While I loved the cranberry bread I posted yesterday, my son and husband weren't crazy for it. Unlike me, they don't love overly sour things. Or at least they don't love cranberries - my son will eat pickles by the jar, and frequently requests sauerkraut juice to drink. So, since the cranberries weren't a huge hit, I used half of the batter to bake pear muffins and the other half to make a loaf of pear-cranberry bread.
The Sweet Melissa Baking Book has a basic sweet muffin recipe that we have used once before, when we made Fresh Peach Muffins back in August. Or in my case, Raspberry-Peach muffins. The main complaint from most people about those muffins was that they were very dense. I didn't find mine terribly dense, but they were on the dry side. So this time around, I made a few changes to try to avoid either problem.
I used 1/4 cup less flour than the recipe calls for, and I used part whole wheat - 1 cup to be exact. I also used all milk instead of part milk and part cream, and used an extra 1/4 cup for a total of 1 cup. I used about twice as much diced pear as the recipe calls for, about 1 1/2 cups, and used about 1/2 cup cranberries for the half of the batter I put them in, doubling the cranberries called for. I had some molasses cookie dough in the fridge, so I baked that off to use in the crumble, and added extra ginger to the mixture. So, I didn't really follow the recipe much at all, did I? Oh, and I also used palm sugar in place of the granulated and brown sugars in the recipe.
All of my changes worked beautifully, because my muffins and bread were incredibly fluffy and moist. I'll definitely stick to my version the next time I want a sweet muffin.
Of the two versions I made, I preferred the muffins (which did not contain cranberries). I thought the bread was really tasty, too, but the cranberries really overpowered the subtle pear flavor. In the muffins, the pear really popped. I could take or leave the crumble. Actually, I'll probably leave it, because it made an enormous mess that I will probably be cleaning up for days...
Both cranberry breads were good but I prefer the one I posted yesterday. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think the crumble actually detracted from it for me. It was yummy on its own, but paired with the bread, it just didn't work. Also, the Sweet Melissa recipe includes nutmeg, which normally I love in just about everything, but I'm not sure it really did anything for this bread. The Everyday Food version has no spices, which I was skeptical about at first, but I loved the result. So that will remain my go-to cranberry bread!