A surprisingly healthy & low fat breakfast treat!
After three weeks of procrastinating, I finally resolved to stop by the bank before it closed yesterday to fix a minor misunderstanding with my account. Playing it safe, I changed out of my usual blogging uniform (yoga pants and a Target tank top), draping a gauzy floral scarf around my neck and pulling on high-heeled boots instead before heading out the door.
Two kind ladies quickly handled my queries, setting numbers straight and sending me off with a smile in a matter of minutes. Surprised by their speed, I used that unexpected spare time to stop by Safeway on the way home. My guy practically begged me to buy sourdough bread for his sandwiches before I left for the bank, and I desperately needed raspberries for a new recipe too (coming next week!).
We live in a college town where nearly half of the city’s population falls between the ages of 18 and 22, and since our house sits on the same street as 3 different apartment complexes—and only a quarter-mile from the grocery store—I run into the university kids fairly often, especially in the supermarket aisles. Lately, most of those students seem to prioritize midterms, workouts and parties ahead of politeness and manners. Although rarely outright rude, they’re generally a little more oblivious and less conscientious than the regular town residents, so I’ve started to expect that attitude from everyone when out running errands.
While blitzing from the bakery bread to frozen fruit, I spotted a young college kid standing in front of an end cap with bags of bagels. I directed my path behind him to avoid obstructing his view while he contemplated his choices, but upon spotting me striding nearer, he insisted on stepping backwards 5 feet and motioned to me to take the shorter walking distance. Maybe it was my fancier attire, or maybe he was more mindful than his peers, but that simple action startled me, and I smiled at him in gratitude.
After loading my bags into the backseat, I sat in front of the wheel rummaging through my purse for chapstick. I glanced up, noticing a poised college girl patiently waiting with her empty shopping cart for me to pull out of the parking space so she could return it to the corral next to my car. Still shocked by the boy’s behavior near the bagels, I waved at her to go ahead—no need to wait for me to paw through my overstuffed purse!
As she nodded and returned the cart, I sat in astonishment for the second time that afternoon. Not only did she refuse to neglect the cart in a parking lot planter, like many of Safeway’s patrons, but she carefully pushed together all of the haphazardly pointed carts in a straight line to make it easier for store employees to collect them later.
With their unexpected respectful behavior, that pair of college kids completely surprised me!
Although they look fairly typical, these baked goodies contain a sweet surprise just like those young adults—Dark Chocolate Ginger Royal Shortbread! Walker’s shipped me multiple chocolate cookies to sample this month, and I immediately picked those to play with. And this week only (from 2/22/14 through 2/28/14), Walker’s Shortbread is offering all FFTS readers an exclusive 20% off discount on any purchase of regular sale items! Just head on over to www.us.walkersshortbread.com, fill up your shopping cart, and enter the code FSCHOCOLATE2014 at checkout. (These are the ones I used.)
After nibbling on one (or four) of the cookies, my mind swirled with questions, especially, “What flavor should I pair with them?” Fruit always combines well with chocolate, but the bolder taste of ginger generally proves to be a more difficult partner… A few minutes later, I remembered one of my favorite recipes from my eCookbook—ginger pear pancakes—which immediately settled the matter. I’d pair the shortbread with pears!
In honor of Walker’s cookies, I called these little beauties Dark Chocolate Ginger Pear Muffins. With a subtle backdrop of cinnamon and ginger, the tender muffins are bursting with juicy fruit and rich melted chocolate. Soft cookie chunks spice up every bite, giving these breakfast treats the perfect trendy touch. Despite their decadent flavor, the muffins are still healthy and low calorie!
Although most muffin recipes simply mix the wet and dry ingredients together, I decided to do something a little different with these. I treated the batter like cupcakes and alternated adding the flour mixture and milk into the egg mixture. Alternating additions are mandatory. They prevent over-developing the gluten, which would turn the muffins tough. Instead, alternating additions create a lighter, more tender crumb that pairs perfectly with the muffins’ delicate flavors. The airy texture is worth the extra step, I promise!
This muffin batter is thick… Really thick. So grab a spoon to scoop it into the muffin cups! A thick batter easily supports the weight of the fruit and cookie chunks and ensures they’ll stay evenly distributed throughout the muffins instead of falling to the bottom. It’s a simple trick, but it works like a charm!
Make sure you set aside some cookie pieces before folding all of them in! I like to press a few little nuggets into the tops of the batter just before baking. It gives the muffins a pretty finishing touch, and if you save some of the dark chocolate slivers too, they melt into irresistible little dollops of decadent bliss.
With their tender crumb and lightly spiced backdrop, these Dark Chocolate Ginger Pear Muffins taste every bit as indulgent as they sound! Sweet fruit, rich chocolate, and bright ginger shortbread combine together to create an incredibly tempting chic breakfast treat that your waistline will love. It’s shockingly skinny and low fat!
So treat yourself to a sweet surprise and bake these tasty muffins today!
These chic muffins taste decadent but are incredibly easy to make! They’ll stay fresh if stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and lightly coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the brown sugar, smearing out any clumps along the side of the bowl. Thoroughly stir in the yogurt until no large clumps remain. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and milk to the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. (For best results, add the flour in 3 equal parts and the milk in 2 equal parts.) Reserve 2 teaspoons of chopped cookies, and gently fold the remainder of the cookies and the pears into the batter.
- Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups, and top with the reserved cookie pieces. Bake at 350°F for 17-19 minutes or until light golden. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
Note: When chopping the cookies, try to make the chunks about the size of miniature chocolate chips. This ensures there’s a little bit of cookie in every bite of muffin.
*Disclaimer: As part of their Blogger Ambassador program, Walker’s Shortbread sent me these Dark Chocolate Ginger Royal Shortbread cookies free of charge. All text, images, and recipe are my own.
Catherine Maxey says...
Very easy and very tasty. I substituted applesauce for the Greek yougurt. Added a few mins chocolate chips. Used 1cup finely diced pears. Fabulous
I’m so glad you enjoyed these muffins, Catherine! Thank you for taking the time to let me know. It means a lot! 🙂 I appreciate you sharing your recipe modifications as well; I always love hearing what tweaks work!