Friday, March 23, 2012

Pecan Pie muffins - please read!

I already told you of F’s love for pecan pie here and here.

I also already told you that getting pecans here is no easy task (they used to sell them shelled around Christmas and I would stock up; now, if I am lucky I find them with their shells on) and that shelling them is an atrocious task, something you may do once every couple of years out of sheer love.

Luckily family and friends have caught on and keep us as stocked up as possible. One friend sends them from a Commissary in Rome, another packs them into her suitcase whenever she travels across the ocean. A relative is sending me a care package from NY as I write and F's bestman has them brought over from the pecan trees in his aunt’s garden in Brazil.

Yes, that means we are lucky and have great friends. It also means I have lots of pecans stored in my freezer (and is the reason the ones I used as props in the pictures have that dusting of white on them, in case you were wondering).

Do you see the gooeyiness inside?

It was Father’s Day here in Italy last Monday and I wanted to make my husband the pie he loves  because I haven’t made one in ages. But life got in the way, as it so often does. I got home late from work and picking up the kids, then I spent a good part of the time I should have been baking mopping up water from the floor after my daughter accidentally knocked over my great grandmother's vase (after I had specifically asked the kids not to play a certain game in the living room). And changing diapers. And making dinner. And emptying out the dishwasher. And setting the table. And hanging and folding laundry. And preparing the kids’ stuff for school. And. And. And. By the time I was done, not only did I not have time to bake a pie, I also had no desire or energy to.
Then I remembered a recipe I had mentally bookmarked more than a year ago for pecan pie muffins. Every post, article, comment I have read raved about them. I was curious but didn’t really get how a muffin could be as good as a slice of pecan pie. I mean, muffins are pretty dry compared to the gooey delight that is the filling of a pecan pie. Sure, this was quicker and easier to bake, so I thought it just made the baker more forgiving. I mean, how could it really compare?

See how it gets caramelized and crunchy on top?

5 ingredients and about 5 minutes later, my batch was in the oven.

Yes, I wrote 5 ingredients and 5 minutes.


Can you believe it?

No wonder the bakers were all very forgiving.

We pulled them out just in time for dessert. They were warm, chunky, nutty, gooey in places, caramelized.
And… they were A.MA.ZING. They have become our new all time favorite muffin.*

More gooeyiness and caramelization on the bottom...

It was a struggle to save that last one to take a picture of it in daylight. I actually had to come home a few minutes early from work to quickly snap a few pictures before picking the kids up from school. That is the other reason why the pecan props have that white fuzz (ice) on them. I just didn't have time to let them thaw completely... but I know you forgive me because now you have this recipe.

So I am on the outlook for more pecans, because F is totally addicted. Keep 'em coming guys!

They are so easy, it may take me even longer to bake another pecan pie.

Also, I haven't tried it yet, but they are supposedly fabulous warmed up in the microwave and served with vanilla ice cream or a pat of butter.

Oh pecan pie muffin, I love thee so!

P.S. I don’t remember where I read about these muffins the first time and I have seen them in a myriad of other places since and sort of memorized the recipe, so I am not linking back to a specific one. If I left a comment on anyone’s blog saying I would bookmark it and try it, let me know. I am sorry I don’t remember and will gladly link back to you and be eternally grateful for this gift you have given me!

* I made these again and baked them just a minute or two less and they were even better, with an even more moist interior.

Ingredients (yields 9 regular sized muffins)

1 packed cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, beaten
(I added a pinch of salt and some recipes add baking powder)
Preheat oven to 350° F/175° C.
Grease and flour or line a muffin tray.
Stir together the dry ingredients (brown sugar, flour and pecans) in a bowl. In a separate bowl beat the butter (that you will previously have melted and let cool) and the eggs together and then stir into the dry ingredients until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin tray, filling up to roughly 2/3.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.


  1. Isn't it funny how life gets in the way, I was just saying that to someone this morning! And I love these muffins! Happy am I that supermarkets began selling shelled pecans next to the walnuts here in France about a year or so ago and I bake with them all the time. I LOVE these muffins - great flavor and the texture does look so perfect. I've bookmarked this recipe... my family will love them!

    1. Doesn't life always get in the way, not only in bad ways let me add! Let me know what you think, I really loved them.

  2. But... this recipe is too simple to be true! Really, I don't believe the muffins are that good. I'll HAVE to try it to prove you wrong ;)
    It is funny, I never realized pecans were hard to find in Italy, but yes, I don't remember ever using them before moving out.

    1. That is exactly what I thought and was the reason I couldn't get myself to waste my precious pecans on it. I remember the first time I saw the pecans at Esselunga at Christmas time over a decade ago I almost cried out of joy... and now they have discontinued them.

  3. Pecans are such a wonderful nut. We don't have any trouble buying the at any time of the year here in Sydney - fortunately! Your pecan muffins look delicious xx

  4. You had me at "crunchy and caramelized on top." Yum.

    1. Hehe, I know my C words...

  5. 5 ingredients and 5 minutes? I have to try it!

  6. Oh wow, how lucky! I adore pecans but I have never had much pecans stored at home bc 1) they are expensive 2) they are gone the minute they enter, sometimes before since I chow them in the car.

    Love this sweet and swift recipe! I really do love anything with nuts. :-)

  7. As I have a stack of walnuts in my pantry, I'm going to give this recipe as go with them.

  8. I adore pecans and just bought some here in Beirut; would love to try this muffin recipe, looks delightful!

  9. I adore pecan pie and would be so sad if I couldn't get hold of the ingredients to make it. Although I'm slightly dubious as to whether a muffin can be better than the original, you make them sound so incredibly scrumptious, and the photos show how sticky and delicious they are, that I'll have to give them a try. The 'warm with vanilla ice cream' option is the one I'm dreaming about now...

    1. I totally understand: I was dubious for more than a year. This time I baked them a minute or two less and they were even more moreish!

  10. I'm growing fonder of pecans- I think I sort of disliked them because I never liked pecan pie! Too gooey, too sweet for me!
    These muffins, I definitely believe you- they look wonderful, like a great brunch treat.
    I can so relate to your list of chores. It's truly never-ending!

  11. I've looked for pecans for so long here in Italy..then the idea! (how didn't I think about it first!!?)I simply asked to a friend of mine to get them for me at the american barrack!! :)

    1. Exactly... the minor problem is you have to have a friend at the American barrack...

  12. I can't resist pecans, even though I tried them for the first time here in Holland. They're very rare in Greece.
    I love easy recipes! Thanks for this!

  13. I love pecan pie. If I buy one I know I will eat the whole thing(no kidding). So I buy the individual ones. They are 400 calories each. Maybe I will learn to be more disciplined when I make the eating only one at a time.


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