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Gingerbread Muffins

The dark molasses in these muffins lends a rich burnt-sugar taste and almost chocolate-like color to the crumb. Lots of fresh ginger, plus some ground, ensure deep flavor. And even though real gingerbread contains no rum, there is light rum in this batter, making these truly unique. Remember this recipe at Thanksgiving, serve muffins with the turkey dinner, and see if anyone can identify that hint of Caribbean flavor.

Gingerbread Muffins by Mangia

Gingerbread Muffins by Mangia

A word about grating fresh ginger: We find it easiest to grate it on a small hand-held flat grater, as opposed to the larger box grater, which tends, even when you use the side with the smallest holes, to pulverize the root. You need 1/4 cup grated for this recipe, which is quite a bit. Select a firm piece of ginger. Ginger that is soft to the touch is not as young or fresh as it could be (the color of the flesh is darker), and it can be a chore to grate.

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups unsulfured molasses
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup light rum
  • cup grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups.
  2. Into a large bowl, sift together with the flour, baking soda, ginger, salt, cloves, and cinnamon.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the molasses with the hot water, rum, and grated ginger.
  4. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the whole egg and egg yolk and beat for 1 minute; scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Add the molasses mixture and beat for 2 minutes; scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Beat in the dry ingredients in two parts and continue mixing until no streaks of flour show.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each tree-quarters full. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan and serve them warm or at room temperature. Store, well wrapped in plastic, at room temperature, or in the freezer.

MAKES 1 DOZEN OF MUFFINS