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Gingerbread and cranberry muffins

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The Runaway Spoon

(Read caption) The deep ginger and molasses flavor sings of Christmas and the tart, sweet cranberries add to the festive flavor. Smooth the warm muffins with a bit of egg nog butter.

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Everyone is up earlier than any other day of the year to see what’s under the tree. Wrapping paper ripping, bows flying, boxes everywhere. And somewhere in there, folks get hungry. Just a nibble before the big celebration. Something special, but simple. There’s just too much going on to whip up a gourmet feast. And the cookies Santa left behind just won’t do.

I’ve been making versions of this type of muffin for years, and decided it was finally time to work out a Christmas version. Because these are the perfect treat for a crazy, busy morning. Make the batter a day or two ahead, then simply scoop them out in the morning and bake. The deep ginger and molasses flavor sings of Christmas and the tart, sweet cranberries add to the festive flavor. I love the added hit of candied ginger, but feel free to leave them out or substitute raisins or nuts.

These muffins are delicious straight up, spread with a little plain butter or some cranberry jam if you happen to have any around. But add this nutmeg-y butter with the flavor of eggnog to add to the holiday spirit. Make it ahead, too, even a double batch for toast or waffles.

Merry Morning Muffins with Eggnog Butter (Overnight Gingerbread and Cranberry Muffins)

Makes 12 muffins

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup molasses

2 eggs

1-3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon warm water

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