Muffins and Scones

Gingerbread Muffins

by Shawnda on December 10, 2011

in Holiday Favorites,Muffins and Scones

Gingerbread Muffins

The smell of gingerbread reminds me of home.

During the 10 days leading up to Christmas, my mom was always in full Gingerbread Mode, making gingerbread houses to give to friends and family at Christmas. And with each passing year, her list seemed to get longer and longer – there were teachers, and coaches, the neighbors. And then my dad wanted “a few” (read: a dozen) for his co-workers.

As if the sheer volume of 3 dozen gingerbread houses wasn’t enough, royal icing is a pain to work with when it’s humid. And it’s always humid in Texas. My three siblings and I sat for a couple of hours each night, assembly line, constructing and decorating gingerbread houses while listening to Christmas music. Aside from the occasional red and green foil-wrapped peanut butter cup that we’d sneak, it was torture. And we were usually less than cooperative.

I honestly don’t know how she’s not sitting in a corner in a straight jacket somewhere, rocking back and forth and humming Silent Night.

These muffins smell every bit as wonderful as mom’s gingerbread cookies. And unlike the cookies, you won’t get hit with that “I’m disappointed in you,” look when you snag one for breakfast. They’re clovey and spicy, a perfect balance of warmth and flavor. And they’ll make your house smell like Christmas.

Gingerbread Muffins

Clovey, spicey gingerbread muffins perfect for a holiday breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup fat-free greek yogurt
  • Coarse sugar for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray with non-stick spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Cream the butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time until mixed well.
  6. Add the molasses and mix until well blended.
  7. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing only low until just incorporated and add the yogurt.
  8. Mix until the yogurt is well distributed and add the remaining dry ingredients.
  9. Mix on low only until the flour just disappears.
  10. Scoop into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle coarse sugar over the tops of the muffin batter.
  11. Bake 5 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350.
  12. Bake another ~15 minutes, until a skewer comes out with moist crumbs attached.
  13. Cool 5 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
  14. Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

Notes

Yields: 14 muffins

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Estimated time: 40 minutes

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White Chocolate-Mango Muffins

I grew up in a small town. We had a Dairy Queen, a McDonald’s, and a Hartz Chicken. And a restaurant called the Hot Biscuit. We also had a single small grocery store. If they didn’t have it, you didn’t need it. And if you did, you were out of luck.

That small town is still small but there are at least two places to buy groceries and several other options nearby. And I think that the Hot Biscuit might still be open :)

Our grocery store today is a far cry from that single small store. There’s a large prepared food counter for quick-fix dinners, a beer case full of “fancy” beer, a full-service bakery, a live cooking grill, a sushi bar, and my absolute favorite: a counter where you can get fresh, made-right-in-front-of-your-face tortillas. It’ll sure spoil a person, real quick!

That bakery also cranks out a White Chocolate-Mango Muffin that’s pretty much heaven in a cupcake liner. It’s a little heavy on the almond extract but it’s chock-full of fresh mango and white chocolate chunks. And it’s got one of those pretty, sky-high “I came from a real bakery” muffin tops. Once a week, the toddler and I split one while we’re shopping. It’s well worth the money but the “I can do this myself for less” in me knows that I can buy 2 mangos for the price of one muffin. And I can make a dozen muffins at home to have for breakfast all week.

To recreate the muffins, we used our favorite muffin base which is a stripped-down blueberry muffin recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. It’s produces a reliably moist muffin and the batter is really thick so it doesn’t spread and leave you with a flat top. We loaded it with a full cup each of diced mango and white chocolate chips – and were a little lighter-handed with the almond extract. To get a big, puffy muffin top like a commercial bakery, we paired our favorite recipe with a higher-than-usual temperature for the first half-ish of the baking time. The end result is a pretty muffin with a big, dramatic dome that looks just like it came from the bakery down the street.

Only you don’t have to shell out $1.50 per muffin. And you don’t have to put on pants to get one.

White Chocolate-Mango Muffins

Moist, domed bakery-like muffins studded with fresh mango and white chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup diced mango
  • 1 cup white chocolate chunks/chips
  • Coarse sugar, for sprinkling tops (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Mix 3 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition followed by the vanilla and almond extract.
  5. Beat in half of dry ingredients, followed by a third of the yogurt.
  6. Add remaining dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the yogurt, until incorporated.
  7. Toss mango and white chocolate with the remaining 1 Tbsp flour and add to the mixer, mixing for just a few more seconds to distribute evenly (the batter will be very, very thick).
  8. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray or line with paper liners. And if you find that you're 3 paper liners short, you can improvise with some parchment paper cut in ~5-6 inch squares. But it's a total pain.
  9. Divide the batter evenly among cups, using a large cookie scoop (my scoop is ~2.25 inches across).
  10. Sprinkle top lightly with coarse sugar, if using.
  11. Bake for 8 minutes and then decrease oven temperature to 375 and bake for ~12 more minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling completely.
  13. Will keep ~4 days in a covered cake plate, can be frozen.

Notes

Yields: ~15 muffins

Inspired by HEB

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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Whole Lemon Muffins with Blueberries

It’s Wildcard Weekend for Project Pastry Queen. We get to go back and make any recipe that we missed along the way. I chose to make the Whole Lemon Muffins that Tara hosted a few weeks ago.

The recipe is unique in that you take an entire lemon, remove the seeds, and then throw the whole thing in the food processor and grind it into oblivion. The pulp, juice, pith, and peel – the whole lemon goes into this muffin! Yogurt keeps the lemony muffin very moist.

I made half a recipe and still got 12 muffins. I also attempted to make them a tad healthier:
– Substituting half of the flour for whole wheat flour
– Using 0% Fage instead of whole-milk yogurt
– Dumped half a container of fresh blueberries into the batter (after tossing them with 1 Tbsp flour)

Moist. Lemony. Blueberry-y. And definitely a keeper!

It’s my turn to host next week and we’re going big. Sugary. Peachy. Peach Queen Cake with Dulce de Leche frosting. And I’ve already gotten a head start by making plenty of dulce de leche :)

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