Typically, gingerbread is baked in a pan and then cut into squares, but in the following version the batter is ladled into standard-size muffins tins. When using tins, the baking time is cut almost in half, a big advantage for busy cooks. These muffins rise above the rims of the molds, but do not spread out as much as traditional ones. They are especially moist and tender because of a generous addition of butter, and have a deep brown hue from plenty of dark brown sugar and molasses. There’s also a double dose of ginger in these little cakes; ground ginger (along with other fragrant spices) is added to the batter, and halfway through the baking, chopped crystallized ginger is sprinkled atop each muffin.
Nonstick cooking spray
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup unsulphered molasses
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup coarsely chopped crystallized ginger
1. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two standard-size muffin pans with nonstick spray.
2. Sift together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and nutmeg into a medium bowl.
3. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, cream the butter and brown sugar together until well blended and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time. Then reduce speed to low and beat in dry ingredients. Add the molasses and beat several seconds until blended. Then add the water and beat a few seconds more until blended.
4. Fill the prepared muffin tins about 3/4 full with the batter; you should be able to fill 18 to 19 molds. Bake 10 minutes or until tops are set but mixture beneath is jiggly. Remove pans from oven and sprinkle some crystallized ginger over the top of each muffin. Return to oven and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 9 to 10 minutes more.
5. Remove and cool in tins 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Muffins can be prepared 2 days ahead; cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Makes 18 to 19 muffins.
© Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2011
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