After I moved into my new home last year, my friend gifted me with a box of last Harry & David Royal Riveria Pears. I used the very last one to make these muffins and took them with me on a bus trip up to New York City, where I attended the Coffee & Tea Festival with her.
These muffins are extremely straightforward to put together. Unlike some recipes, they do require creaming together butter and sugar, but even with that step, the batter comes together in about 6 minutes. Buttermilk keeps the crumb moist and helps to offset the earthy flavors. To further balance the cardamom, which can be strong, especially if you grind it straight from the pod, I added just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.
The muffins are light and tender of crumb and a bite that marries the pear with cardamom has a sweet, fruity, lightly spiced flavor. They make a great breakfast that won’t send you crashing from a sugar high, and pair nicely with green tea.
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club I had the honor of being paired up with the owner, Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. Sadly, it won’t be a surprise that I had her blog since she sends out the assignments, but hopefully I can surprise her with what recipe I chose from her massive list.
I combed through her recipe index, pausing on Almost White Castle Burgers, Fauxtisserie Chicken, Dulce de leche Cheesecake Bars. My husband helped me decide on Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs since we had been craving some ribs and he’s always a sucker for barbecue sauce.
We recently purchased a slow cooker, so have been looking for new ways to use it. Unfortunately, we have the smallest Crock-Pot in existence so we have to be careful when reading recipes. We made ⅓ of the recipe and it fit perfectly into a 3 quart pot. It was hard to find only 2 pounds of ribs but our local grocery store luckily had smaller portions pre-packaged.
These ribs turned out finger-licking-good (literally). The meat fell right off the bone and the charred bits from the broiler were my favorite part. Served with chips or smashed potatoes, I was transported to a outdoor summer picnic (while still sitting in my air-conditioned dining room.
For this month’s scheduled Secret Recipe Club reveal, I will be on vacation with my family in Las Vegas so I started planning my Fried Ice and Donut Holes pick super early. Melissa, a teacher like my sister, has an extensive list of recipes going back to 2009. I had been wanting to make some cherry scones for a while, so my mind was made up when I saw her Cherry Scones recipe.
Mine ended up being a bit of a scone/muffin hybrid since I baked them in smaller tins. The batter looked a bit wet to me (due to using frozen cherries instead of fresh, which were not in season yet) so I added some extra flour.
When warmed up, they tasted great, with a strong vanilla flavor from the yogurt used in the batter. When they were eaten at room temperature they were a bit gummy on top and dense on the bottom due to my weird hybrid muffin-baking. I topped them with some preserved cherry blossoms which gave a nice salty pop.
I made these at the beginning of the month, just in time for #StarWarsDay. I immediately thought of my Dad, who loves cherries and Star Wars, so I used some Star Wars muffin liners for half the batch.
Apparently it’s tradition for me to make cherry desserts around this time, since I made a cherry cheesecake as well!
This past Valentine’s Day we decided to stay in and have a decadent meal of Roasted Lamb. We wanted something easy after a more complicated meal but still wanted a treat to end the night.
This no-bake cookies and creme cheesescake really hit the spot. I originally had thought it would taste better with a cookie crust, but the graham crackers kept the cheesecake from getting too sweet.
We used the forks from our wedding and I was finally able to try my hand at a true cheesecake because my aunt gifted me a great springform pan for Christmas. I made the mistake of drizzling the chocolate topping on before popping the the cake out of the pan so it stuck a bit, but still tasted great.
Topped with chocolate covered espresso beans and served chilled, this cheesecake is light and creamy but rich enough to celebrate a special occasion.
We make pizza a lot, so I was excited when I was paired up The Spiffy Cookie for this month’s Secret Recipe Club. Erin, a constant cooker and baker has 39 pizza recipes. 39!! I thought we loved pizza, but she puts us to shame. I had trouble choosing between her recipes, especially since, like me, her favorite food group is dessert! But the pizza kept calling my name and I just had to make her Spinach Pizza Dough.
This pizza dough came together quite easily but I didn’t make it right away. Since I made it a day in advance, I put it in the fridge to proof overnight. Since we like our pizza considerably thinner than how Erin prepared hers, this dough actually makes 3 pretty large pizzas.
We topped the pizza with some of our favorite toppings: red onions, chianti salami, pesto, sambal, garlic, and some peppercorn cheese. We even used the remaining spinach top top it off. That means this pizza has an entire six ounce bag of spinach in it!
If you’re hungry for pizza now, you can check out Erin’s pizza category, including Pizza Quesadilla (which I make all the time now!), Stromboli, and Christmas Wreath Pizza Ring.