Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gingerbread Muffins...Minus Any Actual Ginger..

Man I've been slacking haven't I?  After all this knee business, the terrible weather, the great weather and my general laziness I've been pretty much down and out. Actually, I've made some pretty awesome things lately.  Chocolate fudge, some awesome chocolate chip cookies, an absolutely delicious cranberry orange pecan bread..but yea. I'm a shitty blogger, but I'm back and I'm coming up swinging with these awesome gingerbread man inspired muffins just in time for Christmas.

I had every intention of making actual gingerbread and just baking it in muffin cups, but then I realized that I didn't have any ginger...nor did I have anything close to what was needed as far as butter.  But what I did have was tons of other spices and an entire bag of butter wrappers in the back of the fridge.  So what do you do when you don't have anything but butter wrappers and need half a cup?  You throw on those aprons ladies.  It's Macgyver time.

You can bet your sweet ass I scraped down every single one of those butter wrappers.  I loaded it up into a big old butter ball and weighed it.  113 grams is roughly half a cup and that would do for any muffin recipe.  I got 105.  Close enough.  Next I had to decide what I was gonna do without any ginger, so I found some recipes, and what do you know?  Ginger, ginger everywhere.  I decided the best bet was to do what I usually do when I can't find what I want.  Take a base flour amount and throw the rest out the window.  I grabbed every random holiday sounding spice I could find in my cabinet and sniffed them.  If it smelled like Christmas it went in these muffins.  I used a fairly large amount of allspice since it contains the base spices needed for this anyway, then topped it off with some other things to boost it up even more. 

The result in a beautifully scented, sweet, Christmas-y muffin that tastes so remarkably close to gingerbread that no one, not even you, will know that it is missing the one thing that actually makes it so.  They are light and fluffy straight out of the oven, but the next day they moisten into a scrumption sugary cake like consistency.  Perfect with a cup of coffee and way more satisfying than any cookie could be.  The best part?  You can still make them into a cute little gingerbread man head then bite his face off.

Gingerbread Muffins

2 3/4 Cup/12 oz. Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Allspice
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Cardamom
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Mace
1/2 Cup/113g Butter, softened
1/2-3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed
2 large Eggs, room temperature
3/4 Cup Molasses/Dark Syrup
3/4 cup Sour Cream/Yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.  Line two muffin tins.

Combine flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together* for at least three minutes.  It should be very light and fluffy.   
 *(Whether you use 1/2 or 3/4 cup of sugar is up to you but please make sure you use DARK brown sugar!  It has more molasses which adds to the flavor of the muffins)*

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between each one.
*If you don't want to wait for room temp eggs, just put them in a bowl of really hot water for a few minutes and you're good to go*

Add half of flour mix and beat just to combine. Add sour cream or yogurt and beat well.  Gently fold in the rest of flour mix just until combined.

Fill cups 1/2 to 3/4 full and top with coarse sugar.  Bake 12 to 18 minutes, depending on your oven. If they don't look done at 12 minutes, check them at 15 to see if they test clean give or take a crumb or two.  Cool in the pan for a few minutes then move to a rack to cool.

Makes 2 dozen muffins.
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