'. Bake until the tops are golden brown and feel firm to the touch, 25-27 minutes.

Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the tin. Serve warm or room temperature. They will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container.

Pear & Hazelnut Oat Muffins

Reader Comments (42)

Lovely post, Sara. I stumbled across that Rilke quote recently, too - I love it.
I hope you have a wonderful New Years! Wishing you much joy and peace.

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersarah

These look amazing! Perfect combination of flavors!

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea thenakedfig

Beautiful thoughts that melt the heart and resonate in the most wonderful of ways. Thank you for sharing your love of the little things. Wishing you much love and laughter in 2014.

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEm

Beautiful post! The muffins look outstanding and I just love the last photo pulling apart the muffin with your baby belly in the background. :) Wishing you health, happiness, and peace in 2014. xo

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

hope 2014 will bring you immense happiness and joy :) love the muffin with hazelnuts (my fav nut besides pistachios).

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdixya

BEAUTIFUL muffins, Sara! Thank you so much for your sweet, generous words about the book ... my muffins never look this good at home :) Happiest of New Years to you and Hugh -- 2014 holds so much BIG, newness for you both. xox

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMegan Gordon

Your thoughts on love brought tears to my eyes, thank you for sharing. Wishing you both a Happy new year full of love. Xx

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Sarah, thank you for sharing your heart-felt thoughts on love and being present. This should be the focus for us all not only in the new year but everyday! And Megan's muffins sound perfectly moist and wholesome. Can't wait to try them!

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKatie @ Whole Nourishment

A beautiful post. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings about marriage and family. And thank you for the delicious recipe! Happy New Year!

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMaryAnne

So well said (as usual!) Happy New Year!

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

Beyond beautiful, the words and the photographs. Happy New Year to you both (and baby boy!!) xoxo

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBake

Happy new year Sara and Hugh. Wishing you every happiness in 2014.

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

Dear Sara,

You have a gift in sharing thoughts that are so important and touch the heart. I am amazed at the depth. You are much younger than I, yet you possess a wisdom that I don't think I do quite yet. Thank you and Happy New Year!!

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCindy Dupuie

Congrats on being pregnant! Pregnancy makes you sentimental normally, your post is really touchy. Wish you a great, surprising year :)

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAyse

Good things ahead. I LOVE that quote. Need to print it and put it all over the house. :)

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Thank you Sara for making simple things look, sound and taste supremely. You're the most powerful artist of your own art. Your work inspires me a lot and I really feel the need to thank you, again, for what you do. Hope you keep on encouraging people like me. Wish you the best for this 2014!

January 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMaria Llerena

Sarah these muffins look outstanding - I love the hazelnut crunch on top (I am a streusel-lover through and through but happily get my streusel fix through chopped nuts and the like scattered on baked goods). Also, I love you and your husband's year-end tradition - I fully agree it is important to step back once in a while and reflect on who we are, where we are in our life, what we want to achieve and to try and be a bit more present (something I strive for but never quite achieve, but maybe it's good to always have this to strive for?), even better when you can share this with a loved one.

January 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSophia

Beautiful post.

January 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

Such a beautiful post. Love is a wonderful thing that we should never take for granted. Wishing you a wonderful year ahead!

Happy new year Sara and Hugh! I felt Eden kick for the first time on Christmas Day :). Best gift ever!

January 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoz

The day your husband feels your baby kick is magical. I'm so happy to read this post and couldn't agree more - being present and aware is so, so important. Happy NY to you, Hugh and baber! xo

January 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKasey

My son and I made the gluten free version of this recipe ( as per your instructions 1/3 almond meal, 1/3 oat flour, 1/3 brown rice flour) and they turned out amazing!
The muffins came out incredibly delicious!
Thanks for the great post and recipe.

January 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterL.M

Such wise words, Sara. I hope I'll remember and hold them dear throughout the new year.

Wishing you three a lovely 2014. xx

What a lovely post, the sentiment is definitely worth considering at this time of year so full of EVERYTHING, including love. Happy New Year. Looking forward to more wonderful stories and recipes in 2014

January 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJenn Radford

Love these words; thank you for sharing! And the muffins look divine! I must try the recipe. All the best to you.

January 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSpencer Anderson

You write so beautifully, thank you for sharing your thoughts!

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMommy G

Happy new year's to you both! Or, you three! Such lovely sentiments in this post, Sara. I totally relate with Hugh's introversion. I hope to eventually end up with someone who is considerate of that side of me like you are for him. These muffins called out to me in Megan's book, too. Can't wait to make them.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKathryne

Mmm, pears in muffins are diivine! As for gluten-free substitutions, I think your suggestions are spot-on. I just put together a g.f. banana muffin recipe (here: with 1.5 c. flour mix, 1 c. liquid (banana puree), 1 egg, and right around 5 Tbsp. of fat--a lot like your recipe, and they were quite tasty. I like xanthan gum as a binder, but if you made a half batch & ate them within a day, flax meal or psyllium husk might do the trick for the gum-averse crowd. : )

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteramy

These are absolutely delicious! Thanks for posting this recipe. I made the following changes because I'm gluten sensitive.

3/4 cup coconut flour and 3/4 cup tapioca starch for the flour
1/2 cup half and half, 1/4 cup 2% milk and 1 heaping tablespoon of greek yogurt for buttermilk.

If I had to do it again I would have increased the total milk to one cup since the coconut flour absorbed a lot of the moisture.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterShireen

I never thought to combine pear and hazelnut together but these muffins look delicious! Pinned to make. Happy 2014!

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTina @ Tina's Chic Corner

"Anything can happen, anything can be"-- I love that quote.

This pear and hazelnut muffin recipe looks delicious. I was thinking about adding some raisins, but what would you recommend?

Wow, this post is so beautifully written. Thank you.

January 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTaissa

Made the muffins - I used gluten-free flour (Robin Hood) and brown sugar instead of regular sugar. Very tasty, but a bit too sweet, in my opinion. I'd suggest reducing the amount of sugar to 1/2, maybe even 1/3 of a cup.

January 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Made these, loved them! Small changes: I've used equal amounts of white spelt, coconot flour and hazelnut meal. Probably made them a bit more delicate/crumbly but still very much delicious. A new fav muffin, along with your brown butter espresso chip marvels :)

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnouk

These muffins look delicious. I can't wait to try my hand at them. I linked to your post at

January 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRawInTheMiddle

Viva la amore and these muffins! Happy Nesting.

January 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterthefolia

I finally made these over the weekend and they turned out wonderfully! I made them gluten-free by using 1/2 cup each of hazelnut meal, brown rice flour, and millet flour. I added 2 tablespoons of flax meal as suggested, and the crumb was so perfect! Also, my pears had gotten ripe, so grating them would've really just juiced them, so I just rough diced them in bigger chunks and again, it was perfect. Thanks for this recipe! It's a keeper. I can see myself adding in all manner of fruit or zucchini or chocolate with the hazelnuts. Thanks again!

February 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

I love these, but made a few changes. ..... To accommodate what I had in the pantry.

Hazelnut meal instead of oats. Sour cream instead of buttermilk. Brown sugar instead of muscavado. 1 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup SR flour. Chopped tinned pear.

They are awesome!

Thanks a million

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanine

Pear and hazelnuts are a wonderful combination, add dark chocolate and its a match made in heaven...

February 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJ.S. @ Sun Diego Eats

Hi - loved the asian balls but just a note with the GF option beware that oat flour does contain gluten..

February 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteramy

These look fabulous and a bit lighter.

April 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Oh, I love those lovely muffins! Trust me, I've eaten a half of the batter during making them ;)

May 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTeśka

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