1cupdiced fresh pearabout ½-inch pieces, plus 12 thin slices for the tops, optional
½cupchocolate chips plus ¼ cup for the tops
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 12 muffin cups generously with cooking spray. To make sure the muffin tops release with ease, coat the top of the pan as well as the inside of the cups.
Sift or whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk the cocoa powder and hot water into a smooth slurry. Add the oil or butter, maple syrup, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla, whisking until well blended.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring gently with a spatula. When there is just one streak of flour left, gently mix in the chopped pears and the first ½ cup of chocolate chips.
Divide the batter into the prepared muffin cups using a heaping #16 cookie scoop or 1/3 cup measure. On top, arrange a pear slice and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chips.
As you place the muffin tins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Bake 14 to 16 minutes, until the tops of the muffins spring back when touched with a finger and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool at least 10 minutes, before removing from the muffin cups.
A muffin trick, meant to catch the risen batter at its peak, and rise with nice muffin tops, is to preheat the oven to 25 degrees warmer, and when you open the oven to slide in the muffin tin, dial it back down for baking.